Representative Deborah Boone E-Update


Representative Deborah Boone
D-Cannon Beach, District 32

Phone: 503-986-1432 900 Court St. NE, H-375 Salem Oregon 97301
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The 77th Legislative Assembly is now about half-way through the 2013 session, and work continues many important pieces of legislation.

As policy makers who are looking to the future we realize that a strong educational system is the cornerstone of an enduring robust economy.   I agree with Governor Kitzhaber’s educational initiative that would provide important investment in students and teachers to increase the levels of educational attainment and employability for Oregonians. This year’s incoming kindergarten students will be the Class of 2025, and by that year Oregon’s goal is a 100 percent graduation rate, reaching a 40-40-20 vision, where 40 percent of adult Oregonians have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher; 40 percent have earned an associate’s degree or post-secondary credential; and 20 percent or less have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent. 

 The Governor’s educational initiative called “Connecting to the World of Work” prioritizes educational goals to meet the needs of the global economy.   Available jobs in Oregon require an increasing amount of skill and training in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math these are commonly called “STEM” jobs, and currently there are 1.7 STEM jobs for every unemployed Oregonian, and 4.3 unemployed people vying for every non-STEM job.  At the same time, fewer than 10 percent of college degrees are awarded in Oregon are in STEM fields.   Clearly, we have to better align our educational offerings with the types of high paying jobs that will be available in the future.   The Oregon Department of Education seeks to develop a regional STEM network including schools, businesses, community and nonprofit organizations to centralize and expand existing regional work around STEM and Career and Technical Education partnerships.  In connection with a STEM advisory council, the Oregon Arts commission will work to increase opportunities to engage and connect with arts-related industries.   It truly is a new way to look at education, but I believe it has tremendous potential to better meet the changing needs of our students and the Oregon economy as we move into the future.

On Thursday I was pleased to attend Governor Kitzhaber’s ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 1, a bill I co-sponsored to honor veterans for their service and requires employers to provide veterans paid or unpaid time off for Veteran’s Day.  This is just one small way we can honor those who served our country through military service. As a member of the House Veterans Services and Emergency Preparedness Committee, I’m supporting an effort to provide some lottery dollars to provide stable funding for Veterans’ Services.

Another issue that brought lots of people to Salem this week was Friday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the proposed legislation regarding gun control.  I support the 2nd Amendment, and the rights of law abiding citizens to bear arms.  Many of my constituents have weighed in on this issue, and point out that in the rural areas of House District 32, hunting and safe, lawful gun use is part of our culture.   While I am saddened and dismayed by the various incidents of gun violence, I am concerned that if we introduce reactionary legislation, however well-intentioned, there can be serious unintended consequences.  Investigations into these shooting tragedies so often reveal that the individuals who commit these terrible crimes suffer from mental illness.  I have always been a strong advocate for better mental health care services and will continue to support more effort in this area. 

During the Legislative session, work keeps me busy in Salem, and it is easiest to weigh in on issues by contacting my office.  If you have a concern or comment regarding legislation under consideration, or if you’ve encountered a problem with a state agency, you can also write, phone or email my office, or when you’re in Salem, stop by my office in the Capitol.   However, I know it is not always convenient to travel to the Capitol to express your opinions, that’s why
Senator Betsy Johnson, and I will be taking the opportunity this month to hold town hall sessions in the district so we can meet with constituents and provide a current legislative update.    There are many important issues to discuss, and we welcome your input.   Please mark your calendar for Sunday April 28th when we are holding four hour-long town hall meetings in the district.  The proposed schedule has us starting in Astoria at 10:30am, followed by meetings in Gearhart at 1:00pm, Garibaldi at 3:30, and finally Banks at 6:30pm.    We’ll supply specific locations as we firm up plans in the coming weeks.