Representative Nancy Nathanson
February 2011

Sheldon High School students share the chair they painted for Student Based Health Center Advocacy Day.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The first full month of session has come and gone. It started with some good news about a bill I passed in 2009 to help identify veterans and connect them with the benefits they deserve. Since the bill became effective in July 2009, nearly a million dollars of benefits have been awarded to veterans who had never before filed claims in Oregon.

Each day in session is unique and full of excitement. The variety of topics we work with is always interesting, fascinating, and even challenging. On just one day, Valentine's Day, the Chief Clerk read 70 new bills into the record, which sets the stage for assigning them to a committee and possibly scheduling a hearing. Examples of topics covered in this list of "First Readings": circuit courts, unlicensed dentists, definition of aggravated murder, Board of Accountancy, continuing education for nurses, high-calorie beverages, Commission on Children and Families, wineries on farm-zoned land, business registration process, and noisemakers to deter pinnipeds (I had to look it up! Fin-footed mammals, such as walrus and seal).

Several of my bills have started the hearing process, with four of them up for hearings this week.  I'm eagerly waiting for others to be scheduled for an initial hearing.  If you'd like to help with any of the bills, please contact my office at or 503-986-1413.


In This Issue
Revitalizing Oregon
Education Lobby Day
UO Education & Research Achievement
Oregon Health Connect
Staff Update
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Capitol News 

Revitalizing Oregon

Although this legislative session is already packed with bills to address important issues ranging from banning certain chemicals in children's food and drink containers to allowing amateur beer and wine makers to share their products, there are clearly three priorities that are the main focus for the session: job creation, education, and a balanced budget.

As Oregon continues to recover from the global recession, the challenges facing our state require the Oregon House to join together to keep Oregon moving forward. We have seen four straight months of positive private sector job growth and we must continue our investments in job creation, education and health care while maintaining a balanced budget. Here are a few initiatives already in motion.

Helping Create More Jobs: 

  • Increase repair projects of aging schools to develop jobs while providing healthy learning environments for students and reducing the operational costs of inefficient buildings.
  • Implement strategic investments in roads, rail-lines, marine facilities and airports so Oregon products can get to markets. I have personally introduced a bill to create a Rail Advisory Council to guide planning for higher speed passenger and improved freight rail.


    Investing in Education, health care and workforce development:

  • Stop the downward spiral of decreasing funding for K-12 schools. As I have said publicly in the past, I support efforts to reform the kicker law and ensure a stable stream of funding for Oregon's rainy day fund.
  • Support innovation efforts for renewable energy development including nanotechnology, electric vehicles, and wave energy to keep Oregon in the lead of the nation's growing renewable energy industry.


    Helping local business grow and expand in Oregon:

  • Establish a "one-stop shop" for businesses to register and obtain permits.
  • Increase access to low interest loans for small business to create jobs and market growth.
  • Focus on local entrepreneurs as they launch small businesses in Oregon by enhancing micro-lending strategies. I have co-sponsored a bill this session that aims to study the need and potential costs and benefits of providing micro-lending programs.
  • Education Lobby Day

    Rep Nathanson talks with student advocates from the 4J school district.

    Last Monday, the capitol was filled with education advocates from across the state to meet with legislators and have a rally on the capitol steps. My office met with advocates from the 4J school district, Oregon Education Association, and Stand for Children.  We discussed issues such as stabilized funding for education and the proposal to have the governor appoint the superintendent.

    I also took the opportunity to talk about my interest in strengthening career and technical education (CTE), to improve options for teens, providing needed skills, and reducing drop-out rates. Kids learn in different ways, and practical courses that also give a solid academic grounding in math, science, and writing should be a component of the education system.   That's why I'm co-sponsoring a bill brought forth by the Labor Commissioner that will ensure Oregon students have access to high-quality career and technical education.

    District News 

    Education & Research Achievements at the University of Oregon

    Kettle Foods, an Oregon producer of natural foods and snacks, recently implemented a new warehouse design created by a five-student team from UO's Lundquist College of Business.  The solution proposed by UO's students designed a highly, efficient warehouse next door to the Kettle Foods production plant in Salem. Previously, the company was losing $300,000 a year due to the 3.5 mile drive between the production plant and storage warehouse.

    The university has been recognized on the 2010 Carnegie Classification List for being among the best research institutions in the nation.  Despite its relatively smaller size, UO has managed to rank among the top 108 out of 4,633 higher education research institutions.  Vice President of Research, Rich Linton, calls the upgrade a "remarkable achievement" for UO's research programs.


    Oregon Health Connect

    The Department of Consumer and Business Services and Oregon Health Authority have introduced a new website that will make it easier to find information about health care and health insurance. Oregon Health Connect  includes a Resource Directory that lists programs that can help pay for coverage, file insurance complaints, find coverage if you have pre-existing conditions and locate help with Medicare questions. Both public and community programs are included in the directory.

    Staff Update

    I am pleased to have Tess Milio join my legislative team in Salem as a part-time Legislative


    Tess and Lindsay join Team Nathanson!

    Assistant. Tess graduated from Willamette University with a double major in politics and studio art.  She may be new to my office but is certainly not new to the building. Tess has worked two previous legislative sessions as a legislative intern. She will be working mornings in my office where she will take on legislative issues related to health care and human services in addition to responding to constituents.

    I am also glad to welcome Lindsay Cason as a Legislative Intern.  Lindsay is a second year student at Willamette University.  She studies politics and is a returning member of the debate team.  She will be working in the afternoons during the week to assist on a few health care bills, respond to constituents, and provide administrative support for both Tess and Dorothy.