We Need Practical Solutions
Small Businesses Provide More Than Half the Jobs in the Mid-Willamette Valley
This fact has become more apparent than ever because of the COVID-19 shutdowns. Our legislature’s #1 priority right now needs to be creating an environment for working families and small businesses can get back to work.
With so many jobs at stake in our state and region from small businesses, we need to encourage these businesses to thrive and grow. We need these businesses if Oregon wants vibrant, healthy communities.
Being Third Worst in Graduation Rates is not Acceptable
With schools being closed for the foreseeable future, many parents and kids are struggling with how to deal with online learning, childcare, and holding down a job with their kids not in school. This, on top of the fact that Oregon ranks near the bottom in graduation rates and teen suicide and mental health, schooling is becoming an even larger challenge than before.
Why can’t Oregon be best in the nation in graduation rates rather than near the last? For too many years, our political system has failed our kids. One step in the right direction is vocational education. These programs are perfect for kids who are eager to learn a skill or trade and head towards a career. Students are eager to learn, attentive, and excited. These students graduate at a much higher percentage than students who do not take any vocational classes. These kids like school!
We Must Do Better at Treating and Managing Mental Health Issues
The numbers of homeless people with mental health issues are at an all-time high in Oregon. Our prisons are filled with inmates who have serious mental health issues. There isn’t a broad strategy to help these people. Our system has failed those it aims to serve. We must find new strategies and solutions to get people the help they need when they need it.
New Strategies for Affordable Housing
In the Salem area, there is less than a 2% vacancy rate for rental housing. Rental rates are climbing faster than people’s paychecks. Families with children are winding up homeless. We need a more coordinated effort to connect the private and public sectors to create new solutions for affordable housing options. We cannot have more people living a life of poverty and facing limited options with no hope.