LWV forum

Let’s get to the heart of the matter – the issues.  Where do I stand on the issues and how am I going to represent YOU for a better Oregon.

If you have any questions about issues that are not here, I would love to talk to you about them!


House Representative and Senator Candidate Fair

Hosted by the League of Women Voters-Umpqua Valley and recorded by Frosland Photography

Thank you to the League for putting on great event and my fellow candidates Shannon Souza, Cedric Hayden, and Christy Inskip.

The candidate fair format gave each of us time to give statements on different topics.  My times are listed here so you can jump in and hear exactly how I stand on these issues.

Intro – Who I am and why I am running  3:20

Economy – training programs, clean energy jobs, CT&E, pairing schools with businesses  25:50

Education – young age opportunities, collaborate to solve issues, CT&E, addressing root causes, fully funding special education    38:25

Healthcare – recruit and retain providers, telehealth, holding pharmaceutical companies accountable, downtown medical facility  51:15

Natural Resource Management – forest and wildfires, timber industries, salmon, job training, clean energy jobs 1:03:13

Issue Statements

Improving Oregon's Economy
  • Creating incentives for small businesses
  • Encouraging living wage jobs
  • Addressing the urgent need for affordable housing
  • Investing in renewable energy resources
  • Diversifying the economy with new ideas and new funding streams

The state of the economy in rural Oregon was my catalyst to run for office. When my daughter was in kindergarten, I joined the Booster Club at her school and within a few months, we were discussing ways to collaborate with other booster clubs to pass the bond measure to keep Rose Elementary open. Unfortunately, the measure failed, the school closed and we saw class sizes increase at all our elementary schools. Not long after that it I was standing in the crowded library community room listening to our elected officials speak about all our libraries closing their doors.

I remember thinking, “Whats next?” If we don’t diversify our economy and create a long term plan, where will we find ourselves in 5 years? 10? 25?

For far too long, rural Oregon has been left behind. The urban areas are booming, and Southern Oregon counties are on the verge of bankruptcy. I’m running to fight for legislation in Salem that will improve our economy.

The recent recession forced a lot of our workforce out of the area for better opportunities.

We solve this by investing in our communities through training programs in healthcare, building trades and manufacturing. We do this by expanding our Career and Technical Education programs, creating new pathways for our students as well as new job training programs for people at different stages in life. This trains our workforce in those valuable trade jobs that we lack in our area like electricians, plumbers, welders, construction workers, and also for jobs of the future in technology and the healthcare industry.

In doing so, we not only solve our workforce shortage, but expand our access to healthcare providers, and help solve our housing crisis.

Next lets partner businesses with our schools. My uncle created a program many years ago that partnered high schools with local businesses, teaching them the skills they would need so they could get a living wage job after graduation and helping businesses save money on recruiting and training new employees.

Then I would like to work on a more coordinated, regionally based economic development strategy that ensures southern Oregon doesn’t get overlooked.  By providing grants for businesses to move into our area and incentives for private investment in rural areas. We could use this money for plant and manufacturing costs; perfect for a recycling facility or would be great for hemp farms to include manufacturing for textiles, rope, paper products.

Locally those grants and incentives could also be used to improve our infrastructure and prepare our area for a massive earthquake-pontoon bridges, preparing our dams, updating our schools, fire stations, hospitals.

Through all of this, we create new industry, create new jobs and then as our state revenue increases, we can start putting that money back into all the services which have been cut in the last several years; education, and public safety.

Improving Education
  • Ensuring all children have access to a free, quality education
  • Lowering class sizes
  • Preparing the next generation for the jobs of the future
  • Increasing career and technical education so our students
    graduate at higher rates, prepared to enter the workforce
    and are able to secure family wage jobs.

I come from a long line of educators and spent much of my childhood in my moms classrooms. After I graduated, I enrolled in early childhood development classes at my community college and took a job as a one-on-one aide in special education. After that I spent several years teaching preschool. For awhile, I was working two days a week at a private preschool where usually only one parent in the household worked, yet they had enough to invest in an expensive early education for their children. The other three days, I was working at  Head Start preschool on a high school campus, where both parents were working, sometimes more than one job. The differences were staggering.

I saw firsthand what a difference funding made in early education.

