Good Morning, Friends and Neighbors!
At the edge of the ceiling in the House chamber, names are painted of people consequential to Oregon history. I suppose they were listed there to inspire us below. But sadly, of the hundred or so names, only three are women.
March is Women’s History Month. Too often, their contributions have been reduced by history.
Please take a moment to read Oregon history: 31 Women Who Blazed Trails in the State. I was honored to know several and privileged to work with and be mentored by one, forty years ago. Join me in celebrating and uplifting the stories of all these inspiring women.
“The young women of today, free to study, to speak, to write, to choose their occupation, should remember that every inch of this freedom was bought for them at a great price. It is for them to show their gratitude by helping onward the reforms of their own times, by spreading the light of freedom and of truth still wider. The debt that each generation owes to the past it must pay to the future.” – Abigail Scott Duniway
Summer Learning and Child Care Funding
Governor Brown has issued a back-to-school mandate returning students to the classroom in the next few weeks. At the same time the Oregon Department of Education and the Early Learning Division have developed a plan to address the essential needs of students and children during the summer months.
The Education Subcommittee of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means will be considering this $250 million funding package, which includes five specific parts:
Due to the COVID-19 health protection restrictions, the Capitol building remains closed to the public, with committee work being done remotely. You can still weigh in on the bills under consideration by writing, phoning or by computer link-up.
Proposed Liquor Pricing & Alcohol Taxes
I have long been a supporter of Oregon’s remarkable craft brewing, small distilleries, and local wineries. Now my mailbox is filling with letters opposing House Bill 3296, which would increase the wholesale beer and cider tax to 27 times its current rate, from $2.60 a barrel to $72.60. The wine tax would increase nearly 20 fold, from 65 cents to $10.65 per gallon.
This measure would raise millions of dollars for substance abuse prevention and treatment. Advocates say it would create hundreds of additional treatment beds and also curb harmful alcohol consumption. But opponents say the proposed tax increase would cripple an industry already struggling to survive amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Without a doubt, our state needs a serious conversation about the health and safety consequences that substance abuse is having on Oregonians. I support that conversation. But a proposal that propels Oregon beer, wine and spirits taxes to the highest in the nation at this difficult time is not the answer.
As we consider these ideas, I will be careful to balance the health needs of Oregonians with the economic needs of our spirits industry.
Your Voice – Your Vote
With Spring break looming, Representative Brock-Smith and I were interviewed Sunday by KATU’s Your Voice Your Vote about the affects of the year-long pandemic on the coastal economy.
We talked about our highest-in-Oregon unemployment. We talked about the affect on the hospitality industry and lower wage workers. We talked about the ripple effect restaurant closures have on the fishing industry and large lottery backed projects like the Newport Dams. We talked about our health-vulnerable retired population and concerns that visitors might bring exposure with them. And we talked about coastal legislators, republicans and democrats, working together for our part of Oregon.
Please take fifteen minutes to watch this provocative conversation here.
Redrawing Legislative Districts
On Tuesday the House and Senate Special Committees On Redistricting began hearing public testimony. Redistricting is the once-a-decade process of redrawing United State House of Representatives (Congressional) and Oregon State Senate and State House of Representatives (Legislative) district boundaries to account for changes in population. Ten hearings are scheduled and will take place through April 10th.
Oregon’s House District 10 includes parts of Lincoln, Tillamook, Yamhill and Polk Counties. Hearing dates in these areas are 3/18/2021 5:30 PM (view agenda here) and 4/10/2021 3:00 PM (view agenda here).
Your voice is critical to how Oregon’s legislative and congressional districts are drawn. Instructions on how to testify by video, phone, or written testimony can be found at the Legislature’s Redistricting webpage here. You may also submit written testimony to [email protected]
Volunteer to Help Clean Up
I’m a big fan and regular participant in beach and community clean-up programs. Registration for SOLVE’s statewide volunteer event, the Oregon Spring Cleanup is now live. Thousands of Oregonians are expected to celebrate the 51st anniversary of Earth Day by signing up to volunteer. While most projects are happening on April 17, volunteers can also get involved the week before and the week after (April 10-April 24). Visit solveoregon.org for a full list of projects happening as part of this statewide event.
Since they began, SOLVE has engaged more than 250,000 volunteers and helped remove over 17 million pounds of litter and debris from Oregon’s coast, forests, urban areas and natural landscapes.
Thank you for taking a few minutes of your time to read our newsletter, and for staying consistently engaged with us. Working with people I represent is the best part of this challenging job and it is a constant joy to hear from you so that I can serve you better in Salem.
Representative David Gomberg
email: [email protected]