Building an Economy That Works for Working People
A thriving workforce fuels a healthy economy. Profits from increased productivity have been going to the top 1% for decades instead of workers' wages. Policy must put people over corporate profits.
- Income Inequality—The vast majority of those in poverty are the working poor. They aren’t paid living wages, while often corporate employers pay themselves and their shareholders very well. Inequality is an ever-increasing problem in an economy that often does not work for working people.
- Tax Fairness—Since measures 5 , 8, and 11 were passed in the ‘90s, Oregon has faced systemic budget shortfalls year after year. Corporations’ contribution to total tax revenue has been dropping for 40 years. The Student Success Act is a good start to fixing this, but there is more to do.
- Strengthening Unions and Workers' Rights—As the bargaining chair and a shop steward for public higher education staff, I've seen the struggle front-line workers go through for respect on the job and fair wages and benefits. The rights to organize and stand together for fair treatment as workers should be expanded.
- Invest for the Future—A strong infrastructure was essential to the US economic boom in the 1950s and 60s. We need to renew that investment again today. Cutting revenues prevents these public investments.
- Oregon’s Kicker—The personal income tax kicker is regressive, unwise public policy, and mostly benefits the wealthy since they rightfully pay more. These collected revenues should be put into the rainy day fund to mitigate the likelihood of drastic cuts in the next economic downturn.
Protecting the Environment
- Climate Change—We are too late to avoid all the effects of climate change. But the sooner we take meaningful action, the more damage we can prevent. I'm fortunate to be able to take public transportation to work - we can each act, but need strong policies nudging everyone towards using clean fuel sources too.
- Environmental Protection—I’m in favor of clean energy legislation and eliminating old, dirty sources of pollution like our aging diesel truck fleet. Commerce should not override environmental stewardship. Kids deserve better.
- Renewable Energy—The future of energy is from renewable sources. Those are the kind of jobs we need to be fighting to bring to—and keep—in Oregon. Sustainability means being a good steward of our environment, today.
- Funding the K-12 Quality Education Model—Oregon has figured out what it costs to properly fund K-12 education with the quality education model, but the investment has never been made. While the Student Success Act (SSA) will help a lot, work remains to be done to fully fund public K-12 education.
- Student Debt—Better educated Oregonians are needed for tomorrow’s jobs. Yet the average student graduating with debt from Oregon’s public universities owes almost $30K. Low income students are being priced out.
- Putting Students First—Public university budgets should prioritize student success, not construction debt service or executive compensation. University boards and leadership must be held accountable to the people of Oregon for the choices they make, and transparent about how all funding, including state allocated dollars, are spent.
Improving Healthcare Coverage
- Single-Payer—Everyone deserves quality, affordable healthcare. Single payer has been demonstrated around the world to be the most effective way to achieve that outcome - it works. People want quality healthcare, our current patchwork health insurance market is a poorly-performing means to that end.
- Pricing Transparency—When buying nearly anything, the price is clear up front. Not healthcare. Until we get to single payer, we need to know what our health related choices actually cost - before we make our healthcare decisions, not afterward.
- Protecting Choice—(Reproductive Health) Women need to be able to make their own decisions about their bodies and women's reproductive health choices should be covered by all insurance plans. Family planning services are critical to maintaining and sustaining women’s health. I support Planned Parenthood.
Expanding Access to Affordable Housing
The state legislature has a responsibility to work with local governments to expand access to affordable public housing, and to lift state preemption on local jurisdictions setting their own rental rate increases at levels lower than the relatively high one set by state law.
There are a lot of actions we can take today to increase readiness for the major earthquake we know is coming to Oregon. Requiring fuel tank owners to harden the critical energy infrastructure hub in Linnton, fixing older buildings we know are unsafe, and making sure new buildings must be constructed so they can be used immediately after a major earthquake.
- LGBTQIA+ Rights—Oregon has made strides towards honoring diversity and recognizing equal rights for everyone. These efforts should be celebrated and expanded.
- Racial Justice—Endemic racism is built into our socio-economic systems. While Oregon has made progress from its racist past, we must ensure equal treatment by identifying injustices at every level and working systematically to eradicate them.
- Law Enforcement Accountability—Those who put themselves in harm's way to serve us deserve our respect. At the same time, public servants in uniform must be accountable for their actions and police body cameras should be deployed to uniformed police officers as soon as possible.
- Immigration—Immigration is one of the main things that makes America great. Nearly everyone living in north America has ancestors that came from somewhere else within the last couple centuries. We are a nation of immigrants, and we need to start acting like it again.
Reforming Gun Laws
Americans overwhelmingly favor background checks and waiting periods, and so do I. Gun safety is of primary importance. We require demonstrated competence to drive a car but not own a gun? I’m in favor of reasonable gun laws which have been proven to reduce gun violence.
Consumers who are wronged by defective products or predatory services and practices deserve to have their day in court if they want it. Terms of service that include mandatory binding arbitration for disputes should be prohibited by law.
Keeping Oregon’s Promise: Public Employee Retirement System (PERS)
The $25B+ shortfall between funds PERS has and the amount they expect to need to pay out is nearly all due to workers hired before 1996. Only about a quarter of the shortfall is at the state level. Local governments have been paying in at rates below what was needed for years. Punishing younger employees and breaking the commitment made to them when they were hired because of bad past decisions is unfair.