Gov. Ted Kulongoski will arrive in Hood River this afternoon to learn more about rural economic issues.
He was issued a formal invitation for the visit last Thursday during a private meeting with Sen. Rick Metsger, D-Welches, who also delivered the request on behalf of Rep. Patti Smith, R-Corbett.
Both legislators were impressed that not only did Kulongoski give his immediate acceptance —- he cleared his schedule to tour the Gorge within the next week so that he could learn more about the “urban/rural divide.” Metsger believes that commitment came, in part, because he and Smith will both be heading key economic development committees in their respective offices that will play a strong role in guiding Oregon’s financial recovery.
“We will be the drivers for anything (economic initiatives) that succeeds in the Legislature and I think the Governor is serious about learning where changes need to be made and keeping us all on the same page,” Metsger said.
The governor’s first stop will be in The Dalles where he will visit with officials and area business owners. Smith and Metsger will then escort him to Hood River for a private lunch at the Columbia Gorge Hotel that features an overall economic update from some local business leaders and government officials. That meeting will be followed by a brief press conference and one hour stroll, starting about 2:30 p.m., through the historic downtown business district. Kulongski’s tour will end at Full Sail Brewing Company, home of one of his favorite choices of microbrews.
“I am looking forward to having the Governor meet with our constituents face-to-face and providing them with the opportunity to talk about the economic challenges facing all of us in the Mid-Columbia,” said Smith.