This fall I wrapped up a series of six town hall meetings with two final meetings in Cannon Beach and Portland. I celebrated the Portland Thorns’ victory in the National Women’s Soccer League Championship—go Thorns! Another highlight was working with Senator Jeff Merkley to bring the “I Am Not Invisible” exhibit featuring Oregon women veterans to the nation’s capital. Too often women veterans feel invisible, but seeing the faces and stories of women veterans from Oregon in the halls of Congress was a proud moment for me and for women veterans everywhere.
I continue to be alarmed by aggressive tactics by ICE officers in Oregon. The recent incidents are causing fear in our communities, and aren’t making anyone safer. I will continue to press for a Congressional hearing on ICE’s policies and practices until we get answers.
Tackling the Opioid Crisis
People from every corner of Northwest Oregon tell me heart-wrenching stories about how the opioid crisis has affected them or their loved ones. Everyone agrees that we must do more. Although I welcome the President’s focus on the opioid crisis, I hope his Administration backs up his promises with action—and significant resources. I recently held a discussion in Clatsop County with health care providers, addiction treatment specialists, law enforcement, and parents who have lost children to this epidemic. We need more resources, and local, state, and federal officials must cooperate and collaborate to address this crisis. Maintaining access to affordable health care is also part of the solution, and I’ll keep fighting back against Republican efforts to roll back health coverage.
Closing the Skills Gap
As I visit with constituents, I hear from many Oregonians who feel left behind and left out of the economic recovery. They see job openings, but they lack the skills and resources needed to apply for these better-paying opportunities. This creates a “skills gap,” with businesses struggling to find workers with necessary skills, and workers without pathways to better-paying jobs. We need to do more to expand work-based learning and apprenticeship programs. I’ve introduced the bipartisan PARTNERS Act to support industry partnerships that help small and medium-sized businesses develop work-based learning programs and provide support services for workers--at no additional cost to taxpayers. When we approach economic problems with workers and businesses in mind, we come up with better solutions for everyone.
Helping LGBT Elders Age with Dignity
Unfortunately, the same generation of LGBT people who fought for workplace fairness, marriage equality, and societal recognition, and non-discrimination are once again marginalized as they age. Everyone deserves to live their life with dignity. In an effort to address the complex and important issues that arise as the LGBT senior population grows, I’ve introduced legislation to bridge the gap between LGBT seniors and the services they need. My bill builds on the Older Americans Act to make sure its programs are sensitive to the needs of the LGBT population. Additionally, the bill permanently establishes a National Resource Center on LGBT Aging to support organizations, like SAGE in Oregon, that are working to improve LGBT services, including access to health care and long-term care.
Addressing Climate Change
Protecting our planet for the next generation is a moral imperative. I’m a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, a group of Republicans and Democrats who are committed to taking action to address climate change. This week I joined several members of the Caucus on the House Floor to discuss our concerns about climate change and ways we can take action while growing the economy. This year Oregon experienced a historic fire season that destroyed acres of precious forestland and degraded air quality across the state for weeks, and Texas, Puerto Rico, and Florida endured devastating hurricanes. Climate change is here, severe weather events are increasing in frequency and severity, and too many lives are being lost every year. For the health and sustainability of our communities, we must protect and expand scientific research about climate change and we must take action.
You can find more updates about my work around NW Oregon and in Washington, DC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. You can also contact my Oregon and Washington, DC offices with questions, comments, or for assistance with a federal agency. This mailbox is not monitored.
P.S. Enrollment for health insurance coverage through www.healthcare.oregon.gov is open now! You have until December 15 to sign up for coverage in 2018. Even if you already have insurance, it’s a good idea to compare plans and make sure you have the most affordable insurance and best coverage for your needs.
Free help is available to assist you with enrolling in a plan or updating your information. Call 1-855-268-3767, attend an enrollment event near you, or contact a partner agent in your county.