“There isn’t much that the Oregon Legislature does that doesn’t affect me personally,” says Jan Margosian, co-host of the new radio show, “Legislative Matters, Tune In and Take Part,” on KMUZ – Salem and Keizer’s community radio station. “Too often, ordinary citizens find out too late the effects of a new law on their personal lives. From tax increases, to availability of affordable health care, to insurance increases and having to obtain a certification in order to work… All of these could happen without any input from the citizenry.”
Legislative Matters kicks off on Monday, March 13 at 8 a.m. for a stimulating weekly hour with Margosian and co-host Cindy Condon. The duo will examine specific bills selected to be of particular interest to those within the KMUZ listening audience, and which have been introduced by legislators from the Mid-Willamette Valley.
“Bills passed into law tend to have very long periods of impact,” Condon says. “I think it is important to be involved in the process and understand the purpose and impact, before a bill is passed into law rather than after it passes.”
Both Condon and Margosian live in Salem and have a passion for public policy. Condon has a long background in private sector management, while Margosian is a former reporter, public relations executive for public unions, and served as the consumer information coordinator for six state Attorney Generals.
“I was involved in an issue before the legislature several years ago,” Condon recalls. “As I walked into the Capitol, I remember thinking how intimidating it was with all of those professional lobbyists in the building and people who knew what they were doing. Intimidating, but very stimulating.”
Condon realized then “how few ordinary citizens were at the Capitol involved in the process. I made a commitment to myself to show up and take part in the process, because it’s important.”
The two emphasize that legislators need input from their constituents; without it, they are dependent on their own thoughts and the wishes of lobbyists and special interests. It’s a reality that doesn’t always result in decisions that most benefit the state or its people. As Condon notes, “Lobbyists and those with a vested interest in a bill may not have the public’s interest in mind.”
Each Monday the team will inform listeners about important committee hearings and bills being considered in the current week. The broadcast range of KMUZ means that none of the show’s fans will have far to go to personally show up to observe the Legislature – or talk or testify themselves.
“Most citizens believe that everything that is proposed in the Legislature is always done in their best interests,” Margosian notes. “They trust their legislators will always do the right thing, without paying attention to what they are proposing or how they are voting.”
Legislative Matters plans to change that.