Small Business Sign
Education
Justice

During the 2022 legislative short session, my colleagues and I made significant investments in childcare, education, homelessness, housing, public safety, and workforce development. I co-sponsored a dozen bills – including HB 4117 to help working families access tax deductions and credits, HB 4052 to increase access to healthcare in minority communities, and SB 1579 to establish a $15 million Economic Equity Investment Program that will encourage disadvantaged Oregonians to become entrepreneurs, expand a small business, or buy a house.  

 

Yet, there is much more work to be done. Here are a few of the issues I am most passionate about: 

Economic Empowerment 

 

The economic shockwaves resulting from the pandemic are still being felt in our community. The cost of housing, healthcare, food, and other essentials are rising. Many jobs don’t pay a living wage. Parents can’t return to work due to a lack of childcare options. Small business owners can’t find enough qualified workers and are experiencing ongoing supply problems. We can do more to alleviate these problems. 

 

I want to empower people by supporting policies like:

 

  • Increasing the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit to help working families. 

  • Ensuring access to affordable childcare. 

  • Easing the housing crisis by eliminating the mortgage interest deduction on vacation homes and invest the revenue in affordable housing initiatives. 

  • Creating “portable benefit” mechanisms that allow gig and part-time workers to obtain benefits contributed to by multiple employers.

  • Fostering partnerships between Oregon Business Development Department, chambers of commerce, and non-profits like the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network to provide resources to start-ups and struggling small businesses. 

Education

The public school system is the cornerstone of our community. It provides our kids with the skills they need to succeed. It also gives them the opportunity to dream big and become the innovators of tomorrow. 

 

Unfortunately, Oregon’s school system has too often been starved of resources. The Student Success Act of 2019 was a step in the right direction, but it was unable to overcome over a decade of budget cuts. Census data indicates that nearly half the other states spend more per pupil on their students than we do. If this trend continues, our kids will be at a disadvantage when competing for the jobs of the future. 

 

That is why I support policies like the following: 

 

  • Providing additional funding for hands-on learning so that students can stay engaged and focused on their future career possibilities. 

  • Encouraging partnerships between public schools and the private as well as non-profit sectors to multiply the impact of taxpayer dollars. 

  • Reducing the cost of higher education and fostering good citizenship by offering our college students discounted tuition at community colleges and public universities in exchange for doing volunteer work with a non-profit. 

Equal Justice 

It is an unfortunate reality that the justice someone receives is too often tied to how much money they have. Those with resources in civil or criminal cases have a distinct advantage. Those with limited funds can become overwhelmed or exhausted and many give up even though their cause is just. 

 

That is why I want to level the playing field by doing things like:

 

  • Ensuring equal access to justice by increasing funding for legal aid centers – especially those providing services for elder law cases, housing cases, and family law cases involving domestic violence.   

  • Protecting consumers by adding insurance companies to the Unlawful Trade Practices Act.

  • Providing more resources to the Office of Public Defense Services. 

Climate Change 

 

The effects of climate change are all around us. In 2021, Oregon experienced over 1,000 wildfires, an ice storm that caused the biggest power outage in our state’s history, and a record-breaking heatwave that killed over 100 people. This type of severe weather is deadly as well as destructive and it’s only going to get worse unless we do something. Failing to do our part is not only immoral, it’s economically short-sighted. 

 

That is why I support policies to protect our community, encourage the creation of “green” jobs, and address the impacts of climate change. Examples include:

 

  • Expanding our electric vehicle charging infrastructure. 

  • Encouraging the decarbonization of buildings through tax incentives.

  • Establishing a Disaster Pay Fund to provide paycheck replacement for workers who are unable to work due to natural disasters and extreme weather conditions.