As we continue to fight our way out of a struggling economy, Oregonians have real needs. Our families need an affordable and safe place to live, one that is near where they work and play. Our students need a good education, one that starts early, prepares them for the real world, and doesn’t cost a fortune. And we need to continue to invest in industries that help our economy recover, ones that are sustainable long-term and which don’t harm Oregon’s natural legacy.
Safe and Affordable Housing Options
Every resident has the right to a safe and affordable place to call home. However, for much of Oregon’s population, that isn’t reality. Many residents are unable to afford a home for themselves and their families with the income they receive at work.
Jeff spearheaded an effort to provide residents with better options by attempting to repeal the ban on inclusionary zoning, which designates a certain number of new units to remain affordable for average workers.
While repealing the ban on inclusionary zoning didn’t succeed in 2013, Jeff hasn’t stopped fighting for a solution. He is currently leading a workgroup to find a solution that will increase the availability of housing for the average family in all parts of the city, whereas currently, affordable options are concentrated in just a few areas.
Educating Our Students Right
The need for Oregonians to prioritize education funding is clear. Education starts, or should start, before kindergarten, when young children are developing their educational habits. A good education continues through high school, community college, and/or university.
As a former shop teacher, Jeff knows that teaching technical skills to students gets them excited about school, gets them thinking critically, and prepares them for good jobs, college, or university– whichever they prefer.
Jeff has put heavy emphasis on career-technical education (CTE) classes and their extra-curricular counterparts, career-technical student organizations (CTSOs), during his time in the legislature. CTE received almost $10M in funding in 2013, thanks to HB 2912 and SB 498, with a portion earmarked for CTSOs, but Jeff will continue to fight for their success. The return on investment in these programs is too significant too ignore.
Investing in Sustainable Industry
Oregon’s natural beauty is cherished by its residents and coveted by visitors to this state. We must protect these natural resources for their aesthetic and economic value, while creating skilled, good-paying jobs for local residents.
Oregonians have the capability to serve all these needs. Our solar energy industry has bolstered Oregon’s economy and is on its way to becoming a self-sustaining source of energy that keeps our air clean from emissions. Meanwhile our energy efficiency industry helps Oregonians keep their utility bills in check while providing family-wage jobs to Oregonians that simply can’t be outsourced.
Jeff is a strong supporter of these industries and chaired a workgroup which sought to determine how to assign a value on solar energy. In doing so, he brought together a variety of stakeholders ranging from the Sierra Club to the Oregon Department of Energy. Jeff also supported increasing the efficiency of our appliances, to lower our energy demands and provide for greater unity along the west coast, as well as supporting the public-purpose charge on utilities to support energy efficiency in homes.