Senator Kayse Jama’s Legislative Newsletter 02/27/21

Senator Jama

February E-Newsletter

Hi Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you all are safe and warm during the current winter storm and subsequent power outages. Please check the highlights section for available resources.

My first month in office has been busy. I hired staff, set up my legislative office and am diving into policy work. This is a session with unique challenges, but I believe we are off to a strong start. Even though this is my first legislative session, I have committed from day one to diligently represent the needs of all of the residents of Senate District 24 in Salem.

During this session, I was assigned to three committees: Senate Committee On Housing and Development (Chair), Senate Committee On Labor and Business, and Joint Committee On Ways and Means Subcommittee On Transportation and Economic Development.

In addition to many committee meetings, I have enjoyed Zooming* with community members and organizations this past month. While I wish we could be together in person, I am grateful to hear the stories of my community members and learn about the policies they care about most. I am grateful that I can support their efforts - it is definitely a highlight of my experience in the Legislature thus far. 


LC 3513 - Creates an Office of Immigrant and Refugee Advancement that through focused capacity, allows Oregon to develop a robust plan for immigrant and refugee integration and democratic inclusion. This office will oversee a set of statewide immigrant and refugee programs and services that closely coordinate immediate needs with long-term support for families. This bill would also require the office to disaggregate data and track progress on a granular level, reducing social, economic and health disparities for these populations. This bill will receive a bill number after I introduce it this week.

HB 3112 (Cannabis Equity Act) - Provides an opportunity for Oregon to pass the most comprehensive, holistic approach to cannabis equity in the United States by focusing on widespread reinvestment in the communities that have been hurt most by racial profiling and the War on Drugs – Black, Indigenous and Latina/o/x communities. Passage of the Oregon Cannabis Equity Act would direct cannabis tax dollars and other relevant funds into repairing the damages done to Black and brown communities by providing business opportunities and support and meeting housing, education, and health care needs.

SB 79 - Addresses Racial Disparities in Home Ownership by expanding the use of the Homeownership Assistance Program (HOAP) to support new strategies identified by the Joint Task Force on Addressing Racial Disparities in Homeownership. 

HB 2002 - Addresses the devastating impacts of the criminal justice system on communities of color by reforming mandatory sentencing, implementing more equitable responses to crime, and reinvesting in culturally specific services.

HB 2503Expands eligibility for certain child care subsidy programs.



The Oregon Department of Human Services is able to replace food purchased with SNAP benefits if there was a loss of food due to the recent power outages.

Food may be replaced for SNAP recipients who:

  • Lost food due to a power outage, home damage or other misfortune
  • Make a request to replace the food loss within 10 days of the date the food is destroyed in a household misfortune.

SNAP households that lost or tossed food that was unsafe to eat, can request SNAP replacement benefits - but they need to do so within 10 days of the loss.

For example: If your food was damaged February 13, February 23 would be considered the 10th day.

Replacement benefits are not automatic. The amount of replacement benefits each SNAP household will receive is based on the value of the food that was destroyed. Click here for more information is available online.

The flier above is available in Cambodian, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.


Power Outage Tips:

  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed
  • Food safety
  • Disconnect appliances and electronics
  • Don't use an oven or stovetop to heat your home
  • Don't use generator, propane heaters or campstoves indoors

Warming Shelter Resources:

Report Power Outages:

  • PGE: 800-544-1795
  • Pacific Power: 1-877-508-5088
  • Hood River Electric: 541-354-1233
  • Salem Electric: 503-362-3601
  • West Oregon Electric: 503-429-3021

Sign up for Public Alerts: click here to learn more


Seniors age 75+ years old are now eligible to receive their vaccine. Following will be 70+ (2/22) and 65+ (3/1).

Check out or contact 211 via phone call 211 or email for more information about eligibility as well as instruction on how to schedule an appointment.

Did you know that all of the OR State Legislature committee meetings are streaming live? These live-streams are also recorded which means you can come back rewatch once you have time later? To do so, please go here. To learn more ways to engage with the legislative process, visit this page.



