News from Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici

April 28, 2016

Dear Friend,

April started with a visit to KATU's Your Voice Your Vote to talk about how we can help people who are struggling to make ends meet, including providing nutritious meals to kids during summer months and equal pay for women. Also this month, I recognized the 100th birthday of treasured children's author Beverly Cleary. Born in McMinnville and raised in Portland, Cleary brought to life countless characters who continue to hold a special place in the bookshelves and hearts of parents, children, and librarians around the world.

Here’s what I’ve been working on:

A Victory for America's Older Adults
It's exciting to share some good news: President Obama signed the Older Americans Act! I took a leading role in helping to pass this important law, which provides increased funding for programs that help seniors live independent, healthy, and fulfilling lives. The law also provides tools to curb both financial and physical elder abuse. From the Chehalem Senior Center in Newberg to Meals on Wheels in Seaside, I have seen how OAA programs help seniors remain connected to their communities. President Obama and Congress have demonstrated their bipartisan commitment to supporting America's older adults, and I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to strengthen these programs.

Meeting Face-to-Face
My first three spring town hall meetings included great discussions in Astoria, St. Helens, and Forest Grove with more than 100 constituents and elected leaders. Thank you to everyone who joined in for bringing your ideas, concerns, and questions. It's always helpful to hear from you. I'll be holding three more town hall meetings in Newberg, Portland, and Sherwood the first week of May; I hope to see you there!

Revitalizing Oregon's Timber Industry
Cross-laminated timber has tremendous potential to revitalize Oregon's timber industry. Not only is cross-laminated timber more sustainable than traditional building methods, OSU researchers and students are also investigating its advantages in fire safety and earthquake resilience. I had the opportunity to tour Albina Yards, a new building by LEVER Architecture and ReWorks that is the first building in the country to use Oregon-made cross-laminated timber for the entire structure. This excellent example of Oregon innovation shows how our environmental values can work hand-in-hand with economic growth.

Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Payday Lending 
Online and offshore payday lenders are using loopholes to get around Oregon's laws, and taking advantage of people who are struggling. As a consumer protection attorney at the Federal Trade Commission, I learned firsthand how strong consumer protection laws help to keep Americans financially secure. In 2007 in the Oregon Legislature, Senator Merkley and I worked to pass Oregon's law to crack down on predatory payday lending. We have teamed up again to introduce the SAFE Lending Act to provide additional tools to protect consumers from unscrupulous payday loan practices. The bill allows consumers to stop automatic bank withdrawals from payday lenders, requires that lenders abide by the laws of the state in which they are lending, and bans third party "lead generators." We must make sure that payday lenders are not able to trap consumers in loans with exorbitant rates.

Recognizing Artistic Talent
Oregon's First Congressional District is filled with creative students. A panel of artists and art educators named Lily Emory from St. Stephen's Academy the winner of the 2016 Congressional Art Competition for the First Congressional District. Her photograph 'Rust Over Water' will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year. Arts education is a critical component of well-rounded education, and it is especially important for developing the talent needed for an innovation economy. As co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional STEAM Caucus, I am committed to supporting arts education in our schools to excite, encourage, and advance all students.

You can find more updates on my work around the district and in Washington, D.C. on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. 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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