August 2017 Newsletter

Susan Mclain

Hello friends and neighbors,

Although the Legislature has adjourned, I have been busy! I have enjoyed meeting with constituents, local leaders, and others. The County Fair was great and family time has been fun! It is nice to have more time to be home and in the community!

If you would like me to speak to you or a group you are a part of, please let me know! I am happy to discuss the 2017 Legislative Session and other community priorities. Please reach out to my office with any dates and times - (503) 986-1429 or email me at

It was great to see the new Teen Center at the Inukai Family Boys & Girls Club! Please send them your tenn books.

Around the District

Since returning from Salem, I have met with Hillsboro, Cornelius, and Forest Grove local government leaders. I have also toured some non-profits and new community spaces. I saw Bag&Baggage’s new space and heard their plans for the $50,000 state grant for innovative theater technology. I met with staff from Centro de Prosperidad and saw their new space. They are Centro Cultural de Washington County's newest project to empower individuals to realize their economic potential by bridging and enhancing employment services.


My July Constituent Coffee was great! I heard from our community on their education priorities, and their thoughts on the 2017 Legislative Session. A reporter from the Forest Grove News Times was there, you can read their thoughts on the coffee at this link:

The Washington County Citizen Action Network (WC CAN) invited me to speak at their last meeting. We discussed environmental issues and the success of the transportation package. WC CAN is a coalition of grassroots advocates (individuals and groups) dedicated to improving quality of life in Washington County by promoting healthy and sustainable communities, social and economic justice, and open and responsive government.

I presented in front of the Cornelius City Council on August 7th to debrief the councilors on the 2017 Legislative Session. I would be happy to give this presentation in front of any group, please reach out!



I attended the Washington County Fair and spoke to many fair-goers on their health care priorities. I enjoy attending the fair every year!


Senator Ron Wyden held a town hall in Cornelius last week. I had the opportunity to ask Senator Wyden a question about federal investment in infrastructure and affordable housing, and I believe that this is a priority for him as well.


The Hillsboro Chamber hosted a debrief from the Session last week. Myself, Rep. Janeen Sollman, Rep. Ron Noble, and Sen. Betsey Johnson shared our takeaways from the Session, and answered audience questions. Many businesses identified transportation as their top priority, and they were pleased with the outcome of the package. The Chamber also had questions surrounding cradle to career policies, the provider tax, and other important legislation. It was great to catch up with the Chamber and connect with business owners!

Spotlight on...

Total Solar Eclipse - On August 21st, 2017 the Sun, Moon, and Earth will directly lineup casting a shadow across the United States. Many of our fellow Oregonians will flock to various areas around the Salem, Newport, and Lincoln City. A complete solar eclipse has not been seen in the United States since 1979. There will be a free Viewing event at Shute Park presented by the Hillsboro Shute Park library the day of the eclipse, August 21st, from 9:00-11:00. There will be fun eclipse related activities, subject experts, as well as special viewing glasses.

Go outside! On August 21st, between 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Oregon will be in the direct viewing path of the Great American Eclipse. This will be the first viewable total eclipse since 1979. Safety glasses will be required to view this rare event and can be purchased at a number of local locations such as Fred Meyer, Bi-Mart, or Walmart.

Stay safe! Be prepared. Even though this event is still some time away, it is a good idea to start planning now. Oregon is expecting thousands of tourists to our beautiful state, so please allow yourself plenty of time for travel.

This event should be educational and enjoyable. Be safe and have fun.



We are facing one of the worst fire seasons this region has seen in recent years. We have one of the longest rain-free streaks in recorded history and record heat. Fires in British Columbia created unhealthy air quality throughout Oregon, with especially unhealthy air in the Portland Metro region. I met with Dave Nemeyer, Forest Grove’s Fire Marshall, to discuss fire safety. All burning is banned in Washington County at this time due to elevated fire danger. Fire departments across the state are also worried about the fire danger the eclipse might bring. To those camping, be sure to refrain from using candles, fireworks, tiki torches, or any other open flames. The Oregon Department of Forestry created the map below to demonstrate the fire risk. Please share this information with your friends, coworkers, and neighbors to prevent forest fires.


