SOURCE: U.S. English, Inc.

February 15, 2007 09:41 ET

71 Percent of Oregonians Support Making English the Official Language

New Statewide Survey Finds Strong Support for Common Language Policy

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 15, 2007 -- 71 percent of registered voters in Oregon favor making English the official language of the state, according to a poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc., including strong support within each political party. The survey found that the overwhelming majority of Oregon residents want the state to conduct business in English, including 69 percent of those in the Portland metropolitan area. The survey of 625 likely voters was conducted Feb. 5-8, 2007 and has a margin of error of plus or minus four percent.

"Oregon may not be perceived as a traditional immigrant state, but it has become an increasingly popular destination for newcomers to the United States," said Mauro E. Mujica, Chairman of U.S. English, Inc. "The people of Oregon have a right to expect that their government is working to bring newcomers into the mainstream and putting them on the road to become a successful part of the state's future."

Earlier this year, Rep. Donna G. Nelson introduced H.B. 2459, the first legislation to make English the official language of Oregon since the mid-1990s. The unifying effort follows continued growth in the limited English-proficient population of Oregon, which has tripled between 1990 and 2005, according to U.S. Census estimates. The bill was most recently referred to the House Committee on Elections, Ethics, and Rules.

Making English the official language of a state calls upon the government to conduct business in English and limit governmental multilingualism to common-sense exceptions such as health care, public safety, judicial proceedings and tourism. To date, 28 states have English as their official language. In November 2006, Arizona became the newest addition to the list when nearly 75 percent of the voters affirmed Proposition 103.

"The voters of Oregon clearly applaud the actions taken by Rep. Nelson and the co-sponsors of H.B 2459," continued Mujica. "People understand that we have become a successful society because we have been successful in assimilating newcomers. Learning the English language has been the key part of that assimilation process, and H.B. 2459 recognizes that vital role."

U.S. English, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest non-partisan citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States. Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S. English, Inc. now has more than 1.8 million members nationwide. U.S. English, Inc. can be found on the web at: www.usenglish.org

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Rob Toonkel
    (202) 833-0100