Our state and nation have faced unprecedented challenges this past year. I couldn't be more proud of the resilience shown by Oregonians and I'm honored to serve as a state senator in these trying times.
All of our governments — federal, state and local — have important roles to play as we continue to navigate this global pandemic. That's why I'm hosting two town halls next week with members of our congressional delegation, fellow state legislators, and local elected officials to ensure your voice is part of the democratic process as we begin 2021.
• U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, State Rep. Rachel Prusak, Lake Oswego Mayor Joe Buck and West Linn Mayor Jules Walters will join me online from 5 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 12.
• U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, State Rep. Andrea Salinas and Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran will join me online from 5 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 13.
I hope you'll join us to reflect on 2020 and the best path forward in 2021.
The Oregon Legislature is working hard to respond to the pressing needs of Oregonians. In 2020, we returned to the Capitol for three Special Sessions to address urgent issues brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and a tragic wildfire season. We also passed policies to address the critical need for criminal and racial justice reforms, small business support, and to protect Oregonians facing homelessness.
I'm ready to work with my colleagues across the state to do what's best for all Oregonians during the 2021 session. As the Oregon Senate Majority Leader, I am committed to prioritizing equity and fairness in all legislation as we work to recover and rebuild from challenges like none we've faced before. At every level, equity must be the top priority.
The Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted how oppressive structures have exacerbated the challenges of the past year for Black, indigenous and people of color communities, and low income, women, LGBTQIA+ as well as all our historically marginalized and underserved neighbors. We must take an antiracist approach to governing. That includes how we support our public education system, the delivery of vital services, passing environmental protections, treatment within our justice system and access to comprehensive health care.
Oregon's path to recovery will take time. By putting the health and essential needs of Oregonians first, we will recover stronger. We all want our kids back in school, our local businesses to thrive and our loved ones to be safe, healthy and housed. We enjoy supporting our local artists and gathering with those we care about most. Leaning into mutual support, and sharing our ideas with one another, we will build back better in 2021.
I hope you join me online Jan. 12 or Jan. 13. Your input is valuable and necessary.
Please continue to wear a face covering, wash your hands, physically distance and hold off on your gatherings. Thank you for all you do. I look forward to hearing from you.
Rob Wagner is the Oregon Senate majority leader and represents District 19, which includes Lake Oswego, West Linn, Tualatin, Southwest Portland, Rivergrove and Durham.
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