Federal Agriculture and Natural Resources Legislation - As the Co-Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, I keep up on federal action that will have a statewide impact. The federal government is looking to increase funding for the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program which provides education, outreach, and professional development opportunities for farmers, agriculture cooperative extension agents, not-for-profit institutions, and the private sector. Oregon has a blossoming hemp industry and the Federal government might prohibit itself from interfering with hemp research projects or with legally produced hemp products. Industrial hemp is used to make everything from rope and cloth to oil and soap, and is responsible for over $600 million of annual sales nationally. The bill that contains these changes was unanimously approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and is expected to make it to the Senate Floor for a vote.

Forest Grove Division Chief and Fire Marshal, David Nemeyer, and myself

Digesting the 2017 Legislative Session

Bipartisanship - Often times members of the Legislature are perceived at odds based on their political parties. While there are certainly moments that are partisan, the Legislative work is not. I serve on five committees and regularly work across the aisle. Many of my colleagues try to ensure they’ve talked to members of a different political party. It’s not uncommon to see legislation with sponsors from both parties. Additional, most of our floor votes are nonpartisan or bipartisan.


Pay Equity (HB 2005) received some amendments in the Senate that strengthened the bill and allowed it to garnish more bipartisan support. The -31 amendments were adopted in the Senate and expanded the protected classes identified in the bill. This is an incredibly important issue for our state. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, women in Oregon are paid 82 cents for every dollar that men are paid, amounting to an annual wage gap of around $8,393 per worker. That disparity is even bigger for women of color. African American women are paid 70 cents; Latinas 51 cents; and Asian women 75 cents compared to every dollar paid to white men. I am proud that HB 2005 as amended passed without opposition.  

Fair Work Week Act (SB 828) was another bipartisan effort this Session. It addressed the impact that unpredictable scheduling practices have on workers’ lives. Far too many workers have schedules that give them little control over their lives, make childcare arrangements difficult or impossible, and give them no certainty what their hours or paychecks will be from week to week. The bill was the result of negotiations between business and labor groups to find a balanced compromise that takes the needs of both employee and employer into account. It passed the House 46-13, passed the Senate 23-6, and the Governor signed the legislation into law. This new law will apply to employers who have 500+ employees worldwide and are in food service, hospitality, or retail; it does not apply to separately-owned franchises.

Legislative Work

We are now in the interim, the time between legislative sessions. During this time, my staff and I research policy proposals and have the opportunity to connect more with the district. The next session is a short session, meaning I can introduce only two bills. I have narrowed down my list of concepts to three and I will continue to research and review them during the summer and fall to decide which two I will bring forward in the 2018 Legislative Session.

During the interim, I am also able to track the rulemaking process for the bills that are becoming laws. Once a bill passes and is signed by the Governor, it is a state statute. Those statutes add to rules when they go through the rulemaking process. The rules are used by state agencies to govern, and it is an agency's responsibility to write the rules. As a legislator, it’s part of my job to ensure that legislative intent is followed through the rulemaking process. After the 2016 Session, I submitted comments on draft rules to the Teacher Standards and Practice Commission rules on dyslexia training for teachers. This time around, the main issue I am following has to do with Safe Routes to Schools and how those grants will be distributed. I will track how House Bill 2017, the transportation package, is written into rules and ensure that the rulemaking is true to the legislative intent.

Scott Palmer, Bag&Baggage's Artistic Director, showed me their new space!

The Autonomous Vehicle Workgroup has met six times since we were established in May. The Governor’s Office has become more involved in the last few meetings and we have honed in on the testing of autonomous vehicles. There will be updates coming in the next few months - stay tuned!

