August Legislative Newsletter

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Hello Friends,

I was stunned to see the news out of Bend this week of a mass shooting at a grocery store – committed by a 20-year old with an AR-15 and multiple high capacity magazines. I’m thinking of the families of those killed and wounded and what they must be going through right now. One of those killed, 66-year-old Donald Ray Surrett Jr., was an employee at the store who attempted to disarm the shooter, likely preventing further violence. It doesn’t have to be like this. No one should fear for their lives at work, school, or just going about their day. We can and must come together to address this public health and safety crisis and to put an end to these senseless tragedies.

Although Oregon has taken clear action to reduce gun violence in recent years – requiring background checks on private gun sales, implementing extreme risk protection orders that keep guns out of the hands of violent or unstable individuals, and passing a bill ensuring domestic abusers and stalkers cannot access firearms – there is still more to do. In the coming weeks, I will be working with my colleagues to see what solutions the legislature might take up in 2023. If you have thoughts or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

In this newsletter, I wanted to share some updates about federal support that is coming for Oregon’s small businesses and student loan borrowers, public health information about COVID-19 and Monkeypox, and a little about how the new federal Inflation Reduction Act will help Oregonians.

Funds on the way to support the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI)

Good news for Oregon’s small businesses! Oregon’s State Small Business Credit Initiative is receiving $83.5 million in federal funds to bolster existing small business financing programs, and to create new programs to support access to capital for new and growing businesses in our state. This grant includes:

  • $41.5 million to support small business commercial lending needs common to retail, service, agriculture, processing, distribution, and manufacturing industries through both loan guarantees with private lenders and through the Community Re-lender Fund.
  • $42 million for innovation-related small business equity and debt through Business Oregon Venture Capital Programs and Venture Capital Debt Programs

Business Oregon will be hosting a webinar to provide more information about how to participate in these programs September 7th-9th. Registration for these webinars closes at 5pm on Friday, September 2nd, and you can register to attend here.

Public Health Updates


I’m happy to report that since my last newsletter cases and hospitalizations are declining in Lane County and across most Oregon counties. This is encouraging, but it’s worth noting that a recent study suggests that more than half of the people infected with the omicron variant were unaware of their infection

Even with the decline in cases, vaccination is still the best protection against severe symptoms, and all approved COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J) remain effective against Omicron BA.4 and BA.5. Just yesterday, the FDA granted emergency use authorization for two new Omicron-specific booster shots (Pfizer for ages 12 and up, Moderna for ages 18 and up). The CDC meets today to vote on authorization – if they authorize the boosters, they could start to be administered within just a few days. Individuals will be eligible for the new boosters if it’s been at least 2 months since their last vaccine dose.

Earlier this month the CDC streamlined their guidance on what actions to take if exposed or infected with COVID-19. The CDC now recommends that individuals exposed to COVID-19 no longer need to self-quarantine, they just need to wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested 5 days after exposure (regardless of vaccination status).

If you test positive, you should quarantine for at least 5 days. If after day 5, your symptoms have improved, and you are fever-free, without the use of medication for 24 hours, you may end your isolation. Even after day 5, it’s important you continue to wear a high-quality mask through day 10 and avoid high risk individuals until at least day 11. The CDC continues to stress the importance of getting vaccinated and remaining up to date on follow up doses. 


I’m sure most of you have heard about the rise of Monkeypox cases across the country, and while it isn’t as contagious or widespread as COVID-19, it has been declared a national public health emergency. So, I wanted to share a little information about this disease, its symptoms, and some resources for those who may be at risk of infection

Monkeypox (hMPXV) is a viral infection related to the smallpox virus. While generally less severe and contagious than smallpox, monkeypox can be an unpleasant and sometimes serious illness. Monkeypox may start with fever, achiness, or sore throat, but can also start with a rash or sores. The rash often looks like pimples or blisters at the start, typically located on or near your genitals, hands, feet, chest, face or mouth. The disease is spread primarily through close skin-to-skin physical contact with people who have monkeypox symptoms, including rash and lesions. 

If you're feeling sick and notice any new rashes - especially on the genitals - avoid close physical contact with others and talk to a health care provider (or call 211 if you don't have one). Before the appointment, let your provider know that you think you might have monkeypox and cover any lesions you have. You can learn more about the Oregon Health Authority’s response, where to get tests, and available vaccines here.

Student Loan Relief

A post-high school education – whether at a trade school, community college, or 4-year institution – was once a ticket to the middle-class. But the cost of college has skyrocketed and too many borrowers can’t afford to buy a home, start a business, or save for retirement. During his campaign, President Biden promised to provide targeted student debt relief to working- and middle-class families, and last week, the Biden-Harris Administration took action to fulfill that commitment and provide breathing room to borrowers as they prepare to resume student loan payments following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Biden-Harris Administration announced they will:

These actions will help borrowers who need it most – with nearly 90% of relief dollars going to borrowers earning less than $75,000 per year – and will make a real difference for many Oregonians. More information will be available to borrowers in the coming weeks – if you have student debt, I encourage you to sign up to be notified automatically when this information is available.

Student Loan Relief

Inflation Reduction Act & What it Means for Oregon

Signed by the President late last month, the Inflation Reduction Act will help lower costs for working Oregonians, drive down health care expenses, combat the climate crisis, and support small businesses, all while asking the largest corporations to pay their fair share. All this is in addition to the bipartisan Infrastructure law and CHIPS and Science law, which are brining investments to Oregon to create good jobs and fix our roads and bridges.

Here’s what the Inflation Reduction Act does for Oregon:

I’ve enjoyed being out and about in the community again this summer – my dog Watson and I had a great time staffing a booth at the Eugene Pride Celebration earlier this month!


Starting September 9, the “blackout period” begins, meaning legislators running for office are prohibited from using state resources for mass communications with their constituents 60 days prior to an election. You are welcome to reach out to my office during this time, but this will be my last newsletter until November.

As ever, my office and I are here to help! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help navigating local or state government services, or if you have thoughts about bills for the 2023 legislative session. Your input is valuable as I consider what to prioritize in the coming months. 

Yours truly.

Fahey signature

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1414
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-286, Salem, Oregon 97301