we enter the 2021 legislative session, I would like to tell you a little
bit about what I’ll be working on over the next few months.
this year, I was honored to be appointed Chair of the House Special Committee
on Wildfire Recovery. This committee is taking the lead role in crafting the
financial and regulatory response to the devasting wildfires that ravaged many parts
of our state last summer. I have toured some of these locations and the
destruction from the fires is absolute. Homes and businesses burned to the
ground, leaving only blank and ashy foundations. Thousands and thousands of
acres of forestland burned. The cost of cleanup alone could be in the billions.
We cannot get to this work fast enough. I am committed to this cause and
anxious to provide as much relief as possible. I am also proud to be working
with my Republican and Democratic colleagues from both urban and rural
districts to craft a relief package that will help these families and
businesses get back on their feet.
am also honored to serve on the House Committee on Economic Recovery and
Prosperity Committee and on the House Committee on Business and Labor. Over the
last 11 months we have seen hundreds of thousands of jobs disappear in the wake
of a COVID-19. Businesses have been forced to close or severely reduce
operations as we have grappled with the requirements necessary to slow the
pandemic. As a small business owner, I believe in the power of small businesses
and the vital role that they play in job creation and community development. I
also believe in the benefit of labor unions and in the role of collective
bargaining that ensures our public employees receive a fair deal for their
work. Let me be clear – the number one priority of every legislator must be to
get these jobs back and these businesses opened again. In order to achieve this
goal, we must speed up our vaccine delivery and get as many people as possible
vaccinated against COVID-19.
of my committees, once again I’ll be fighting to protect funding for the Farm
to School program which helps to streamline our locally produced agricultural
products into the classrooms where our kids can enjoy our local and healthy
fruits and vegetables. I’ll also be re-introducing a resolution calling for an
end to the unlimited campaign contributions (Citizens United) by special
interests looking to buy influence and access. Simply put, money is not speech
and the people must be protected from this erroneous court decision.
am also pleased to re-introduce two separate pieces of legislation on
annexation reform that will allow my constituents in East Salem to have a
greater say in how and when they can be annexed and will stop the city from
forcing you out of the county and increasing your taxes, without your input.
I will be a diligent guard against any legislation aimed at our retired public
employees. Our teachers and police officers, caseworkers and classified
employees signed a contract with the state many years ago and we cannot go back
on our word and break that contract. I have always and will always vote against
any unconstitutional attacks on our PERS.