May-June 2014
May was a month for lots of meetings in Salem and Portland.  
Last week the legislature convened for legislative days, allowing House and Senate committees to hold informational hearings, and the E-Board
Friendship House preK
Visiting an early learning site in River Road neighborhood,
with Gov. Kitzhaber
(Emergency Board) to make budget adjustments.


For National Travel and Tourism week, I was at PDX airport to see how they showcase local food and retail stores, and learn about the Seven Wonders of Oregon ad campaign and security procedures for international arrivals and departures. I also visited a recreation program at an elementary school, and I talked with TV producers, cast and crew in Clackamas County for the new series "The Librarians" and heard their enthusiasm for Oregon's growing film and video industry. 


Contract accountability: following up on the bill I passed in February, The Atlantic magazine interviewed me about Information Technology (IT) contract accountability for the article "The Privatization Backlash." I'm already working on additional 2015 legislation to tighten state agency work, to write and enforce better contracts.


While keeping up with my legislative responsibilities, campaign season is here again, and I am running for re-election. While my newsletters are intended to keep constituents up-to-date on my legislative work, if you'd like more information about the campaign, please visit my campaign website.


In This Issue
School visits
In Salem
Economic development
Health care provider shortage
Resources for you
Quick news: summer reading; fast growing jobs
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In and around the district: pre-K through college
Governor Kitzhaber, Rep. Val Hoyle, and I recently spent some time at the Friendship House Preschool in the River Road neighborhood. The visit highlighted the statewide rollout of the new Quality Rating and Improvement System, which is "designed to raise the quality and consistency of child care and early learning programs across the state." Early learning programs are rated in five main areas, and the ratings allow parents to compare options when choosing preschools for their children.

At Two Rivers-Dos Rios Elementary in Springfield I read stories with a kindergartener, participating in an outreach effort organized by the SMART program (Start Making a Reader Today).

Next up was a panel discussion for UO's Planning, Public Policy, and Management course "Leadership and Change." The topic was "Women and Leadership," and I greatly enjoyed sharing perspectives and stories along with with Bev Smith (Kidsports, Executive Director; formerly Ducks women basketball Head Coach) and Alicia Hays (interim Lane County Administrator).

And very close to home, I spent a half day with a 1st grade class at Willagillespie Elementary and saw greatness in an "ordinary" day at school. Peas, caterpillars, math and language, and singing the way in and out of the room!
Garden at Friendship House preK
Planting a tomato at Friendship House (Gov. Kitzhaber in background)

Math at Willagillespie
First grade math at Willagillespie
A Willagillespie
classroom caterpillar

Legislative Days in Salem
Talking with our Eugene guests
in the Capitol rotunda,
following committee testimony
For the House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development, I arranged for an informational hearing on the topic of business innovation and start-ups. I invited Eugene business innovators Shula Jaron and Justin Freeman of FertiLab Thinkubator, and Joe Maruschak of Eugene Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN).

Taking a few minutes between committee hearings, I was joined for a ceremonial bill-signing by Representative Whisnant and several community partners who worked hard to pass the "Manufactured Home Park Opportunity to Purchase" bill. I was also pleased to join the signing ceremony for the Home Care Worker Registry. Both are described in last month's newsletter.
Talking about economic development...
Drone at work indoors
Demonstrating an indoor drone
used for product inventory
Innovation and startups have been hot topics lately, and I've been working to connect and support the local community with policy and support in Salem. I enjoyed attending some of the Willamette Angel Conference to see business pitches from several startup hopefuls, like: an internet software solution for co-ops and buying clubs (like ordering and sharing fresh food from farmers), and membership-based health care and clinic visits as opposed to insurance reimbursement. Great energy and ideas! 

Godzilla 3 and video games are serious business: here's a Register-Guard story about one of our local high tech businesses (video game and other software), with my comments about it: A monster deal.
Not enough health care providers
I've been learning - and speaking publicly - about the serious shortage of health care providers since my first term as a legislator. That shortage is at a crisis level in Lane County. That's why I advocated for state funding to help LCC build its new health building, passed a bill encouraging new ways of recruiting and retaining providers in 2011, and continue to work on it as a member of a legislative workgroup.

One organization that is working to address the unmet need for doctors, nurses, and other practitioners is the Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon.  AHECSW is a "non-profit organization that partners with key organizations in underserved or unserved communities in order to improve the health of people in southwest Oregon." One chief way they help is through educating and encouraging students to serve their communities in health care professions. In 2011-2012, AHECSW educated and trained 10,000 students through programs like these: MedStars and Diagnosis Day, the Teen Volunteer Program (TVP), and the Student Healthcare Internship Program. More information about AHECSW.

Direct help: home rescue, reporting phone scams, military and insurance help lines
Robocalls: she's back! "Bridget at cardholder services" is at it again. I called the Oregon Department of Justice about the continuing phone marketing abuse. DOJ has spent a lot of time working on this, in collaboration with the federal government. They tell me that one of the numbers that I reported to them belongs to a VOIP carrier, so the call could be originating from anywhere; many point back to Puerto Rico and Costa Rica.  The operations making these calls are ignoring the National Do Not Call Registry, so the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the leader on enforcement. FTC, with more resources than the state, has already filed several lawsuits and more are expected. The work is more streamlined now, but the first prosecution required 100 subpoenas before they found the phone room. For more information or to file a complaint, call 1-888-382-1222 or visit (I have done this).

The Military Helpline provides free crisis counseling services for members of the military, veterans and their families anonymously, 24/7, with a team of veterans and trained volunteer crisis workers. Secure online chat is available at: or call 1-888-HLP-4-VET (888-457-4838).

The Home Rescue Program helps unemployed and underemployed Oregon homeowners avoid foreclosure by providing up to 12 months of mortgage payments, or $20,000, whichever is used first. Oregon Housing and Community Services is closing the program; homeowners are encouraged to apply before July 1, 2014, if they need assistance with paying their mortgage. More information:

Insurance helpline: The Oregon Insurance Division's Consumer Advocacy Unit provides unbiased, free advice and complaint resolution to Oregonians about auto, health, homeowner, life, or other types of insurance policies. Since 2009, the Consumer Advocacy Unit has helped recover more than $5 million for consumers. View the TV commercial on YouTube at Toll free phone: 1-888-877-4894, or see the agency website.
Quick news-around the state
Oregon State Library has begun digitizing some of the older documents from their collections of Oregon state government publications, which they've collected for the last century. See historic voters' pamphlets, The Oregon Guardsman (newsletters from the Oregon National Guard), or the Capitol Anniversary Project which celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Oregon State Capitol.   

Fastest growing occupations in Oregon? Here's what Oregon Labor Trends says: Roofers, Physician Assistants, Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists, Painters, Construction, and Maintenance workers, and Physical Therapist Aides.

New "Aggie Bonds:" Business Oregon is rolling out the new "Beginning and Expanding Farmer Loan Program," which offers new farmers affordable financing for loans to purchase agricultural land or equipment.

Coos Bay Rail Link was named the nation's "2014 Short Line of the Year" by
the leading railroad transportation industry trade publication, Railway Age

USDA support for biofuel: USDA Rural Development State Director, Vicki Walker (yes, our former State Senator!), announced federal investments in ten Oregon biofuel production companies. Funding comes from the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program (established in the 2008 Farm Bill), and will be invested in Oregon companies as part of $60 million in payments nationwide to support production of advanced biofuel. SeQuential Pacific Biodiesel will receive roughly $379,000 from the USDA to incentivize the production of more than 7 million gallons of biofuel in 2014.