At the private preschool we had the funds available to work on the precrusors to reading, writing and math; learning through play, taking time for music and movement. At the publicly funded school, we barely had the funds available to prepare the students for kindergarten let alone provide them resources we know they need so they could succeed and thrive.

By investing in our students at a young age, we can increase the high school graduation rate and ensure our students are prepared for the jobs of the future. Studies show that for every $1 spent in early education, the pay off is $6 later in economic benefits. Investing in those early years makes sure every child in Oregon has the best start to life.

When it comes to education in elementary and middle schools, we need to bring everyone to the table for reform. Creating a taskforce between legislators, administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and recent graduates, will help us access the needs of our schools and solve the problems they face. We also need to make sure that teachers from all grades, pre-school through community college, are collaborating so there is a long term plan for education as well as voices from both urban and rural areas.

For so long, we have been focusing on testing metrics and haven’t been able to fund PE, music, and art. I have seen firsthand how PE, music and art can increases achievement in the core subjects and improve a students overall well being.

We also know not all of our students are going to go to college so at the high school level, we need to push forward on Career and Technical Education. Providing alternative pathways for students in skilled trades, to business management, to healthcare and technology career programs.

Over the course of my campaign, I have reached out to local educators, parents and high school students to listen to their concerns and ideas. They spoke to me about the urgent need to address the root causes of poor academics, such as poverty, healthcare and housing. It’s extremely difficult for a student to do their best in school when they don’t even know where they will sleep that night.

We must work towards an equitable education for all students, working on properly funding our special education classrooms.

Oregonians deserve an education that ranks better than 48th in the nation. We need to invest in our students so  they can succeed and thrive.

  • Increasing access to healthcare in rural Oregon
  • Creating new incentives for doctors to stay in rural areas

Oregonians are hardworking people that deserve to have affordable, accessible healthcare that they can actually use. We should be making sure people have access to preventative care, that prescriptions drugs are affordable, that pre-existing conditions, which many of us have, are covered and that we aren’t filing for bankruptcy because of a medical diagnosis.

At 19 years old, I lost both my parents.

Due to the stress of unexpectedly losing them at a young age, coupled with the fact that I had added a second job teaching preschool to bring in more income, my health was suffering. I couldn’t afford to pay for my own insurance and neither job offered it. I found myself in the hospital twice in just a few short years, both times uninsured and both times I walked out of the hospital doors with a very large debt.

Several years later, I was pregnant with our second child. My husband had recently changed jobs and in the interim we had no insurance and I found out pregnancy was considered a pre-existing condition.

My story isn’t all that unusual. We were lucky to not receive a life altering diagnosis, we didn’t have to start a GoFund Me to pay for our bills. That’s not the case for far too many Oregonians. It is time that we worked together to solve our healthcare crisis.

In our area, the supply for healthcare providers cant keep up with the demand for services. This shortage of doctors and other healthcare providers creates barriers to timely care and continues us on a path of having an overall negative health status in Southern OR. Healthcare is expensive and inefficient. In our rural areas, people struggle with finding and keeping a doctor, and transportation to and from visits, which can sometimes be more than an hour each way.

We need to recruit and retain providers. Currently we are able to recruit doctors to the area with legislation that allows them to practice in a rural area to defer their loans. The problem is, they don’t tend to stay here. That continues to put our community in a pattern of having to find a new doctor every few years. This is especially harmful to people with chronic illness and people that need mental health care. So this needs to be a two pronged approach. 1) Again it gets back to ensuring our community has good education, sufficient amounts of housing, community buildings like libraries, and pathways to extended education opportunities.

Next, lets work on legislation for telehealth, which uses technology to remotely provide care. This would be especially important in the most rural areas but also would benefit specialty care, mental health, people with chronic conditions and people suffering from substance abuse disorders.

We also must hold pharmaceutical companies accountable. Impose rate provisions, ensure transparency on drug prices and profit, restrict drug price gouging.

I would also work to make sure the medical facility downtown gets built.

Oregonians deserve to have healthcare that is both affordable and accessible.

Natural Resource Management
  • Providing a safe environment, clean water and clean air for
    our children to grow up and thrive
  • Creating a healthy, resilient community

For the last several summers, we have found ourselves unable to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us due to the threat of wildfire and the unhealthy air that sits in the Umpqua Basin for weeks on end. We can’t spend our free time hiking on our trails, fishing in our rivers.

