Celebrating Progress and Preparing for the Future


Celebrating First-Term Senators and Successful Legislative Agendas

Since the 2021 legislative session came to a close at the end of June, I've been reflecting on all that was accomplished, especially given the unprecedented challenges we faced in Oregon. You can read more about a small slice of the accomplishments and challenges in this Lake Oswego Review interview with me and Representative Andrea Salinas. 

When I'm asked by students and community members about my favorite part of serving in the State Senate, I share how amazing it is to walk out onto the hallowed floor, deliberate with fellow legislators, and cast votes on such a wide range of legislation. But it's also a difficult, and at times overwhelming, job that demands serious sacrifice and commitment. This year, I was honored to serve with some incredible first term senators. I'm proud of all that Senator Kate Lieber, Senator Deb Patterson, Senator Kayse Jama, and Senator Chris Gorsek accomplished in their first term of service in the Senate - improving health care, housing, public safety and immigration services (and so much more). It's an honor to serve alongside such dedicated and effective colleagues and I encourage you to read OPB's article on these senators and other first term legislators.

Finally, as the Senate Majority Leader, I'm thrilled to share that Senate Democrats delivered on our agenda this legislative session - addressing recovery, renewal, and setting a course for a stronger future. We made landmark investments in every corner of Oregon, supporting children with record investment, passing bills addressing compassion and caring (including record support for behavioral health), and catalyzing a clean energy future while protecting our natural resources.

Building Back Better with the Revamped Child Tax Credit

The COVID-19 pandemic brings immense challenges for working families - balancing child care, work responsibilities, and running a household have been exceptionally difficult during the past year and a half. I'm so excited for the launch of the Biden Administration's revamped child tax credit, which started providing support for families earlier this month. This is exactly the kind of support that will power our economic recovery and support families across Oregon. You can find all of the details below.


Extra Grocery Assistance for Qualifying Families

The Oregon Department of Human Services and the Oregon Department of Education are teaming up to provide extra grocery money for families with eligible students this summer. The money makes up for meals students missed  as a result of closures during the 2020-21 school year. “Grab-and-go" or summer meals from schools are still available while receiving P-EBT. You can find more information below or at this website.


The Future of I-5 and I-205

State and federal efforts to improve I-5 and I-205 continue to move forward. The Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee for the I-205 Toll Project and the Regional Mobility Pricing Project will meet today, Wednesday, July 28, 3:30 to 5 p.m. You can learn more about the meeting from this Oregon Department of Transportation newsletter and about how to provide your input to the department about the projects in this newsletter.

Emergency Preparedness - 2 Weeks Ready

In the fall of 2020, Oregon was devastated by wildfires and blanketed by thick smoke and some of the worst air quality in the world. The largest wildfire in the country is currently burning outside of Klamath Falls, sending smoke across the continent to New York City and beyond.

With a long, dry summer and fall likely ahead of us, it is essential that we practice good fire safety and preparedness. Please review the Oregon Department of Forestry’s tips on fire prevention, as well as your emergency preparedness plan. Tips on emergency kits, evacuation plans, and more can be found at the Office of Emergency Management's website. The goal is to be ready for two weeks of self-sufficiency - we can do this!


If you or a loved one has a respiratory condition, there are strategies for improving indoor air quality that I encourage you to consider in advance.


Finally, you can sign up for local emergency alerts at ORAlert.gov.


Vaccines and Variants

In Oregon and across the country, COVID-19 cases are increasing once again as the Delta variant and other mutations of the virus spread in unvaccinated communities. Please see the third graphic below to learn how to tell the difference between symptoms of smoke exposure and COVID-19. I would encourage everyone who has a loved one who isn't vaccinated to talk to them -  this article discusses how to talk to them about the importance of vaccinations.

Every vaccinated person will make a difference in diminishing the virus's impact on society. There are many health professionals ready and willing to talk through your options and discuss any concerns that you may have.


Finding Joy in an Unpredictable Summer

This summer has already served up it's fair share of bitter and sweet moments. From the joy of watching my two eldest children graduate from high school and prepare for their college journeys, to the deeply disturbing drought and concern of adapting to an overheated world on fire, I've had plenty to ponder in the past few weeks. I'm finding joy in reconnecting with my family and community after a whirlwind six months, and hope that you are able to safely do the same this season.

In the coming weeks, I'll be back in touch about a series of town halls. I want to hear what's on your mind and how I can best represent you in Salem.

As always, please let me know if you need any assistance. My office and I will work to connect you with resources and get your questions answered as quickly as possible.    


Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner
Senate District 19

email: Sen.RobWagner@OregonLegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1719
address: 900 Court St NE, S-223, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/wagner