Salem City Club, the non-partisan meeting ground for “exceptional civic discourse,” kicks off an exciting 46th season with a five-part series on healthcare, along with provocative speakers as such as Congressman Kurt Schrader, State Treasurer Ted Wheeler and, (almost certainly), Governor John Kitzhaber.
The first presenter will be Dr. Bruce Goldberg, Director of the Oregon Health Authority, who on September 13 will address the group on “Oregon’s Independent Path to Health Reform and What it Means to You.”
With “Obamacare” coming quickly for Oregon’s citizens, the topic couldn’t be more timely. Goldberg’s remarks will “lay out the whole pattern of what’s changing,” says SCC President Russ Beaton, published economist, tennis player and economics professor (formerly of Willamette University, currently at George Fox University.)
Goldberg, Beaton says, will help citizens understand “the ‘Big Picture; what Oregon has negotiated doing and innovating – within the framework of Obamacare.”
City Club programs are usually presented as part of a luncheon held the first and third Fridays of the months between September and May. They take place at the Willamette Heritage Center on Mill Street.
Beaton stresses the way the City Club seeks to stimulate thought and discussion rather than force an agenda on the community. Neither Republican nor Democrat, nor having any agenda other than educating citizens, the Club’s first goal, according to its constitution, is “to provide a common meeting ground for persons of divergent beliefs, politics and occupations, for the interchange of ideas and stimulation of intelligent thinking and action on civic affairs.”
“Our programs provide the best unbiased information we can get; if it’s a controversy, we get both sides. If we can’t get both sides – we just don’t do it,” Beaton says.
He believes that an informed citizenry will always make the best possible decisions for the community. And presentations are fun, too. “One of the things I hear most is how much people enjoy the programs and meeting each other.”
Attendees like talking to each other so much, they asked the Club to hold a purely social function; “our annul meeting has historically had a prestigious speaker, such as former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts,” Beaton says. “But last year it was just ourselves – and a good dinner.”
Salem City Club website, salemcityclub.com, is continually updated with program and membership information (membership is not required to attend presentations) and provides organizational facts as well.
“I encourage people to join,” Beaton says, “because we provide a really valuable educational experience for citizens, education for adults… What you get for your money is feeling involved as a citizen and a sense of community.”