2012 Election Center

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As a 501(c)3, Children First for Oregon does not endorse or advocate for the success of one candidate over another; rather we seek to share information provided by each campaign. We are excited to work with everyone to ensure that Oregon is a place where all children thrive - through the 2012 General Election, and beyond!

Candidate Questionnaires

We have invited all candidates for President, Congress, Governor and the state legislature to fill out our candidate questionnaire. This is an opportunity for candidates to share their views on issues affecting the health, safety and stability of Oregon children. You can access the answers provided by your candidates here:

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If you’re a candidate and haven’t recieved a questionnaire request from us, please let us know.


All Candidate Questionnaire Responses

Alissa_Keny-Guyer

Andy_Olson

Betty_Komp

Bradley_Witt

Bruce_Neal

Burton_Keeble

Carl_Hosticka

Carolyn_Tomei

Catherine_McKeown

Christopher_Bangs

Dan_Farrington

David_Gomberg

Eldon_Rollins

Elizabeth_Hayward

Fred_Thompson

Herman_Baertschiger

Jackie_Dingfelder

Jennifer_Williamson

Jessica_Pederson

Jim_Diefenderfer

Jim_Klahr

Joe_Pishioneri

John_Huddle

John_Huffman

John_Lively

Joyce_Segers

Kathy_Campbell

Laurie_Anderson

Lew_Frederick

Maggie_Nelson

Margaret_Doherty

Mark_Callahan

Mark_Hass

Mark_Johnson

Michael_Dembrow

Mitch_Greenlick

Nancy_Nathanson

Nathan_Hovekamp

Patrick_Sheehan

Peter_Buckley

Ronald_Green

Steven_Frank

Steven_Reynolds

Wynne_Wakkila

Alissa_Keny-Guyer

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I’ve spent 30 years working to eliminate poverty, invest in youth and vulnerable populations, and promote civil rights.  After graduating from Stanford, I spent several years doing community development in Indonesian villages. I then earned a Masters in Public Health in Hawaii, worked in Hawaiian nonprofits and the Hawaii legislature, and ran an international exchange organization in California.  My husband and I have raised our three children in Portland since 1994. Over these past 18 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of parents, advocates, and decision makers at the local, state, and federal levels to build healthy families and healthy communities.  My employment in Oregon, prior to my current job as State Representative for House District 46,  included Director of the Saturday Academy Outreach Program for under-represented ethnic groups, Director of the Hanna Andersson Children’s Foundation, and Program Manager for the Oregon Solutions team to rebuild the Vernonia Schools.  My volunteer commitments have included the NW Health Foundation Multnomah County Commission on Children, Families and Community the Portland Children’s Levy Penney Family Fund Impact NW Southeast Uplift Mercy Corps and volunteering in Portland Public Schools.  My focus in the Legislature will continue to be helping low income youth and families climb out of poverty through education, job creation, job supports (like child care), and affordable health care. I will promote policies that invest up front to avoid our need to pay for the higher costs down the road.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I will: 1) vigorously support our continued funding of health services and outreach through Oregon Healthy Kids and to ensure that ALL kids in Oregon are covered 2) improve our rate of prenatal care for ALL pregnant Oregonians 3) support initiatives coming from the “Healthy Kids Learn Better Coalition” which promotes health care through the schools (like school-based health clinics) and public health measures - like safe routes to schools, water fountains in the schools, PE classes, Farm to School and other school nutrition programs 4) continue supporting (and tweaking as needed) the Health Transformation and Health Insurance Exchange legislation we passed in 2012.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

I support flouridating our water supplies. Oregon has one of the nation’s lowest rates of fluoridation and one of the highest rates of dental decay. One of the leading causes of school absences and emergency room visits among Oregon children is poor oral health. While there are other methods of delivering flouride to children besides through the water supply, they are far more costly, less effective, and there is less compliance in populations which have economic and language barriers - thereby adding to Oregon’s huge disparity in health among different racial and ethnic groups.  Aside from flouridated water, I support the Health Transformation legislation which will coordinate physical, mental and dental health care under “Coordinated Care Organizations” to better integrate health care, starting with the Medicaid population.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

I’m a huge believer in wrap-around services and programs, such as TANF, TADVS, SNAP and ERDC. We need to support low income families to hold a job, earn income (and self esteem), and feed their children so they can learn and thrive. I currently serve on the Hunger Relief Task Force’s “Child Hunger Network” which is looking at how to streamline and align many of these state and federal programs in order to stretch our limited dollars.  Investing more funding in early childhood and public education and coordinating our programs from prenatal to early adulthood is critical if we are going to help our youth break the cycle of poverty, and help build our economy for all.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

I have worked on this issue for MANY years, funding   early childhood program providers and advocates through Hanna Andersson Children’s Foundation, Portland Children’s Levy, Multnomah CCFC, Penney Family Fund, and NWHF.  I served on the Child Care Quality Indicators project to set up a statewide system to assess and improve the quality of child care. I currently serve on the Early Childhood Leadership Team for the Cradle to Career project of All Hands Raised, where I will work to ensure that child care is a strong focus of the integrated system we design.  State and local governments should continue to: 1) support child care networks and quality improvements at child care settings by providing grants to those who present improvement plans, as the Portland Children’s Levy did 2) support parent subsidies like ERDC (through DHS) and supplemental support (like through the Lane County pilot and Portland Children’s Levy) 3) support professional development of child care providers through PSU’s career ladder and with bonuses for additional training and certification 4) support the integration of Head Start and child care wherever possible.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

