News from Representative Suzanne Bonamici
 

February 1, 2016

Dear Friend,

Like many Oregonians, I remain extremely concerned about the armed occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Although several of the occupiers are in custody, some still remain on the federal refuge. I join the overwhelming majority of Oregonians and Americans in calling on them to surrender peacefully before there is further loss of life. 

Earlier this month, I was honored to welcome the Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts to Oregon and show her our thriving arts communities. It was my pleasure to invite Washington County Muslim leader Salma Ahmad to President Obama’s final State of the Union address. And I’m looking forward to joining Senator Jeff Merkley in Amity on Saturday, February 6 for a town hall meeting. Please join us if you are in the area. Here’s what I’ve been working on lately:

Concerns about Harney County
For the last several weeks, Oregonians have felt deep concern and frustration about the armed occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. That takeover of federal property by extremist outsiders disrupted the peaceful lives of those in Harney County. I share the serious concerns expressed by so many people across Oregon and across the country. Threatening violence to make a point is never appropriate, and those responsible must be held accountable for their unlawful actions. I am grateful for the commitment of our local, state, and federal law enforcement, and for their work to bring some of the occupiers into custody. I hope that the remaining occupiers leave peacefully so that the people of Harney County can begin the long healing process.
 
Bringing National Arts Leader to Oregon 
Oregon’s dedication to the arts enriches our classrooms, makes Oregon a better place to live, and helps fuel our economy. This month, I hosted National Endowment
for the Arts Chair Jane Chu as she toured Oregon and our outstanding arts programs. It was an honor to show Chair Chu how Oregon schools, like Highland Park Middle School in Beaverton and Quatama Elementary School in Hillsboro, are taking innovative approaches to educating students. These two schools are both nationally recognized for integrating the arts into STEM education, something I’m proud to champion in Congress as the co-chair of the bipartisan STEAM Caucus.
Saving for a Secure Retirement
Too many Oregonians and Americans have little to no retirement savings. Improving the retirement system is even more important in a 21st century economy when few workers stay in the same job for their whole career. The Oregon Legislature has been a national leader in helping workers without an employer-sponsored plan to save for retirement. Now, 
President Obama is following Oregon’s lead with a great proposal to help all workers save for retirement and carry their plan from job to job. I look forward to working on this issue in Congress so more workers have the security of knowing they can afford to retire.
Warmest Year on Record
It’s a fact that 
2015 was the warmest year on record in the United States and in Oregon. The Oregon Climate Change Research Institute found that a combination of meteorological conditions and greenhouse gases led to the warm averages. In Oregon, we have an opportunity to lead the nation in efforts to grow the clean energy economy. I applaud Oregon’s electric utilities for working with environmental organizations and collaborating on a proposal to phase out coal and commit to clean, renewable energy sources in addition to the hydropower they currently use. By investing in renewable resources we can create jobs and reduce carbon pollution—it’s a win-win.
Transcending Differences to Make Us Stronger
This year, I invited 
Salma Ahmad as my guest to President Obama’s final State of the Union address. As President of the Islamic Society of Greater Portland, Salma has promoted understanding of Islam, helped Oregonians transcend differences, and made our state and communities more welcoming and peaceful. I applaud Salma for her exemplary work. If Congress follows her example and heeds the President’s call to come together and find common ground, I’m confident that we can meet any challenge that comes before us.

As always, you can find more updates on my work around the district and in Washington on Facebook and Twitter. You can also contact my Oregon and Washington, D.C. offices with questions, comments, or for assistance with a federal agency. This mailbox is not monitored. To contact me via email, please use this secure web form.

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