Rep. Anna Williams announces 2020 re-election bid
Anna Williams, a Hood River Democrat who represents the Sandy area in the Oregon House has announced she plans to run for re-election.
The first-term legislator plans to kick off her re-election campaign with a party at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at Slopeswell Cider in Hood River.
Williams said her priorities today remain consistent with those she was elected in 2018 to pursue. According to a release sent out Jan. 21, Williams "remains committed to improving educational outcomes for Oregon students, improving access to social services in rural parts of the state, and supporting working families."
Williams serves House District 52, which stretches from parts of Troutdale to Hood River and Rhodedendron. She was elected in 2018 defeating incumbent Jeffrey Helfrich in a tight race.
Within her first session, Williams was involved in the Legislature passing a $1 billion annual school funding measure and a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program said to be one of the most robust in the nation.
"The lack of a statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave program was a huge reason that I ran for office in the first place," Williams said. "I once lost a job as a direct result of my taking maternity leave. The person my employer hired to fill in for me effectively ended up with my job, because it was cheaper to keep them on. No one should ever lose a job just because they prioritize caring for a loved one."
Since taking office, Williams has visited the Sandy area on numerous occasions. During a recent meeting with members of the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce, Williams spoke about her and Republican state Sen. Chuck Thomsen's use of bipartisanship despite an overall divisive session.
Though HB 2020, a bill to establish a statewide cap-and-trade system and reduce carbon emissions, was confronted with a Republican walkout from the Senate and left a negative pall over the Legislature at the end of the session, Williams stated that she and Thomsen worked to remain civil and united.
"I think what this district needs is to see us working together," she told Chamber members in attendance. "If you're wearing a red cape or a blue cape when you walk in the building doesn't matter. I never had a cross word or ill will with (Sen. Thomsen)."
She noted in her recent statement that she worked with Thomsen "to bring millions of dollars in state funds to her district, including $1.7 million for emergency repairs to a storm sewer line in Hood River and $2.4 million for economic development and infrastructure in Cascade Locks, which in part will allow Pfriem Family Brewing to expand into that community."
"It's no secret that we can get more done through cooperation than through partisan division, and I haven't found it too challenging to work across the aisle on important issues," Williams said. "Some staffers who have worked in the Capitol for decades say that the 2019 session was the most chaotic they've ever seen. It was my first session, though, so that level of chaos seems like the norm to me. Still, I hope things calm down in 2020."
Williams said she also remains supportive of legislative action regarding climate change, "but wants to ensure that the focus is on the resiliency of communities that will be most impacted in the years to come."
"People in rural communities like ours will bear the brunt of climate change," she noted. "Farmers will see impacts on their crop yields, rural economies will change as people continue to move to cities where they can more easily access services, and people in our woodland communities will face higher and higher risks of wildfire. We need to use the state's resources to protect and preserve our rural ways of life and extend the social safety net out to our most remote neighbors."
Child safety and childcare also remain on Williams' agenda, she said. At the top of her list for the February 2020 session, Williams said, are bills aimed at child abuse prevention and response. HB 3180, an omnibus bill aimed at studying and funding means of preventing child abuse, was passed last session, but is not yet funded. Williams hopes to rectify that next month.
"This is about a life-saving service and I don't think it should've been cut for other people's pet programs," Williams said at a meeting in Sandy in October 2019. According to Williams' recent statement, she plans to "focus on ushering her priority bills through the legislature before campaign season starts in earnest."
"Campaigns take a lot of energy, especially in districts like this one," she said. "Still, people didn't vote for me so I could spend my time raising funds and filming campaign ads. There's a lot of important unfinished business to take care of this session, and that's my priority."
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