After months of conversations and many miles walked around Washington County, last week we began our first terms as legislators in the Oregon House of Representatives.
Across our time as candidates we were fortunate to have thousands of conversations about the many concerns and hopes of Oregonians from all walks of life. How do we ensure the stability of funding for our educational system? How can we ensure the continued availability of affordable health care for everyone? What is there to be done about affordable housing? How do we maintain the strong growth of our economy?
We are proud to join one of the most diverse Democratic House caucuses in Oregon history. It is a group of Oregonians who come from small towns and big cities, urban and rural parts of the state.
They run non-profits, work as educators and in the health care field, own small businesses and advocate for the environment and the most vulnerable among us. We are also, for the first time in Oregon history, a female-majority caucus.
Though nationally our shared values are under attack as the new administration targets immigrants and refugees, public education and health care, here in Oregon we commit to fight to move our state forward.
We must ensure that the impact of budget cuts are limited and do not disproportionately impact children, communities of color, low-income people, seniors and veterans, among others.
Our top priority will be ensuring stability for our public schools. That means making sure, in the face of a budget deficit, that the impact to K-12 education is minimized. We also need to work to keep our kids engaged and graduating. One way to do that is to expand career and technical education, which give our kids the skills they need in the workforce.
We also need to ensure our economy continues to grow and expand. Working to support small businesses to create living-wage jobs will be a top priority. Our aging transportation system must also be preserved and modernized to keep Oregon at the forefront.
For working Oregonians, we must commit to ensuring that everyone receives equal pay for equal work — regardless of gender or race. We have to reject a system that unfairly disadvantages women and minorities.
And in an era of distrust and "alternative facts," we must also fight to restore faith and integrity in our government. We will work hard to ensure that we are advancing transparency and accountability. Government is supposed to work for you and we want to make sure that you feel that way.
We hope to hear from you as we work through our first legislative session. Join the conversation by calling, emailing, attending town halls or visiting us at the Capitol. Thank you for your continued support. Together over the coming months we will work hard to maintain our shared values and make Oregon a better place for everyone.
Rep. Janeen Sollman's House District 30 includes portions of Beaverton, Hillsboro, Aloha and unincorporated Washington County. Rep. Sheri Malsrtrom's District 27 includes portions of Beaverton.