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The Spotlight's mailbag includes letters about childcare, vaccine access, Portland Community College and more.

Access to childcare will improve lives

One of the best things we could do for our economy and society is to invest in affordable and accessible childcare. If we want to reduce the gender gap, improve education, reduce poverty, and stimulate the economy, then childcare must be a focus.

It is encouraging to see that President Joe Biden has made child poverty and childcare key pillars of his economic recovery plans, but our state and local governments also need to step up.

Compared to their male counterparts, mothers and young girls disproportionately bear the burden of childcare, forcing women to forgo many important economic, educational, and developmental opportunities. This is exceptionally true in poorer households where the pandemic has only magnified the disparities.

A handful of studies throughout the world show that by increasing access to childcare, women's labor force participation increases substantially, while men remain largely unaffected.

If we agree that our society will be stronger if more women enter the workforce, educational outcomes for children are improved, poverty is eradicated, and productivity is increased, then addressing childcare needs to be at the top of the list. Like how a rising tide lifts all boats, affordable childcare will increase the quality of life for all.

Robert Backus, Warren

Why did governor get J&J shot ahead of others?

It was upsetting when Gov. Kate Brown prioritized teachers ahead of the more vulnerable elderly for vaccinations just to satisfy the school lobbyists. And it was concerning when other reprioritizations occurred at the same time the state's online appointment system was (and still is) malfunctioning.

But what takes the cake is the governor (who is 60) getting vaccinated in violation of her own prioritization standards at a time when only those 65 and older are supposed to be eligible. [Ed.: Brown was vaccinated in Scappoose on March 6.]

This was seemingly done for publicity purposes promoting the new Johnson and Johnson vaccine. In reality, these actions have shown both a level of incompetence and inequity in dealing with this emergency with the realization that the governor is exempting herself from her own vaccination standards.

Can someone please explain to us seniors what is going on here?

David Krogh, Portland

Why Kristi Wilson belongs on PCC board of directors

When I think of Kristi Wilson, many qualities come to mind: A tireless worker with nearly two decades of experience and public service in Washington County. A champion in advancing career opportunities for youth and adults. A professional with a can-do spirit who developed programs such as the Hillsboro Youth Advisory Council, a robust paid internship program, and who supported the Portland Community College Future Connect program.

These are exactly the qualities the PCC board of directors needs, and why she should be the next director of Zone 7, which serves Hillsboro, Forest Grove, North Plains, Cornelius, Gaston, Vernonia and Banks.

As a former director of Zone 7 from 2009-2019, I recognize the value of having a deep connection to the community you serve, and Kristi has a body of work that demonstrates that.

In addition, Kristi understands the value of creating clear pathways to livable-wage jobs from her lived experience as an alumna of PCC and her extensive experience with K-12 and post-secondary career and college pathway programs. She currently serves on career technical education advisory committees and works with community partners to implement initiatives that close the opportunity gap and increase economic mobility.

As Oregon residents recover from the impacts of the pandemic, her perspective will be a critical asset to the board as PCC re-imagines structures to support historically under-served residents and strive for equitable student success.

Wilson, a PCC success story, will only bolster that reputation as the director of Zone 7 on PCC's board and is worthy of your vote this May.

Deanna Palm

President/Chief Executive Officer, Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce & Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce

Exchanging government handouts for political allegiance is slavery

I have been thinking about the issue of slavery reparations recently, and here is how I see it.

A) The government takes money from people who never owned slaves, B) gives it to people who never were slaves, C) in order to make them slaves of the government by promising them things that they didn't earn and are not entitled to, as long as they vote Democrat.

It's a brilliant plan. But why anyone would choose to be a slave to a government that has the power to give you what you didn't earn and to take from you what you did earn is beyond me.

I choose to live free, not be beholden to any government, keep the fruits of my labors, and make my own way in life.

Jim Kolousek, Gaston


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