Public Square

Public Square welcomes all points of view. Published submissions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Keizertimes 

Where is DYW? 

Usually by this time in May, Keizer is celebrating newly-named Distintiguished Young Women program winners. 

Due to limited timing and resources, the program, which began as Keizer’s Junior Miss in 1973, the scholarship program was canceled for this year. 

If you are not aware of the program, you are not alone. Junior Misses’ successor, Distinguished Young Women, is not on most Keizerites minds, which is unfortunate. Hundreds of McNary High School junior girls have participated in the program–it is not a pageant. 

For over 50 years, young Keizer women have stepped out of their comfort zone. The program, subtitled Be Your Best Self, has turned shy students into confident speakers and performers. The program is about scholastics, physical fitness and expression. 

It is not the prettiest contestant who wins, the title generally is bestowed upon a high school junior who expresses herself well and is comfortable on stage in front of hundreds people. 

Keizer has been on the national program map ever since Amy Kerr on the local progam, went on to win the state title and eventually the national title winner. 

Every contestant over the decades would agree that the program is one of the best things they ever did. The emphasis of the program is on the overall bearing of entrants. 

Organizers of the Keizer Distinguished Young program vow it will return in 2025, giving another class of young women the opportunity to win scholarships and morph into confident young women who are not scared of the world. 

Our local young women are not scared, but ready to lead. –LAZ

Good things ROTC program did 


Since 2012, Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) Unit OR-2012-1 has had a place in the halls of McNary High School. 

As the most recent student Unit Commanders, we are sad to announce there will no longer be an AFJROTC program in Keizer. This is due to the Salem- Keizer School District budget cuts announced Friday, May 17 

The closing of JROTC programs has unfortunately been a common occurrence nationwide. 

After the pandemic, McNary’s AFJROTC experienced struggles in cadet numbers, fundraising, and resources. However, in the last four years, Celtic cadets have persevered and built a strong foundation for their unit to grow. AFJROIC was a resource for students and the Keizer community. 

McNary’s Cadets have had outstanding experiences and accomplishments in the last four years. In 2021, students recognized as leaders in the program had the opportunity to go on a school trip to Honolulu Hawaii, and stay on Hickam Air Force Base. There cadets met military officers, explored careers, and visited historical places such as Pearl Harbor. 

In 2022, the Unit underwent its annual inspection from Maxwell, Alabana AFJROTC headquarters. 

Cadets presented knowledge and leadership skills in front of an inspector and eamed Distinguished Unit, the second highest title a unit can earn from an inspection. 

In 2023, McNary AFJROTC returned to Drill Competitions after a four-year hiatus, and in 2024 a student won first place inn Armed Drill Down Competition. Additionally, cadets were able to hold their first traditional Military Ball. Students also have the chance to earn national-level awards for their involvement in the program each year, along with skills that can be used on job/college resumes. 

After a year of milestones, it’s upsetting to leave McNary and the Keizer community. Over the years, OR-2012-1 has taught students to be good citizens through involvement with the Keizer community. Cadets volunteered and were expected to participate in multiple community services in the city. McNary JROTC has taken part in helping clean community parks, the 

annual city hall clean-up, and yard work for local businesses such as the REC. Cadets also had 

the opportunity to present the United States and Oregon State flags at parades, Keizer Lions Club and during the singing of the National Anthem at Portland Trail Blazer games. 

AFJROTC is a high school program designed to develop good citizens and teach students everyday leadership skills. At McNary, AFJROTC provided structure, extracurricular activities academic support, and a space in the school for students to grow. 

In all, OR-2012-1’s last years at McNary High School were well-lived and valued. We leave the program with heavy hearts, knowing how much it meant to students and student families. 

(Madi Lietz and Lincoln Isom are students at McNary High School and members of the Air Force Junior ROTC.)

The anti-chaos candidate? 


In 2016, Donald Trump won the White House by running as a 2 0disrupter who would come to Washington and shake things up. That was the right message eight years ago. But today, the last thing Americans want is disruption. To win in 2024, Trump needs to run on the opposite message: as the candidate who can end the chaos and restore normalcy in the United States. 

Joe Biden won the White House by painting Trump as “an incumbent president who makes things worse, not better … who sows chaos rather than providing order.” But today, on Biden’s watch, college campuses across the country are in chaos. Our southern border is in chaos. The world is in chaos, with wars raging on two continents. 

This creates an opportunity for Trump to seize the mantle as the anti-chaos candidate. His winning message is not to promise “retribution” against those he believes wronged him. It is to tell Americans: Maybe you didn’t like the way I talked, but the border was secure, the economy was strong (before the pandemic hit), inflation was low and the world was largely at peace. What do you care more about: my mouth or your pocketbook? My behavior, or the behavior of Russia, Iran and Hamas? My insults, or illegal immigrants pouring across our border and overwhelming our communities? 

Many voters’ memories of his actions on Jan. 6, 2021, and the numerous other reasons they disliked him have faded. An April New York Times– Siena College poll asked: Has Donald Trump ever said anything that you found offensive? Six in 10 said either no or not recently. Among voters ages 18 to 29, a remarkable 77% said no or not recently. And the Times reports that some voters “said that while they disapproved of Mr. Trump’s inflammatory style, they wondered whether they had placed too much emphasis on his personality in past elections.” 

