Get BIG Money Out of Oregon Politics
Campaign finance reform is an issue that impacts all other issues. It will be impossible to make bold changes on things like healthcare and protecting the climate without getting big money out of Oregon’s politics. Despite the great electoral success of Measure 107 in establishing the constitutionality of campaign finance restrictions, the legislature has thus far failed to actually enact any limits. Campaign finance reform is needed to ensure that our elected representatives truly represent the interests of the people who voted them into office, rather than those of wealthy individuals and corporations who donated huge sums of money to their campaigns.
Universal Healthcare will Free Up Money for Oregonians and Our Schools
In my 10 years of experience on school boards in Oregon, I learned just how much the strain of Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) debt and healthcare costs are on school budgets, accounting for around 40% of the classroom dollars. This huge amount of money leaving our schools contributes to classroom overcrowding, understaffing, and Oregon’s dismal graduation rates.
Imagine what would be possible with school funding if the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) and PERS were expanded to all Oregonians. As the next Governor, I will create the Oregon Health Fund to provide the Oregon Health Plan for all residents. This will guarantee every Oregonian access to care, while simultaneously alleviating the strains of healthcare costs on schools and businesses. A portion of what businesses save on healthcare costs would help to pay for pensions for all working Oregonians. Most importantly, healthcare coverage and the pension would be transferable when an individual changes jobs!
Create the Oregon Shelter Fund to Solve Homelessness
The housing crisis is one that is worsened by the holding of vacant properties by property owners. This is why I propose that a vacancy fee be levied on properties that could serve to provide housing or other services for Oregon’s houseless population. The revenue collected with this fee will support the Oregon Shelter Fund and could be matched with local and federal dollars to provide affordable housing and vital services.
Wildfire Response and Recovery
I will work to ensure that the Oregon Department of Forestry and the State Fire Marshal have the financial resources they need to fully and effectively implement recently passed wildfire legislation (SB 762). Additionally, I will push to ensure that the Oregon Conservation Corps established by SB 762 is fully funded. Furthermore, the Corps shall be provided all resources necessary to succeed in carrying out its mission. I will put great emphasis on cooperation and clear communication between state agencies and local officials. This is vitally important in protecting our state as we continue to face increasingly intense fire seasons. I will also reconvene the Governor’s Wildfire Taskforce to evaluate the implementation and success of programs related to this new and critical legislation. Finally, I’ll work to manage wildfire damage and risk in the state through executive action and by making recommendations for further legislation.
Climate change poses an existential threat to all Oregonians. Climate change has contributed heavily to the severity of our wildfire seasons, droughts across the state, and the intensity of winter storms. The negative impacts of climate change on our communities will only continue to grow in frequency and intensity. Oregon must set an example for the rest of the United States and the world in taking action to curb the already devastating effects of human-caused climate change. While the legislature has taken some steps to combat climate change and its impacts, much more must be done. I will support amending the state constitution to allow funds raised from the gas tax to be used to properly support high-quality public transportation across the state and make public transportation free to both encourage a reduction in dependence on single driver transportation and ensure that everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status has access to public transportation.
Our state’s business equity programs currently do not recognize LGBTQ+ Oregonians as minority business owners. This is a huge omission on the part of the legislature that must be corrected! That’s why, during the regular session of 2021, I supported legislation like House Bill 2694, which died in committee. As Governor, I would work to ensure that nonbinary/gender non-conforming, intersex, and transgender Oregonians, as well as lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual Oregonians, are represented as minority business owners.
I will also work to guarantee that school districts don’t restrict students’ use of LGBTQ+ pride flags and other symbols and that lessons about LGBTQ+ history and literature are required in Oregon’s educational system. It is completely unacceptable for any government agency to take such obviously discriminatory actions against our LGBTQ+ youth by banning LGBTQ+ pride flags and other pride symbols. These flags and emblems aren’t political; rather, they express pride and acceptance of gender identity and sexual orientation. In addition, I would create a Task Force to address LGBTQ+ bullying.
Following California’s lead in providing support for LGBTQ+ individuals, I will push for legislation to track horrific killings of LGBTQ+ people and push the legislature to declare misgendering a human rights violation.
Oregon must do better for its BIPOC communities. I am fully committed to promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in my campaign and reflect it in my entire platform, most notably OHP for All, the Oregon Shelter Fund, and investments in public transit. The reality is that BIPOC communities face a disproportionate rate of houselessness, have less access to health insurance, and often live in food deserts. Investments through the Oregon Shelter Fund and in public transportation would be targeted with an equity lens, with BIPOC communities being prioritized for investment. OHP for all would guarantee all Oregonians high quality health insurance, while making care more accessible without the worry of how to pay for it.