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April 29, 2015: At 6:15 a.m. I started my drive to Salem for another day as a legislator. It was cloudy but clear as I went down through Gaston from my home in Forest Grove. I worked my way through the narrow green valley along Ribbon Ridge Road, and the green hillside started to brighten as the sun came out. The water marsh was lovely. I saw a red-tailed hawk, and a “V” of Canada geese; this always reminds me of my Dad and brother and their love of waterfowl on our farm in Canby, where I grew up.

Driving down Highway 221, I saw hazelnut orchards, blueberry fields, grass seed, fruit trees and nursery stock all the way to West Salem. I reached the bridge over the Willamette and it was only 7:35 a.m. Good drive today.

In the office, my staff and I met to set out our day. What committee meetings do we need to prepare for because of amendments introduced this morning? What citizen questions or letters do we need to respond to today? How many meetings do I have before the floor session? Today, I met with DEQ staff and the Farm Bureau, and then a wonderful citizen who wanted to talk about education and background checks for private gun sales; he wants me to work on additional funding for our schools and he wants me to vote “Yes” on Senate Bill 941. I told him I was working on both.

The State Library Service Day is today, and I got to pick out a book to donate in my name to the Forest Grove City Library.

The floor was interesting today. We considered a bill on Urban Agriculture Incentive zones, which will allow some small farming activities in urban areas. Veggies, other food crops and 4-H animals will be produced. I hope the bill will be useful to Cornelius; it will provide family farm opportunities and healthy food. It passed 50-10.

We also voted on student financial aid fees being more transparent. College students will benefit from this as they get support to be able to go to school, because it will lower fees on student debit cards. That bill passed 36-24.

We voted on self-service fuel for counties with populations below 40,000 residents. This will contribute to safe travel in eastern and very southeastern parts of Oregon; it passed unanimously. We are all working together, and getting work done!

After the floor today, I had two committees — education and transportation. This week, we are hearing testimony on Senate bills that have been sent over to the House.

At the end of the day, as I sit writing this, I have time to catch up on e-mail, reading on budget issues and citizen mail. Later tonight, my evening will end with a small and independent business meeting, where I will have the opportunity to hear concerns, issues and policy ideas from local business leaders. Then I will drive home and try to get some sleep before we start again tomorrow!

Each day, I will continue to come to Salem to work t0 address issues that affect our communities. I want to hear from folks in my district, so we can work together to make our home the very best place it can be for our families, our businesses and our environment.

State Rep. Susan McLain represents Oregon House District 29, which includes Hillsboro, Cornelius and Forest Grove.

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