What most people do remember, however, is that their lives were better under Trump. Almost two-thirds say they approve of Trump’s handling of the economy when he was president. By contrast, a February Times-Siena poll found a 43% plurality said Biden’s policies have hurt them personally (only 18% said they helped). And a recent CNN poll finds that a 55% majority consider Trump’s presidency a success (compared with 55% who called it a failure three years ago), while 61% see Biden’s presidency as a failure. 

His challenge is to harness Trump nostalgia by a) not saying things that remind voters why they disliked him, and b) reminding them what they liked about his presidency (his policies) and what they don’t like about Biden’s. 

This means Trump needs to avoid complaining about a stolen election and focus on the future. With many Americans apparently willing to forgive (or at least look past) his conduct on Jan. 6, he needs to stop referring to the Capitol rioters as “patriots” and “hostages.” He needs to choose a running mate who signals stability, not disr uption. He needs to persuade voters that electing him will not empower his party’s lunatic fringe—such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz and the other GOP legislative arsonists—and simply replace left-wing chaos with right-wing chaos. (Trump’s strong backing of House Speaker Mike Johnson against Greene’s efforts to oust him is a good sign.) He needs to focus less on energizing his base, which remains solidly behind him, and more on winning over swing voters. 

If Trump had received just 43,000 more votes in a few key states, the 2020 election might have had a different outcome. Such a marginal shift could be the difference between defeat and victory in 2024. He needs to court Americans who liked his policies but are uncertain about bringing him back to the White House—and behave in a way that gives them permission to vote in their self-interest. 

Does Trump have the discipline to do this? The election hinges on that question. Because if voters have to choose between two chaos candidates, Trump will lose. But if Trump can paint Biden as the chaos candidate – and himself as a return to normalcy – he can win. 

(Washington Post

Officials should not weaken financial education requirement 

By LAURIE A. ROE Of Oregon Capital Chronicle 

Oregon has finally caught up to the many other states that require high school students to pass a personal finance course as a graduation requirement with a landmark bill that passed the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Tina Kotek in 2023. 

Senate Bill 3 requires students to take lessons in personal finance and career preparation to graduate by 2027, but today, as the Oregon Board of Education is adopting rules for implementing the requirement, officials appear poised to dismantle the intent of the law by not requiring schools to provide students with a dedicated personal finance class at all. 

The Department of Education has recommended that schools be allowed to not offer a stand-alone class in personal finance and instead use existing courses in other subjects to include various personal finance standards. The board may finalize the rule by next month. 

This clearly contradicts both the overwhelming intent of the Legislature as well as the language used in the legislation itself. Throughout public testimony on the bill before the Senate Education Committee, legislators and advocates universally referenced the need for financial literacy “courses.” The testimony was clear that only a comprehensive course in managing personal finances would meet the new requirement and provide our children with the tools they need to be successful as adults. Numerous teachers testified, strongly urging the Legislature to enact a universal requirement. 

What the department is recommending is nothing more than the status quo, where various financial education principles are sprinkled throughout other class coursework, rather than a structured curriculum to close the financial equity gap. That approach has proven inadequate. The Department of Education even testified that personal finance was best taught as a stand-alone course. The Legislature agreed. Legislators and the public believed that is exactly what happened with the passage of SB 3. In fact, the state treasurer, whose office issues an Oregon Financial Wellness Scorecard every year, heralded the legislation by noting; “Students who graduate in 2027 or later will need to complete a semester-long personal finance class.” 

How can the board violate the Legislature’s clear intent? 

This likely evolves from concerns expressed by some school officials of adding additional graduation requirements to the school day. Legislators and advocates worked to address those concerns by allowing a personal finance course to also count towards other existing requirements depending on how the course is structured. For example, a personal finance course taught by a math teacher, who uses math principles to show students how to calculate interest rates, or determine loan amortization, might also allow that student to meet a math credit as well. An economics teacher who combines mortgage lending instruction with the socio-economic impact of home ownership on community vitality might also qualify students to receive a social studies credit. 

But the personal finance course was the foundation. The additional credit evolves only from the basis of the personal finance course. 

Failure to follow the legislative intent will only further the inequities prevalent in the education system today. While some schools already offer a personal finance course, they are generally confined to schools in higher socio-economic communities. Studies have clearly demonstrated that a universally applied requirement is the best approach to removing that inequity for all our students. 

Resources are available for schools from education services districts like the Willamette Education Service District in Salem, with credit unions and other nonprofits in Oregon dedicated to providing instructional materials and teacher education. 

By focusing on accessing these resources to help with meeting the new requirements, rather than diluting them, the board would remain true to the legislative intent and provide students with the concentrated and thorough instruction they will need as they enter adulthood. 

(Oregon Capital Chronicle focuses on deep and useful reporting on Oregon state government, politics and policy. They help readers understand how those in government are using their power, what’s happening to taxpayer dollars, and how citizens can stake a bigger role in big decisions.

Contact Keizertimes Staff:
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

SUBSCRIBE TO GET KEIZER NEWS — We report on your community with care, depth, fairness, and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe today to get our daily newsletters and more.