Solarize Eugene Celebration
(Photo Credit: Craig Strobeck)
Our children, our future, return to school this week. The rhythms of autumn begin even though it is still summer. Our public schools are what made America strong, and their future is the future of our country and ourselves. Much of that future depends on our willingness to provide a great education to all of our kids.
At the end of August the State Economist told the Revenue Committees that his estimate of our revenues is up about $80 million for this biennium. It looks like we may have finally turned the corner on state revenues. This is the first projection of an increase in state revenues since the Great Recession began in the summer of 2008. Our people will continue to struggle in a very slowly growing economy for some time. If we can mobilize our innate talent, energy and innovative spirit, the longer term future will be bright.
Need a Speaker?
I regularly hold coffees, town halls, and speak to other groups around the district. If you would like me to meet with your group about Legislative work, you have only to ask.
September 12th to 14th December 10th to 12th
Rep. Barnhart's Partnerships in Education Town Hall
Local Business Resources
Eugene Chamber of Commerce
Springfield Chamber of Commerce
Lane Small Business Development Center
Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO)
Lane Metro Partnership
Lane Council of Governments
Business Xpress Now Open - Streamlining How Businesses Interact with Government Agencies
The site includes information on permitting requirements, services and resources for a number of business filing, tax, business assistance, promotion and regulatory programs. The portal also helps business owners obtain information on exporting goods, hiring Oregonians, contracting with public bodies, and training. Visit Business Xpress.
Sodaville's New Flag
SUMMER OUTREACH HIGHLIGHTS
This was a busy summer! Over the last few months I hosted eight coffee and town hall meetings and spoke with hundreds of citizens across the district. Providing opportunities for citizens to voice concerns, give feedback and get information about their government is a key duty of a State Legislator. But I recognize that your schedules are busy too, and the summer is no exception. In case you were interested, but unable to attend, this update includes highlights from this summer’s meetings and links to further information.
PARTNERSHIPS IN EDUCATION
My most recent informational town hall meeting focused on partnerships in education. The speakers panel included many talented and committed individuals who work tirelessly to provide unique learning opportunities to students. Apprenticeships, career shadowing, and other business and online partnerships have kept students in school and enriched their experience. At the meeting, a retired school teacher offered to create a math mentoring program. It is this kind of community support and commitment that we need at every level to ensure the success of upcoming generations.
GROWING JOBS IN OREGON SMALL BUSINESSES
During my Forum on Building Momentum for Oregon’s Small Businesses I found out that March and October are the most popular months for new businesses start-ups. With October right around the corner it seems fitting to provide information about local organizations that provide training, financial guidance and networking opportunities. The side panel of this e-newsletter includes a list of local groups that support businesses.
Both businesses and government agencies face financial burden from skyrocketing health care costs. Oregon is leading the nation on this issue and is in the process of implementing reforms that received broad bi-partisan support. I am proud of the steps we have taken to mitigate an unsustainable trend. There will be bumps along the way, but we are committed to blazing a new trail. For instance the Coordinated Care Organizations currently being established have three main objectives – improve the lifelong health of all Oregonians; increase the quality, reliability and availability of care for all Oregonians; and lower or contain the cost of care so it is affordable for everyone. These are tough goals to meet, but we cannot afford to aim low. We have also taken steps to establish a Health Insurance Exchange to be a central market place for insurance plans, with the intent of providing easy to compare plans that are affordable.
I also hosted many small informal coffees with citizen driven discussion. Although no topic was specified for these gatherings, the most frequently raised issues were jobs, education, and health care. At the Sodaville coffee I presented the mayor and attending city councilors with a new Oregon flag-theirs had been stolen.
My Get To Know Your Government Town Hall meeting included a speaker from the Department of Consumer and Business Services, who specializes in identity theft protection. She provided us with several useful websites that warranted sharing: Tools for Consumers and Businesses, Creating Strong Passwords, and the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Many of my best legislative concepts come from constituent suggestions so your participation at these events or contact through email does make a difference. Bill concepts for the next Legislative Session in 2013 are due soon, so if you have an idea, get it to me no later than September 14th. This will be the last Legislative E-newsletter until November.