Session Update

Hello Friends and Neighbors,

It is hard to believe we are two and a half weeks into the Session! It has been busy in Salem. Constituents, stakeholders, and legislators are busy with committee work around the budget and policy ideas in many areas from health coverage to audits and government effectiveness.


W.L. Henry Hearing: On Monday 02/06, the Education Committee heard testimony from the parents of students from W.L. Henry Elementary School. Parents from multiple families gave their personal account of how lack of busing affects their lives and children’s success. I have been working on this issue with the school for over a year, and am so proud of the courage they demonstrated.

Parents and students from W. L. Henry Elementary School following the hearing.

Another Judge for Washington County: On Tuesday 2/14, I spoke on behalf of House Bill 2605 to add two new judicial positions to District 29. Currently, Washington County consists of only 14 judges and has the highest citizen to judge ratio in the state - 1 to 41,000. This insufficient amount is unable to handle the workload in our growing county, which is why I support House Bill 2605 to promote a functioning and efficient court system.

Sibling Bill of Rights: As a teacher, I have encountered many foster children who needed a stable family. Having a connection with their brother or sister is what helped these children feel safe and supported. I testified in support of the Sibling Bill of Rights (HB 2216) to establish a structure to help these siblings maintain a relationship. I believe our foster system should provide a family with a proactive, individualized plan that works for a foster child and their sibling(s). It will ensure stability for these children and helps them flourish in our community.

Remonstrance on Public Education: On Thursday I addressed my colleagues about the importance of funding and supporting public education. I left the classroom to ensure that Oregon students would have the opportunity to thrive. In the face of this budget crisis, this message is more important than ever. You can listen to my remarks by clicking the picture below.

Click the image to hear my remarks or go to this link:

Affordable Housing Bills

Finding affordable housing has been an increasing problem in Washington County, and across the state. Listed below are a few affordable housing bills I am co-sponsoring:

HB 2852 - Will extend sunset for tax credit for affordable housing lenders.This program has increased Oregonian’s access to affordable homes. By extending the tax credit, we are increasing the number of people that have access to stable housing.

HB 2003 - Will remove the preemption on rent stabilization. This bill will give localities more power to handle this housing crisis. It allow cities to have another tool to stabilize rents. I believe that local communities need to discuss these matters individually and craft unique solutions for their region.

HB 2004 - Will stop landlords from imposing no-cause evictions on month-to month- tenants except under certain circumstances with 90 days' written notice and relocation assistance fees. No cause evictions hit families hard. Saving up for a down payment, for first month's rent, for last month's rent, and for moving costs takes much longer than 30 days. No cause evictions create instability in the lives of families and children, and we must ensure that we are protecting our most vulnerable.

HB 2210 - This bill directs Housing and Community Services Department to create and implement a Retaining Affordable Rental Housing Program to provide grants to owners of multifamily rental housing to revise and maintain housing at affordable rental rates. Should this bill pass, it would create stability for families and people with lower incomes. Maintaining existing units keeps costs down for all involved, and has a lower environmental impact.

Spotlight on....

House Bill 2382: Early in the Session I met with students involved with Future Farmers of America (FFA). They were at the Capitol to testify in favor of one of my sponsored bills in the House Education (K-12) Committee. That bill would establish a grant program within the Department of Education to support public school agricultural programs. These programs help students plan for their future and learn valuable leadership skills. 


Police Profiling (HB 2355): Directs the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to record data on officer-initiated pedestrian and traffic stops to identify potential problem areas and address them in collaboration with state and local entities. This bill also addresses Oregon’s drug sentencing laws. Current statute imposes felony sentences for low-level drug possession, and it has unfairly impacted our communities of color. These felony convictions affect an individual's pursuit of finding housing, jobs and other opportunities. The proposed legislation comes from an 18 month task force commissioned by the 2015 House Bill 2002, which I was proud to sponsor. HB 2355 also reduces the crime classification of unlawful possession of controlled substances.

Measure 98: Voters made their voices heard on November 8th, they want expanded Career and Technological Education (CTE), increase graduation rates, and increase science, technological, engineering, and mathematics education. These goals are fabulous, and they are a basic charge of the school system. Once the measure passed, the Department of Education began the rulemaking process. That process revealed that the mechanism to achieve Measure 98’s goals needs some work.


Energy Trust of Oregon: I am supportive of the renewable energy services Energy Trust provides for the residences, businesses, and schools in my district. I would like to highlight the amazing work they did for the Hillsboro Public Library (Shute Park). Before Energy Source assisted them, they had an outdated and inefficient heating system. After revisions, the Shute Park Library was able to decrease 45,000kWh of electricity usage, which is about $17,000 in savings! The folks at Energy Trust provided me a list of resources for energy assistance, that I can refer my constituents to; please contact my staff to inquire about the programs.

Department of Environmental Quality: The passing of SB 245 in the 2015 session restored the Department of Environmental Quality’s Materials Management Program. This program has provided Meals On Wheels and Rock Creek Pantry grants to help them serve our communities in Washington County. I thank the DEQ for their assistance to our district.


Honorary Page Program: The Honorary Page program has been part of the House history for well over fifty years. Welcoming students from all corners of Oregon, the page program provides students, ages 12 to 18, an up-close and personal view of the legislative process. While here, pages are officially sworn in by the Sergeant at-Arms, perform duties on the floor of the House, run errands for the Chief Clerk’s office, get a personalized tour of the capitol, observe a committee meeting and more. I would happily sponsor any student interested in learning more about the legislative process. View more information and details on the Program here.

