Thank you to everyone who joined me at my town hall meetings in McMinnville, Portland, Astoria, Gaston, Hillsboro, and Clatskanie. Town hall meetings are at the heart of our representative democracy, and the stories and insights you shared with me will inform my work on your behalf in Washington D.C.

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Listening to You About the Housing Crisis

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In every community I represent, people express concern about the lack of affordable housing. Everyone deserves to have a roof over their heads, but incomes have not kept pace with housing costs. More than one-third of Oregonians now spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. The toll on families and communities is devastating, resulting in a deep human cost as well as lost economic opportunities for individuals and businesses. I’m holding a series of listening sessions to learn more about what the housing crisis means for our communities, and to identify solutions.

There are two bills I’m already working on that will help. One would create roughly 3 million deeply affordable homes and cut rents by about 10 percent. Another would address chronic homelessness through funding for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, new special purpose Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8), and case management services. Providing more resources for housing is important, and it’s going to take all of us working together to make sure every one of our neighbors has a home.


Standing Up for LGBTQ Kids and Families

ImageIn a majority of states today, there are no clear protections for LGBTQ individuals in education, employment, housing, and health care. We cannot accept the status quo in which an individual’s basic civil rights are recognized in one state, but then evaporate when they cross state lines. The bipartisan Equality Act is our opportunity to affirm that this country’s landmark civil rights laws guarantee all people the right to be safe, secure, and free from discrimination. I’m proud to stand with the LGBTQ community as we fight for equality nationwide.

The Department of Education has a responsibility to protect ALL students. Yet the Trump administration has rolled back crucial protections for transgender students. When I asked Sec. DeVos whether she knew that these actions would put transgender students at risk, she admitted that she did. The Department of Education’s failure to protect transgender children is unconscionable, and I will continue to stand up for transgender kids and their families.


Acting on Our Climate Agenda

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The House is making progress on our climate action agenda. I presided over the House for final passage of the Climate Action Now Act, which will honor our country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement and lay the groundwork for further action. 

Oceans and estuaries are facing the consequences of our inaction to reduce human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases. The Science Committee unanimously approved my bipartisan bill, the COAST Research Act, to help communities facing ocean acidification.  With this bill, we can support vulnerable communities and industries by strengthening research on how they can best prepare and, when possible, adapt to ocean and coastal acidification. Our oceans and estuaries are resilient, but threatened. We must take action to help them heal.

At home in Oregon I visited Seaside High School, where students are monitoring water quality to help surfers and swimmers know when it’s safe to be in the water. I also saw an enormous wave energy device before it ships out to Hawaii for testing. Oregon is at the forefront of marine energy, and as we transition to a clean energy economy robust federal investment can help unleash innovation and catalyze industries that harness the power of our oceans' waves. I’ll continue to champion clean energy and make sure we are creating good-paying jobs and growing the economy as we address the climate crisis.


Visiting Schools and Supporting Students

ImageVisiting schools and seeing students learning gives me hope for the future. Last month I visited five schools and convened a roundtable discussion with leaders in higher education. At Imlay Elementary, students had the opportunity to dissect fish in a hands-on science lesson, thanks to the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership. In Hillsboro and Gaston, students in career and technical education courses were receiving real-world job experience and learning valuable skills. I also celebrated the artistic talents of students across Northwest Oregon who submitted their artwork to my Congressional Art Competition. The winner, Jennie Cho, will have her artwork displayed in the Capitol in Washington D.C. for one year.

 

   

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