A message from Gov. Kate Brown
Oregon’s 2019 legislative session is about to kick off. To get it started, on Monday I delivered my Inaugural Address to lay out my priorities for the coming year and defend the values that make Oregon the place we love.
Our team is focused on finally funding Oregon’s education system at a level our children deserve. We’re building on our successes by making sure health care remains accessible and affordable for every Oregonian. We’re working to address the housing crisis and defending our democracy so every voice is heard. And of course, we’re working to meet the challenges of the future with a comprehensive plan to meet the challenge of climate change.
Below, you’ll find details on some of my plans, and I’m looking forward to keeping you informed as we make progress.
2019 holds so much promise for making our state an even better place to live. I can’t thank you enough for all your support in helping us achieve that goal.
Spotlight on… climate.
There are no two ways about it: Oregon is suffering as a result of climate change. The Rogue Valley was covered in smoke for more than eight weeks last summer. Wildfires have increased in intensity and severity in the past decade, threatening our culture, our communities, and our economy. Ninety percent of our state is in drought. And last year was the warmest year in Oregon since 1895.
We simply can’t afford inaction on climate. Oregon must continue to pursue solutions that will reduce harmful emissions while creating good jobs and building a clean energy economy. Our young people deserve to inherit an Oregon as beautiful and bountiful as the one we cherish today.
In November, Kate released a comprehensive plan for how we can get this done (you can read it here), and she’s looking forward to working with the legislature to pass its elements into law. Among our strategies:
Spotlight on… housing.
Every Oregonian should have a warm, safe, dry place to call home -- and it should be affordable and accessible. Kate is proud that as governor, she's worked towards building or preserving more than 11,000 affordable homes across the state. But we still have a housing crisis -- and we must act quickly to help the chronically homeless, our children, families, and our veterans.
We can’t keep doing the same thing expecting a different result, which is why Kate is challenging the legislature to try something new: If they approve a $20 million bonding package early this session, we can speed up construction of 200 units of permanent housing for the chronically homeless.
Beyond that, Kate’s budget makes a historic $400 million investment in housing. It’s an ambitious plan. But if we move now, we can get results quickly.
We also need to help Oregonians who have homes but are struggling with the high cost of rent. When problems arise, they need technical assistance to stay in their homes and not end up on the streets. Landlords and tenants are counting on us to help navigate this tight housing market -- and that’s exactly what we must do.
Spotlight on… health care.
Health care is a fundamental right. And we’re well on our way to making that a promise in Oregon.
Because of the work we’ve done to expand the Oregon Health Plan, today 94 percent of adults have access. And because of the work we did to pass Cover All Kids, every single one of our children has access.
But we have a lot left to do to make sure health care is affordable for everyone. Families across Oregon need to know that they’ll be able to see a doctor when they’re sick and afford the medicine they need. Kate’s budget sets forth a consensus approach as to how we stabilize funding for the Oregon Health Plan.
We can also achieve lower costs and better health by reducing the silos in health care -- by integrating physical health, mental health, substance use disorder treatment, and oral health services.
With your help, we’ll work to make it happen.