U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley
"...a tenacious and effective advocate for Oregon's schoolchildren, working families, and marginalized voices."
It was in my role as “Mom” that I first became an advocate for public education. Portland Public Schools faced a financial deficit and planned to cut full-day Kindergarten districtwide as a result, just as my firstborn was about to enroll. I petitioned the board, organizing more than 150 parents and educators to successfully oppose this decision.
In 2019, I was one of the key architects of the game-changing Student Success Act, which will add $1 billion a year in perpetuity to our chronically underfunded education system. I am particularly proud of the Act’s emphasis on meaningful equity and supports for mental health and nutrition. (The food access provisions of the law make Oregon the best state in the nation for the percentage of students receiving meals in schools.) It is the crowning achievement of my public service career.
Issues That Matter
Nearly every critical problem affecting our families and communities has been caused or made worse by the catastrophe in the White House. Oregon has always modeled a better way, and we must continue to do so, to rebuild hope and a promising future for all our people.
Permanent housing for families will pay dividends, giving our students a chance for success in school and in life.
Because affordable housing is one of the most serious challenges we face in Oregon, a broad array of governmental, non-profit, and private entities have been working to address the various issues impacting affordability, and I intend to join this community of activists, advocates, practitioners, and jurisdictions to advance policies designed to address this crisis in several significant ways.