Timber and wildfire are critical issues here in rural Oregon. As someone who was not born and raised here, I may not have a long history with these issues but I also don’t have any prejudices or alliances. I am ready and willing to listen to experts on all sides of this issue to make informed decisions that benefit our entire community.

Let’s create a task force and bring everyone to the table, giving everyone the time to discuss their side, their concerns and their solutions. From that, we need a forestry industry that delivers a predictable volume of wood resources, provides clean water, restores the Salmon runs all while resisting forest fires.

I know this is all easier said than done.

Here in the Umpqua, all our players are local and invested. I will find a way for us to work together and find solutions that are fair and balanced between timber and conservation.

For generations, Timber has been backbone of our economy, and for decades has provided good, stable, living wage jobs. Timber will continue to be a large part of our economy. Unfortunate the reality is many of these jobs have been automated. We need to diversify our economy because we cannot depend on the previous predictable harvest receipts. We must make new choices for the future. We need to push forward with new innovative ideas.  Lets bring everyone to the table to make these decisions.

We need to work on thinning the forests, on logging to create evacuation zones and fire breaks. We should be shipping finished wood products, bookcases, beds, quality wood furniture. We need to develop forests that don’t burn fast and quick so that we can enjoy our forest every summer, so we aren’t evacuating hundreds of homes each year, so we aren’t watching our precious, natural resource burn. The solution lies in a unified, comprehensive process that has all stakeholders at the table with an equal voice.

Also rural communities are the best places to embrace clean energy. Job training and apprenticeship programs can be made available to our hardworking timber employees that have been forced out of the industry due to automation.  The clean energy jobs act has money set aside specifically for rural communities to invest. Lets use it. Lets reinvest in it in our own community. Lets focus on the jobs of the future and the overall health of our state.

The fact of the matter is, the legislature will be making decisions on timber tax, forest practices act, our fisheries. Lets ensure we have an effective representative who is not tied to any of the industries, isn’t taking PAC money from these special interests,  that will allow everyone to have a seat at the table and is willing to hear all sides, collaborate and do whats best for our area.

Jordon Cove Pipeline

It’s time to get big money and special interest groups out of our elections.  Interests like the Jordon Cove Energy pipeline- a Canadian company that is trying to build a 3’ natural gas pipeline right through our area.  I am against this pipeline.

The increase in the amount and severity of wildfires in Southern Oregon, coupled with the pressurized pipeline creates an increased danger if the pipeline is approved and built.  Just this month, there was an explosion on Prince George Pipeline. Imagine the impact if that occurred during wildfire season.

A future earthquake would pose a great threat if the pipeline is in place as well, decimating much of Southern Oregon.  Preparedness experts and scientists are warning Oregonians of a large earthquake. We should be preparing our own infrastructure for the earthquake, not building a pipeline through our area.

Private property accounts for around 40% of the pipelines proposed path and imposing eminent domain to take over that private property is not the right answer. The voters have already voiced their opinion on this, overwhelmingly voting to not allow eminent domain.  If I am going to represent the voters, I need to represent this opinion.

The promise of jobs is hollow. The short term jobs will require unskilled labor but the long term jobs which require higher skill labor will likely be filled by out of area folks who have those skills. Instead, we need to focus on legislation that encourages new industry, such as clean energ jobs, which will provide much needed middle class, living wage or union jobs that the LNG is promising without using eminent domain or creating unsafe conditions for our communities.

Campaign Finance Reform

I am also a proponent of campaign finance reform. Oregon is one of six states that has no restrictions on campaign donations; whether that be by individuals, the state parties, PACs, or corporations.

This must be addressed immediately. We must amend campaign finance to allow fair elections and ensure voters know their vote actually counts instead of fearing that corporations buy local elections.

How can one create fair, unbiased legislation when the majority of their campaign finance comes from corporate PACs? Are we really to believe that these groups don’t want anything in return?  Why spend the money here in our rural part of the state if there is nothing in it for them?

That is why I have chosen to fund my campaign with small donations by local people that support my campaign. They know that their donation is to help me win so I can represent everyone in the district, with no strings attached. Your ability to be heard by your elected officials should not be determined by the depth of your pockets.

As a state representative, I will serve to protect and defend the rights of all Americans; working in collaboration with one another to find common ground, and deliver results from the State Legislature back to Southern Oregon.