I am deeply saddened by the passing of Oregon State Senator Alan Bates. Senator Bates accomplished so much and was loved by many. When I worked on his campaign, I saw so many messages from the people he helped.
Senator Bates was a doctor, and not only did he make a difference in the lives of his patients, but he brought their stories to Salem to bring about change. He used to tell a story about one of his patients who kept bouncing in and out of hospitals for lack of dental care. This is just one of the examples that led him toward the coordinated care model of healthcare delivery in Oregon, which is now being held as a model for efficiency around the country.
Senator Bates’ knack for identifying policy changes to better support his constituents’ needs set an example for lawmakers in Salem, including longtime Stand champion Senator Mark Hass. He was known for bills and policies that improved quality of life while saving taxpayers money, due to services being provided when they make the greatest impact in the most cost-effective manner.
Senator Bates did so much for education in Oregon as well. He served ten years on the Eagle Point School Board. He worked on legislation that made higher education more affordable, reinvested in K-12 public schools, advanced STEM education initiatives through the STEM Investment Council, and helped revitalize some career and technical education programs.
What really gets me is how much he gave of himself to his patients and to the people of this state. He would drive home from Salem to see patients all weekend, and then drive back to Salem. The impact he had on Oregonians will not be forgotten.