One of my bills from the last Session, HB 2721, did not pass the Senate. That bill would have directed the Department of Education to study certain aspects of virtual education in Oregon. The Secretary of State’s Office is conducting an audit on alternative education in Oregon, and I spoke with the auditor. That audit will have some components of the study in HB 2721, but not all. I spoke with the Chief Education Office and they will conduct their own study on alternative education, building on the work of the audit. I met with staff from the Chief Education Office and that study will encompass other components of the study. The results of the audit and study will guide my next step. I committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of where they attend school, are supported and celebrated in our system.

Shoutouts and Important Information

Ivan Hernandez is a first-generation college student. When he was 11 years of age, he was brought to the Unites States to study. From 6th Grade all the way to his senior year in high school, Ivan was always very involved in all sorts of activities and student leadership. After he graduated from Hillsboro High School, he attended Mount Hood Community College and Portland Community College. His instructors encouraged him to get involved in student leadership. He’s been involved with their Career Center, has advocated at the Women's Resource Center and was Student Body President for the Rock Creek Campus last year.  It was during his role of president when he became interested in policy. Upon completing his Associate Degree in spring 2018, he will transfer to Pacific University to study Political Science and Communications. Also at Pacific, he plans to obtain his MBA and Doctoral degree in Leadership and Education.

Ivan has been an asset to my office. He is leading our Latino Business Outreach project and, as someone who is bilingual, he has conducted all of the canvassing himself. You may remember my small business outreach last summer, where I collected survey responses and shared state resources for small business. I was able to share resources with over 100 small businesses in our community, but I was not able to reach Spanish speaking business owners.  I wanted to expand that project to ensure I reach all businesses in the community and that all folks know what resources are available to them. I am grateful for Ivan’s work on this project!


Tyler Hartman was my other intern this summer. He started with us in early June and completes his internship this month. Tyler has been very helpful in my office and goes above and beyond to make sure we are serving the community. He has helped with outreach, office operations, and ran a project of his own. Tyler was our point-person with eclipse safety information. He made sure the community was educated about the public health risks by creating and distributing fliers across the community, and our “eclipse checklist” was created by him. Thank you, Tyler, for your hard work!

2018 Milken Educator Award Panel - The Milken Educator Awards is the longest-running teacher recognition program of its kind in the nation and alternates yearly between elementary and secondary educators. I was honored to serve on a panel of disguised educators and leaders in education policy in the State to determine Oregon’s Blue Ribbon Award winner. They join a class of outstanding teachers from across the Nation and receive a $25,000 award for their superb educational skills.


I flew to Orlando to attend National Federation of State High School Association’s 2017 Policy Debate Topic Selection Meeting for High School Speech and Debate. It was an honor to serve on the Wording Committee that decides what topics will be debated for an entire year. I taught Speech and Debate at Glencoe High School for decades, and I still volunteer to support the team. This wonderful activity helps youth develop critical thinking, public speaking, research, and other vital skills.

The Oregon Health Authority has been in the news a few times in the recent months. The first issue is around Medicaid enrollment, and concerns that not everyone enrolled is eligible. It was in key legislative committees (House Health Care and the Joint Subcommittee on Human Services) where recent issues with OHA were first made public. Legislators from both chambers have been working with OHA to clean up their eligibility process and to ensure that our tax dollars are being spent wisely. The Medicaid lists are being checked, and more people are correctly enrolled that we initially thought.

The second issue is around the effort by OHA to plant negative media stories about a nonprofit who works with OHA. Lynn Saxton, the Director, has since stepped down. I'm glad to see that Gov. Brown is holding the agency accountable and making tough decisions in the wake of this news.

Upcoming Events

August Listening Post - Rep. Sollman and I are combining our weekly constituent events this month! We want to hear from our community on the issues that should be on our radar. I hope to see you Tuesday, August 30th at 6 PM at the Hillsboro Civic Center. Feel free to use the above graphic to share the event with your neighbors and friends!

Save the Date! My September constituent gathering will focus on education. It will take place on Saturday, September 23rd from 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM at the McMenamin's Grand Lodge in Forest Grove.

Invite me to your events! I am always interested in connecting with different parts of our community. If you know of an upcoming event you think I should attend, please let me know!


Yours Truly,


Representative Susan McLain

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