Applications to join the Multnomah County's Charter Review Committee are now open and due on March 1 by 11:59 PM.

As a legislator that represents Multnomah County, I will help select the members of the Charter Review Committee. If you want to play an important role in ensuring that the local government is serving current community needs, or you enjoy collaborating with others to identify common goals and advance equity in Multnomah County, please consider applying.

I continue to stand in solidarity with local community members who oppose the military coup that is currently happening in Myanmar. This is not okay and I join other leaders in calling for peace and justice in Myanmar. My family and I are sending thoughts of strength and wellbeing to those on the ground fighting for their freedom and safety.



Multnomah Democrats Member Spotlight: Kayse Jama

The Skanner - Kayse Jama Reflects On Becoming Oregon’s First Muslim Senator

OPB - Kayse Jama, community organizer and Somali immigrant, nominated to Oregon Senate

Pamplin Media - Kayse Jama appointed to Oregon Senate District 24 seat



Joint Virtual Town Hall with Rep. Jeff Reardon.

Our Town Hall will be held on Saturday, February 20 at 11 AM. We'll share our legislative priorities this session as well as providing a venue to learn about some wonderful organizations within our community. Please join us!

Pre-Registration is required and the rsvp link can be found here:

If you have any trouble, please contact my office.


Zoom Office Hours is the opportunity for our office to better engage with community members by listening to constituents' ideas and concerns, so that we can serve the people of SD 24 more effectively. Twice a week, an hour each day, my staff will be there. I will try my best to hop on whenever I have time.

  • February 24 from 3:30 - 4:30 PM
  • February 25 from 12:00 - 1:00 PM

Zoom link:



Kayse Jama (He/Him), State Senator of SD 24 -grew up in a nomadic family in Somalia. He quickly learned the importance of interdependence to his community’s survival of the harsh desert environment. He still carries this collective thinking with him, understanding that everyone’s unique skills, contributions, and talents only make our communities stronger. Senator Kayse Jama is the co-founder and former Executive Director of Unite Oregon, an oreganization led by people of color, immigrants and refugees, rural communities, and people experiencing poverty that work across Oregon to build a unified intercultural movement for justice. Kayse lives with his wife, David Douglas School Board member Stephanie D. Stephens, and their twins, Sahan and Saharla, in the Hazelwood neighborhood of East Portland.


Lex Jakusovszky (They/Them), Chief of Staff -grew up in Colorado and moved to Portland nine years ago to attend Lewis & Clark College majoring in International Affairs and Gender Studies. They have worked in the legislature since 2017 focusing on LGBTQ+ and climate policy. They are excited to bring my expertise to their team in the Senate. Outside of the legislature, they are involved in transgender justice work and youth empowerment. When they are not working, they love to hike, hang with their puppy, and bike around Portland. 


Kien Truong (He/Him), Legislative Assistant - grew up in Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S. in 2014 with his family. Kien's intersectionality as an immigrant, a first-generation college student from a low-income family, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community has always motivated him to use his voice for the unheard. He is particularly interested in 
advocating for community college students through policy changes to help improve student retention and completion rates by focusing on holistic student support. In his free time, Kien enjoys hanging out with his mom, listening to music,cleaning, and organizing personal fundraising projects for common causes.


Mira Karthik (She/Her), Legislative Intern - grew up in San Jose, California. Currently, she is attending Willamette University as a Freshmen majoring in Politics, Policy, Law and Ethics with a minor in Spanish. In San Jose, she worked extensively in campaigns and local politics over the past year, and is beyond excited to transition over to the Oregon State Legislature. Her ares of interest include the housing crisis, youth engagement and accountability and representation within political leaders. She is looking forward to diving deep into policy research and work along side the Oregon community. In her free time, Mira enjoys playing music and creating jewelry to raise money for social justice organizations. 

If you have any questions, feedback or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact my office. My staff and I will be more than happy to help you as best as we can.

Stay warm and take care.



@SenatorKayseJama   //   @SenatorJama   //   @SenatorKayseJama

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1724
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-409, Salem, OR, 97301