I have called Oregon home since 1991. While I grew up on the east coast, my husband, Michael, and I currently live in unincorporated Multnomah County with our youngest teenage daughter, who is headed to college next year. Our middle daughter currently attends Harvard University, and my oldest daughter and her partner make their home in northeast Portland.
After receiving my undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and my medical degree from the University of Massachusetts, I moved to the great northwest where I completed my residency in Family Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).
When I'm not at the Capitol, I serve as a family physician at OHSU where I work to provide primary care to both children and adults and currently serve as the Director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Breast Health Education Program. I have served on the Board of the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians since 1999, including as President from 2011-2012.
As a medical professional, I firmly support healthcare accessibility and am passionate about making this a reality. Until we reach the point of universal access to high-quality, affordable primary care, I will continue to provide medical care at a safety net clinic for uninsured patients. Educating our youth remains one of my primary concerns which is why, outside the office, I can frequently be found volunteering at my children's school, including as a member of the Board, and served as a Girl Scout troop leader and camp physician for ten years. Despite my busy schedule, I remain active within my congregation and have been on the board or clergy search committees of Congregation Neveh Shalom since 2004.
In December of 2011, I was first appointed to the Oregon Senate. With strong support from my district, I returned to the Senate in 2012.
The committees I serve on include
Primary Legislative Issues
Affordable Health Care
As a doctor, improving our health care system is one of my primary concerns. I believe that the goal should be a health care system that makes high-quality primary care accessible and affordable for everyone. That is why, along with my colleagues, I actively promote the passage of health care legislation. In my time in the legislature, I have helped to pass legislation to improve access to affordable health care and strengthen our workforce statewide.
Important Bills Passed in the 2016 Legislative Session
Improved access to affordable health care and strengthened our health care workforce statewide by:
- tackling Oregon's opioid crisis by promoting smart prescribing and preventing overdose (HB 4124)
- supporting Oregon's coordinated care organizations (HB 4107)
- improving medical access for low-income COFA Pacific Islanders legally residing in Oregon (HB 4071)
We know that investing in education is crucial to the economic well-being and quality of life in our state. With this in mind, I worked on a number of bills during the 2016 Session to improve education for Oregon students. With the passage of House Bill 4002, our state is developing a statewide strategy for addressing chronic absenteeism in our schools. This bill allocates $500,000 for a pilot program to decrease rates of absenteeism using coordinated, trauma-informed approaches to education, health services, and intervention strategies. We approved $5,300,000 in funding for Oregon pre-kindergarten schooling and an additional $5,400,000 for early intervention/early childhood special education. We focused on enhancing educational opportunities for Oregon students, and I look forward to continuing this work in the upcoming legislative session.
Important Bills Passed in the 2013 Legislative Session
Protected our significant investments in K-12, community college, and university education with bills by:
promoting access to higher education (SB 1537)
allowing "open enrollment" options to students in public schools (SB 1566)
boosting equity in education through culturally competent teaching (HB 4033)
Success of Small, Local Businesses
In this time of tight budgets, we must set clear priorities to make Oregon a better place to own a small business and raise a family. There is great opportunity in strengthening the connections between small businesses and our Community Colleges to actively deliver relevant job training and skills to our citizens. Practical steps include ensuring local employers have access to capital and loans so they can create jobs, and that local businesses get priority when it comes to bidding on state contracts to ensure that our tax dollars are put to work in our communities. We must reduce healthcare costs for small businesses to ensure that they can grow their businesses and provide family wage jobs.
Important Bills Passed in the 2016 Legislative Session
Promoted Oregon's small businesses by simplifying the regulatory process and improving access to capital:
- Expanded access to capital for small businesses to grow, hire new employees, and retain existing staff (SB 1589)
- Provided support to Oregon's small businesses by expanding the function of the Office of Small Business Assistance to help small businesses interact with local governments (SB 1583)
- Encouraged small business growth and expansion by allowing cities and counties to provide a property tax exemption to growing businesses making real property upgrades (SB 1565)
Building a Balanced Budget
While serving on the full Ways and Means committee during the 2016 Legislative Session, I focused on protecting our state investments in education, health care and public safety. Our committee work included a $1 million allocation for the creation of a statewide student safety tip line to harassment, intimidation, cyberbullying, and threats of violence. We provided $900,000 to increase access to health care for children, and $675,000 to the Department of Justice to combat elder abuse around the state. With a focus on the future, we built a budget that provides essential resources to state services while bolstering our state's ability to deal with emergent financial needs.