My February coffee was on the 11th at the Cornelius Library. Thank you to Jayne Crews for sharing this picture.

Around the District

Constituent Coffee: Last Saturday I met with constituents to discuss transportation and education issues that will dominate this Legislative Session. I am so thankful for their time and perspective. We discussed school nurses, pupil transportation, virtual education, and many more interesting educational topics. I was also able to provide an update on the Joint Transportation Committee. We have broken into four workgroups: Traffic Congestion and Freight Mobility (I am serving on this workgroup), Highway/Road Preservation, Maintenance and Seismic Upgrade, Multimodal Freight (aviation, ports, marine and rail), and Public Transportation and Public Safety. The workgroups are meeting twice a week and will report back to the full committee in early March.

Here I speaking at the Family Promise fundraiser.

Family Promise Fundraiser: Family Promise hosts families overnight in churches and offer counseling services and referrals. They make a difference in the lives of homeless families. Volunteers at their Day House help families have a sense of community. On the 10th I attended their Fundraiser and spoke briefly to encourage attendees to donate, and involve others in the organization to help Family Promise reach their goals.



Hillsboro’s New City Councilor: On  February 7th, the Hillsboro city council unanimously voted to appoint Olivia Alcaire as the new representative of Ward 3. Over the last two years, Hillsboro’s three female council members, Olga Acuña, Megan Craze, and Aron Carleson, had either ended their terms or stepped down, leaving an all-male city government. Councilor Alcaire is an employee at Portland Community College’s Rock Creek campus. She holds a master’s degree from Portland State and Oregon State Universities. She is an active board member for Bienestar of Oregon and CREATE Alternative School in Cornelius. Assuming office on February 21st, she plans to focus on education and environmental initiatives. Congratulations Olivia Alcaire!

Providing Needed Housing:

Cornelius approved a new development called “Laurel Woods” that will add over 1,000 new homes to the city, the largest development in city history. Laurel Woods will be built in 11 phases over the next 5 to 7 years. It will include townhouses, duplexes, lots for single family homes, and a large park with a soccer field. You can read more about the development here.   

Forest Grove will also see new homes. The City’s Planning Commission held a worksession on the “Westside Planning Project”. This project could bring 2,054 new housing units to Forest Grove over the next 35 years. Read the Forest Grove News Times detailed article for more information.

Meet the team!

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I believe high-quality work starts with a solid team. My successes are made through a collaborative effort, and I would not be able to do it all without the help of my staff and interns!


Nicole Stoenner: from Salem, is my Chief of Staff. She manages all legislative matters in the office, organizes outreach events, and is my go-to for issue areas related to education, government audits, budget issues, and housing. Nicole has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Anthropology from the University of Oregon. She was previously a coordinator for the Oregon Women’s Campaign School. She has been a valued part of my team since January 2016.

Sofia Doble: from Fremont, CA, is my Legislative Assistant. She will staff my front office in the Capitol. She is responsible for scheduling, email correspondence, and my point person for issue-areas related to transportation, consumer protection, and agriculture and natural resources. Sofia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science-Public Service, from the University of California—Davis. Prior to her joining the team, she was a Legislative Intern for Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-Marin County) in California.

We would also like to welcome our interns to the office! They will be responsible for policy research, assist in communications, shadow meetings, attend briefings, and other administrative duties. Our goal is to make sure Ivy and Elizabeth have a thorough understanding of the legislative process and to gain real work experience for future endeavors.

Ivy Major-McDowall: raised in Beaverton, is a legislative intern for team McLain. She is a Junior at Willamette University, double majoring in Political and History. Fun Fact: her family has been in here in Oregon for three generations.

Elizabeth Barrientos: from Honolulu, HI, is also a legislative intern for team McLain. She is a Sophomore at Willamette University where she is double majoring in Politics and Civic Communication & Media. Fun Fact: she danced traditional hula for 5 years!

Upcoming Events

TOMORROW - End Profiling Listening Session: The Attorney General, Unite Oregon, and myself are hosting a listening session on profiling. The event was scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr Day, but was postponed due to the weather. It will now take place on Tuesday, February 21st, from 6:00 - 8:00 PM at the Brookwood Library in Hillsboro. We are coming together to listen to the public, and hear their experiences and solutions. This is an issue I am deeply involved with this Legislative Session. I hope you are able to join the discussion!

Budget Listening Post: Hundreds of people packed the Ways & Means Roadshow stop in Portland. More than 150 people signed up to testify before the Committee, and only half those people were able to speak. The full Ways and Means Committee cannot host another Portland-Metro due to time constraints, but that doesn’t mean your voice will not be heard! Seven Representatives from Washington County have decided to host our own Budget Listening Post to hear from the public. We will videotape the event and enter it into the record for the Ways and Means Committee. Please come to Beaverton High School on Thursday, March 9th, at 7:00 PM to share your concerns and priorities for our state in the face of the $1.8 Billion deficit.

Constituent Meeting: Please join me Saturday, March 11th at 10:30 AM at the Shute Library in Hillsboro! I would like to hear your thoughts on senior services and healthcare in Oregon.

Save the date! My April constituent meeting will take place on 4/8 at 1:30 PM at the Forest Grove Library! We will discuss equity in education and racial justice.

Oregon State Capitol

It has been a busy start to the Session! I am looking forward to continuing work with my colleagues to find solutions that work for Oregon. Your input and experiences are always welcome, I hope to hear from you!

Yours Truly,


Representative Susan McLain

email: I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301