Thanksgiving week updates on climate action, the Census and winter shelters

House Speaker Tina Kotek

Thanksgiving week updates on climate action, the Census and winter shelters

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As we head into this cold Thanksgiving weekend, I hope you have warm plans with family and friends. I’m grateful for the privilege of representing my constituents and deeply thankful for the safety of my home and the support of loved ones. Thank you to our caregivers, social workers, and community volunteers who work tirelessly every day to support our neighbors.

And, if you’re like me, looking to reflect on how this holiday has a troubled history, this article might be of interest: How To Talk To Kids About Thanksgiving So They Really Get It

Here is the latest on some important topics being addressed inside and outside the Legislature.

Update on Climate Action

The 2019 session was historic. Many important bills that had been stalled for years finally made it through the Legislature. These include the Student Success Act ($1 billion per year in additional statewide PreK-12 funding), paid family and medical leave insurance, stabilized Medicaid funding, renter protections, diesel pollution regulations and much, much more.

The notable unfinished business from the session is meaningful legislation to improve Oregon’s ability to adapt to the climate crisis and do its part to further reduce carbon pollution. Since the session ended, Oregon has fallen behind other states – such as Colorado, New Mexico and New York – in establishing strong, science-based carbon reduction targets.

Rep. Karin Power (D-Milwaukie) and Rep. Pam Marsh (D-Ashland) are drafting a bill that builds off of previous climate legislation that passed the Oregon House in 2019 and provides stronger sustainable investments in local communities. Their concept includes necessary investments in wildfire response, clean water systems, working lands, family-wage jobs and protections for low-income Oregonians, Tribal communities and others impacted by climate disruption.  

There has been a lot of positive momentum on this issue over the last few weeks. I will continue working to find the best legislative solution to get Oregon to our science-based carbon reduction targets while also investing in our communities to adapt to a climate-impacted world.

The science is clear. Oregon must act quickly to curb carbon pollution and help local communities deal with the impacts of climate disruption. Denial is no longer an option and we have a responsibility to do more.

Highlights from November Legislative Days

House and Senate Committees met the week of November 18th. Here are a few snippets from the week:

  • The Office of Economic Analysis briefed the Revenue committees on another strong economic forecast. I’m pleased that prudent financial decisions have resulted in this positive news and put Oregon on track to maintain historic reserves. The Legislature must be careful to maintain these savings to prepare for tougher economic times. If we make any additional investments next year based on these reserves, they must be urgent priorities.
  • The Governor’s Wildfire Council gave a number of briefings after releasing their recommendations on addressing this growing health and economic risk to our state.
  • The House Committee on Natural Resources heard testimony on the killing of a bobcat that entered a Eugene school and died of blunt force trauma.

The Census Is Coming!

Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau launched a national recruitment effort to hire approximately 500,000 temporary workers to help conduct the 2020 Census. The census is the constitutionally mandated count of every individual residing in the United States regardless of age, race, ethnicity or immigration status.

Census offices in Portland, Salem and Eugene are now open, and this link has more information on pay ranges by county if you are interested in applying to be a census taker, recruiting assistant, office clerk or supervisory staff for when the Census gets underway this coming March.

Getting an accurate population count is essential to the democratic process. For Oregon, the 2020 Census will be an opportunity to ensure that we receive the federal dollars to fund vital community programs, as well as the appropriate representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Census provides critical resources our communities need like housing, education, transportation, health care and more.

Do your part, commit to be counted and learn more about the 2020 Census by visiting

Winter Shelters and Helping Your Neighbors

As we plunge deeper into cold weather season, people experiencing homelessness are especially at risk. In the Portland area, people can call 211 to check on homeless services and shelter availability during cold weather emergencies.

The Oregonian recently had a helpful article on this important issue, which also highlighted a shelter in North Portland for homeless veterans. The nonprofit Do Good Multnomah is running the shelter out of Portsmouth Union Church. They’ve already been busy. Thank you Do Good and Portsmouth Union!

Metro-area officials are also calling for community volunteers to get trained now to work emergency shelters when temperatures and snow drops. The training is about 90 minutes and is offered a few times a month. People who want to volunteer can sign up at

Session Town Hall

Lastly, we’ll be having another town hall in late January, prior to the start of the 2020 Legislative Session. Please keep an eye out for details!

Thank you for reading!




Tina Kotek

State Representative
House District 44
Speaker of the House

email: I phone: 503-986-1200
address: 900 Court St NE, H-269, Salem, OR 97301