Representative Nancy Nathanson
December 2010
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The past month has been full with work both old and new.  Old: we're finishing out the work of the 75th Legislative Assembly, and attending final committee meetings.  One of the committees I co-chaired with Senator Verger completed work to be heard in the next legislative session, and other policy committees had hearings and also prepared bills for future work.  New:  I've now put more than two dozen bills in the works, about half from the Government Efficiency Task Force that I chaired. The rest are my individual proposals (see
Womenspace, Inc. Director shows Rep Nathanson hand-made blankets for children of domestic violence survivors.
below). The next two years will be a delicate balance to preserve essential services while struggling to balance a budget.  Negotiations continue on how to select leadership for the House, evenly divided with 30 members each from the two major parties.  And what about committees?  Committees are not permanent or defined by the state constitution; they are created by the elected leadership.  So every two years in the House, the Speaker determines what committees will exist, and which members will serve on those committees.  Committees, too, are still undetermined.

Whether you are near or far from friends and family, I hope the holiday season is good to you. From our kitchen table we've been watching the birds at the birdbath and feeder. The berries are all eaten now from the dogwood trees and bayberry bushes.   Our family is small, and family and friends are far-flung, but we treasure the connections.  Best wishes to you.


In This Issue
Oregon Jobs: What economists are saying
The 2011 Session
St. Vincent de Paul celebrates 1,000th unit
OSU honors local business
My excellent staff
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Capitol News

Oregon Jobs: What economists are saying

Oregon gained 6,300 jobs in November following an October increase of 6,700, the largest in almost five years.  These encouraging Employment Department numbers break the streak of gloomy state and local economic reports, although way too many Oregonians are still looking for work.  Tim Duy, a University of Oregon economist said, "Six thousand jobs a month is 72,000 jobs a year, which is almost half what we lost in the recession," Duy said. "I've become more optimistic." Many economists put more emphasis on job numbers than on unemployment figures. People who had stopped seeking jobs for lack of prospects may resume hunting at the first sign of recovery, becoming counted again as unemployed, driving up the jobless rate. "Because of that, we could actually have very healthy job growth for a couple of months but never see a change in the unemployment rate," said Patrick Emerson, an Oregon State University economist. "If you're looking for signs of the recovery, it's much more important now to focus on job creation."

The 2011 Session

The 76th Legislative Assembly (2011-13) will begin meeting in early 2011. I appreciate the voters returning me to office to continue to serve District 13 and Oregon.  On January 10 the Governor and Legislature are sworn in. The Legislature will meet for just a couple of days, then resume on Feb. 1 and continue through June. (This cost containment plan has been envisioned since last year, to reduce the budget for the legislative branch.)

Here's a short description of some of the bills that I have prepared for consideration in 2011.  The first hurdle will be getting a hearing in a committee!

Salem Hearing
The busy halls outside of a hearing room in Salem during the final days of the 75th legislative assembly.

Health Care:   Lots of effort at the national and state level has gone into increasing access. It's just as critical to focus on primary care and address the cost of health care, and "bend the cost curve" downward.

* Reduce costs associated with advanced imaging tests.

* Prevention and early treatment: recruiting and retaining primary care physicians.
* Public health: Improve stewardship of Oregon's vaccine supply, reduce incidents of spoiled vaccine and re-immunization, reducing risk and avoiding additional costs.


Passenger and Freight Rail

* Preserve right of way needed to expand track or improve road-and-rail crossings.
* Activate an advisory council to guide planning for higher speed passenger and improved freight rail, including the Cascadia Corridor we share with Washington.

Government Efficiency

* Continue the Government Efficiency Task Force. (The one just completed developed nearly two dozen concrete ideas to improve service, reduce cost, or increase efficiency. )
* Consolidate redundant government audits, reducing cost to both the private sector and state and county offices.
* Create collaborations between state and local governments to more efficiently provide motor pool services for public business.
* Allow counties to provide law library service in a more cost-efficient way.

A couple more selected bills:

* Protecting children and families: a new partnership between the state Department of Humans Services and Relief Nursery to improve child welfare and keep families together.
* Preserving Oregon history: new collaborations between state and local agencies such as libraries and museums to improve the organization and access to Oregon's historical records.


District News
St. Vincent de Paul celebrates 1,000 units of affordable housing
StVdeP kitchen
Staff shows Rep Nathanson the kitchen in one of the new units.

St. Vincent de Paul staff marked their 1,000th unit of affordable housing with the grand opening of the Donald L. Lamb Building.  The Lamb Building replaces the old St. Vincent dePaul thrift store on West 11th with retail space on the ground floor and 35 units of affordable housing above. Designed with energy efficient water fixtures, EnergyStar appliances, compact fluorescent light fixtures, and solar hot water heating systems, it will save tenants money on their utility bills.
Oregon State University Honors Local Business

Old Dominion Collision Repair was honored by OSU as the best small business in their 2010 Excellence in Family Business Awards. Old Dominion is headed by Patty McConnell, and includes three generations of her family.  McConnell says "I absolutely love being a female in a male-dominated industry. There are challenges, but also opportunities because people don't expect it. You get to do some things different than other body shops out there." McConnell's is one of only 5% female-owned body shops nationwide.

My Excellent Staff

DW Ghana
Dorothy plays with Sala who will attend the school.

During the month of November I had less staff coverage than usual when my legislative assistant, Dorothy, had the opportunity to go to Ghana for a month. (Brandon and Joel helped enormously, adding some hours to fill in.)  Dorothy traveled as a volunteer with Framework International, an Oregon non-profit.  She helped build a school in Small London, a farming village. Working hand in hand with the villagers, they began construction on a 6-room school that can educate up to 360 area children. I am proud to have someone who is so dedicated to helping others, and believe it also shows in the service she provides to the constituents of District 13.

Representative Nancy Nathanson | 900 Court St NE | Salem | OR | 97301