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Senators react to Gov. Kate Brown's policies regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, school closures and vaccinations.

Gov. Brown,

We have previously called for you to immediately reopen schools because the science says it's safe. In 2011, the Legislature gave you the powers of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. You have failed to use that authority to bring forward a meaningful plan and pressure school districts to reopen. According to the Legislative Revenue Office, you have received over $600 million in unexpected money for schools from the federal government.

We request that you immediately reopen schools for full in-person instruction with proper public health measures.

Oregon is the third worst in vaccinating seniors in the country. We find this unacceptable. This population is at a disproportionate risk of dying from COVID-19. This is a matter of life and death. We have previously called for you to direct vaccinations in the most equitable way possible.

That means deploying all the resources of the state government to vaccinate seniors and also ensure that rural Oregonians get their fair share of the vaccine.

As policymakers, one of the most important goals of this session is helping Oregonians recover from your strict economic lockdown orders. Your own state economists have shown that Oregon's economic recovery lags behind the rest of the county. Our unemployment rate is well above the national median.

Despite declining case counts, today you extended your emergency declaration, squeezing Oregonians even more. The Legislature cannot do its work to help Oregonians recover when people cannot go back to work because of orders requiring small businesses to stay closed. We ask that you immediately speed up economic reopening to give Oregonians a fighting chance of recovery.

You have shown interest in helping low-income communities, communities of color, and underserved Oregonians. These populations have been disproportionately impacted by economic lockdowns. The best way to help them is to give them their jobs back and reopen small businesses.

Our previous efforts to bring these issues to your attention have gone unacknowledged. Thus, we are protesting the Thursday, Feb. 25, floor session. In this show of solidarity with Oregonians who are being failed by the current direction of your policies, we hope this action conveys the importance of these issues.

Oregonians are counting on you.

Sens. Fred Girod, Chuck Thomsen, Lynn Findley, Dennis Linthicum, Dick Anderson, Bill Hansell, Dallas Heard, Bill Kennemer, Tim Knopp, Art Robinson and Kim Thatcher.


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