What's coming up in 2016

House Speaker Tina Kotek

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope your new year is off to a good start.  We are hard at work preparing for this year’s session, which starts on February 1st.  From raising the minimum wage to addressing the state’s housing crisis, we have a lot on our plate.  Please read on to learn more about these topics, upcoming opportunities to meet the state’s small business advocate, and recent staff changes in my office. 

Share Your Thoughts at Upcoming Town Hall

Representative Lew Frederick and I will be hosting a pre-session town hall on January 28th.  We hope you can join us to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns about the issues facing our community and our state.

Pre-Session Town Hall with Speaker Tina Kotek and Rep. Lew Frederick

Thursday, January 28, 2016

7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Charles Jordan Community Center

9009 North Foss Avenue, Portland

Momentum Builds to Raise Oregon's Minimum Wage

This week Governor Kate Brown released a proposal to raise Oregon’s minimum wage in an effort to forge a middle ground between the needs of low-wage workers and business concerns.

While I would like to see us getting to a higher minimum wage faster, I will support her proposal because I believe it provides the legislature with an opportunity to guarantee a much-needed raise for thousands of Oregonians by taking action on this important issue in our 2016 legislative session.

Her plan would raise the state’s minimum wage, outside of Portland, to $13.50 over the next six years.  Within the Portland Metro urban growth boundary, the minimum wage would be 15 percent higher (to reflect the stronger economy and higher cost of living) and would reach $15.52 by 2022.  I am also pushing for a $10 million increase in the state’s Earned Income Credit to provide additional tax relief for low-wage workers because the phase in will take six years.

You can read the release of the Governor’s proposal here, and my response here.

For me, the bottom line is that Oregon should be a state where if you work full-time, you shouldn’t live in poverty.

Community Calls for Legislature to Address Housing Crisis

More than 300 people recently crowded into an affordable housing forum in East Portland that made one thing very clear:  the housing crisis facing our state is a man-made emergency that demands urgent action.

I joined a panel of 15 legislators to hear people’s stories and concerns.  It’s clear that the desperation, hopelessness, and fear we heard cannot go unaddressed.  We won't resolve this situation overnight, but we must take bold steps this year to make progress.

Housing Forum


If you weren’t able to make it but are curious to learn a bit more, you can check out the coverage from KGW (“Lawmakers Address the Housing Crisis”), KOIN (“People are Terrified of Being Evicted”), or the Portland Mercury (“As Tenants Plead, Lawmakers Are Pledging Housing Help This Year”).

I will be working with Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer and others to pass legislation to address the housing crisis in the upcoming session.  We know there is no quick and easy way to solve our housing problem, but we need to get started.  We need a short-term plan to address immediate needs, particularly for renters.  We need to put more affordable supply in the pipeline.  We need stronger public-private partnerships. 

We need to put everything on the table for discussion because this is a crisis, and we all have a stake in the outcome. We must come together as a state to solve it.

Oregon's Small Business Advocate Coming to St. Johns

Oregon’s Small Business Advocate, Ruth Miles, will present at next Wednesday’s (January 20) St. Johns Boosters breakfast meeting to describe the resources her office can provide to small businesses and unveil small business data and trends she observed in 2015.  The St. Johns Boosters invite you to attend this meeting beginning at 7:15 a.m. at John Street Cafe, 8338 N Lombard.

In addition to this opportunity to visit with small businesses in the district, she will be speaking as part of an IRS-hosted webinar on state resources for small businesses on January 26th.  If you’re interested, email KayDel.Marshall@irs.gov to register.  

Staff Changes: Meet AmyBeth Stevens

Andee Short, who has been a fantastic District Director for House District 44 for more than two years, has started a new role in the Speaker’s Office as Deputy Legislative Director.  Andee will continue to work on important issues like affordable housing and racial profiling, while also taking on early childhood education and more administrative duties related to duties of the Speaker.  Her predecessor, Dorothy Waller Spence, is now leading early childhood efforts at the Northwest Educational Service District, which is great news for the children and families of northwest Oregon.

My new legislative assistant and main point-of-contact for constituent issues is AmyBeth Stevens. AmyBeth graduated from Portland Community College in 2013, where she served as the Director of Legislative Affairs for the Associated Students of Portland Community College at the Cascade campus for two years.  During that time, she led the campus voter registration drive, which registered over 1,400 students to vote.  After attending PCC, she transferred to the University of Washington where she majored in Political Science and Scandinavian Area Studies.  AmyBeth lives in the Kenton Neighborhood and enjoys her close proximity to parks, restaurants, shops, and public transportation.

If you'd like to set up a constituent meeting in the district during the upcoming session, please email rep.tinakotek@state.or.us or call 503-986-1444 and AmyBeth will work to set up an appointment.

Best,

Tina

Tina Kotek

State Representative
House District 44
Speaker of the House

email: Rep. Rep.TinaKotek@state.or.us I phone: 503-986-1200
address: 900 Court St NE, H-269, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/kotek