is a resident of Malin and represents the 56th District in the
Oregon House of Representatives.
For several weeks I have been advocating for rural Oregon in
multiple conference calls per day with the Governorís office,
Congressman Walden, Oregon Health Authority, fellow Legislators
and local community leaders.
As a member of House Republican leadership, I continue to
advocate for reopening our state sooner, rather than later, in a
safe and responsible way. One size does not fit all. Thatís why
I recommend reopening Oregon regionally, based on objective
criteria within a particular community.
It is critical to get our hospitals and healthcare professionals
back to work helping others with non-COVID-19 related
activities, including dental practitioners. I strongly support
the idea of delaying the Corporate Activities Tax for at least
two quarters allowing businesses to get back on their feet,
before coping with the burden of a new and complicated tax.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted several areas of
government that are woefully behind the times, due to the
mismanagement of priorities from state government during the
past decade. Two glaring examples are public education and
unemployment insurance. Under-utilizing modern technology is a
huge detriment. In the year 2020, we find a wide variety of
online services available for banking, grocery shopping,
purchasing household goods, watching movies, connecting with
friends and many other daily activities.
In contrast, the Department of Education was unprepared to
provide systematic, quality remote learning for our children.
Moreover, the inability to grade students by letter grade,
versus only pass/no-pass, is completely unacceptable, especially
when other states are offering this option. Many high school
students need letter grades to be accepted into post secondary
education institutions. Inflexibility of public unions to allow
for summer school without costing school districts and working
Oregonians additional dollars, must change. For those who had to
experience filing an unemployment claim, the process has often
Again, a shortfall in technology is largely to blame. The Oregon
Employment Department was given $86 million 10 years ago to
modernize its services and the 30-year old mainframe
unemployment computer system ó it has yet to to complete this
critical update. This is a total failure in leadership. The
Governorís decision to shut down Oregonís economy led to a
massive increase in unemployment claims.
Furthermore, the inability to properly staff Employment
Department ahead of time, is very troubling. It can be argued
that how the Governor shut-down our economy, using arbitrary
edicts through Executive Orders, was unconstitutional. I believe
the safety of all Oregonians is important. However, the
Governorís actions have brought significant harm to thousands of
Oregon businesses and tens of thousands of Oregon families. I
believe when Oregonians are not working, Oregon does not work.
We need to safely reopen up the areas in Oregon where the virus
has had little real impact. We need to set clear guidelines, so
businesses can reopen: region by region and then statewide.
Oregonians need to return to work to be able to buy food, pay
rent, make car payments, pay credit card bills, and utilities.
By our very nature Oregonians have a pioneering spirit and are
ready to live life again ó aware of, not fearful of, this
pandemic. I am confident that we can adapt to the challenges
presented by COVID-19 and no longer need to hide from it. Letís
reopen Oregon and move forward together.
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