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Democrats in Ore. Legislature tout anti-Iraq war resolution

By BRAD CAIN The Associated Press January 31, 2007 SALEM, Ore. (AP) ”” Democrats in the Oregon House and Senate say they will push for a vote on a resolution opposing President Bush's escalation of the war in Iraq and urging the "prompt, safe return" of all U.S. troops. Dubbed the "Oregon Homeward Bound Act of 2007," the nonbinding resolution urges Congress to resist Bush's troop buildup in Iraq and instead to bring home all U.S. troops by August. "It is time to stand up for our troops and their families," said Rep. Chip Shields, D-Portland, who is the chief sponsor of the draft resolution. "We can't ask Oregon's sons and daughters to spill their blood for Iraq's security forever." But House Republican Leader Wayne Scott questioned whether the Legislature should spend its time sending nonbinding resolutions to Congress, which already is debating Bush's move to send 21,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq. "Oregon faces a long list of serious issues to resolve, including improving schools, growing the economy and strengthening public safety in our state," the Canby lawmaker said. "House Democrats need to stop wasting time on political grandstanding and get to work." Democrats said, however, that the resolution is useful because it lets members of Congress know that state legislators are backing them in their efforts to stand up to the Bush administration's "surge" in Iraq. Sen. Vicki Walker, D-Eugene, said the war in Iraq already has cost the U.S. $300 billion and that state and federal lawmakers need to stand together to oppose the war. "It is simply time to bring our troops home and move the country forward," Walker said. Among those supporting the resolution is Rep. Paul Holvey, D-Eugene, whose son, U.S. Army staff Sgt. Justin Holvey, recently returned from a yearlong deployment in Iraq, where he earned a Bronze star. Holvey, noting that 79 soldiers or Marines with Oregon ties have died in Iraq or Afghanistan, said Oregon troops keep fighting on in Iraq and that "they don't question the policies" of the Bush administration that sent them there. "It's up to us to raise these questions," he said. "This administration has betrayed the patriotism of our troops."