I will continue to support:  1) preventative programs, such as Relief Nurseries, quality child care, parent education, and special ed programs, as I have done through the Portland Children’s Levy, NWHF and Multnomah County CCFC 2) early detection, intervention and treatment programs like Cares NW, Kids on the Block, Morrison, Janus Youth Programs, and others 3) substance abuse prevention and treatment programs 4) legislation like those we passed in 2012 such as SB 1555 which reduces school bullying through mandatory reporting by school employees, HB 4016 which requires mandatory reporting of suspected abuse by all professionals who deal with children, and HB 4077 Healthy Teen Relationship Act, which requires school districts to develop policies and the State to provide funding for the prevention of teen dating violence.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

We need to restore funding to DHS through restoring stable and adequate revenues to our state (see below).  For youth who are already in foster care, we need to ensure that all foster kids know their Rights by posting them visibly on a wall and by DHS workers going over those rights with the kids. (I was amazed to learn that only 1 out of approximately 60 foster youth who recently attended your conference had heard of this Bill of Rights that aims to protect them!).  I am interested in the idea of creating a Foster Care advocate in the Governor’s office who can serve as Ombudsman for foster families, gather data about needs, and propose solutions at the executive level.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I support programs that choose biological family members to foster when possible - with the regular pay - and that keeps siblings together. I also support helping biological parents stay involved in their kids lives while they are pulling their own lives together.  I support additional training and support for foster parents. I love the Bridger Meadows model, where older adults (55+) live in a housing complex for a subsidized rate in return for volunteering 10 hours/week to support

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

The ILP is a great program but needs more resources. Staff should help youth develop an Independent Living Plan with a check list of goals (like financial literacy), should check in on these goals with the youth regularly, and should be able to draw upon funds to purchase items needed for the youth to move forward in their college or career.    Portland Children’s Levy’s decision to serve youth until age 25 was a great step in recognizing that these youth still need support after age 18, and the State should follow suit.  Thank you for your work in helping pass legislation to allow foster youth to attend Oregon colleges tuition-free!

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I will continue to work with the Legislature, Governor, Treasurer to solve this long term revenue problem. We need to pull together labor, business and advocacy groups to formulate comprehensive reform. Legislators need to build email bases among our own constituencies and organize town halls around revenue reform, since any solution is likely to go to the ballot, given the challenge of passing it with the super majority needed. In addition, Measures 5 and 50 need to be overturned by the voters since they are in the Constitution.  Besides eliminating the kicker, I am in favor of a more progressive income tax (taxing a higher rate at the upper income level, a lower rate at the lower income level, and starting taxation at a higher income level than we currently do, since we start at a lower rate than almost any other state!) keeping the estate tax, adding sales/excise/gross receipts/VAT tax that exempts food and medical but that adds stability and captures out-of-state dollars a Land Value Tax for targeted urban corridors and sin taxes such as tobacco. I am in favor of property tax relief if we can bring in more revenue from the sources above.  Creating a Rainy Day fund and adding a sales tax will add stability to avoid hurting the most vulnerable citizens. However I will always fight for vulnerable kids if we do have to take slash the budget.

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Andy_Olson

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

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Betty_Komp

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

When I win, I will work with my multiple partners to support children’s education and preventitive health care.  My background of being a teacher and administrator provided example after example of the importance of linking critical services together to enable their successes.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I have and will continue to support early intervention in health care.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

I support providing floride and training to all child care facilities regarding how to brush their teeth and have proper care of their teeth and oral hygenie.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

I support Head Start, Early Start and WIC Programs to enrich and support prenatal and early growth years.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

We need a coordinated plan. I supported the Early Learning Council that will unite health care and education for life long success.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

I believe we need to reach out to community based organizations to make strategic, long term plans to bring for-profit, non-profit and public agencies a strong team to create prevention and intervention in abusive situations.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

We are in the process of looking at agency budgets in and view expenditures as actual outcomes of people’s children served.  We are in the early stages of formative Poassesment.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

This is a tough question.  A possible option would be to require agencies to create brother and sister day meets once a month.  At least an hour visit to four hours. Share activities that bring them together.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

First they need to know what federal programs they can access until they finish college.  Some sort of flyer/informative sheet needs to be provided to schools.  Create a 4-year plan to assist them in thinking about opportunities they haven’t even considered.  Link them up to a long term mentor.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I support a governor appointed task force, legislated to tackle finance reform with the goal of doing town halls and community outreach throughout the state to bring recommendations to the legislature.

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Bradley_Witt

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I want Oregon’s children to have access to the best pre-school to university education system in the nation. I want Oregon’s children to have stable families that have adequate income and access to high quality affordable health care. I want Oregon’s children to live in safe and secure environments. I will take the necessary steps to insure all of Oregon’s children thrive.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I supported Oregon formation of Healthy Kids and will support the expansion of Oregon Healthy Kids so that all of Oregon’s children will be insured. I have supported and will continue to support school-based health centers, the development of rural health clinics and incentives to encourage health care providers to practice in underserved Oregon communities.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Treating dental disease has to be a priority because too many children suffer unnecessary pain and miss too many school days due to dental pain. Oregon needs to invest additional resources in dental care for children that may include dental vans that provide care for students at their schools.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Oregon families need to have opportunities for family wage, fully benefited jobs. Employment/business development is critical to alleviating poverty in Oregon. Adults must have access to affordable childcare and continuing education and job training. We must find ways to keep our students in school and to prevent early pregnancies.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

I will continue to support policies and legislation that require day care providers to have early-childhood education and training. I believe Oregon should provide assistance in some form or forms to help working parents, especially low-incom parents, with the financial burden of childcare.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

We must invest more resources in drug and alcohol prevention and treatment. Oregon parents must have opportunities for family wage jobs and access to affordable health care, including mental health care. Oregon also must have more frontline workers in CAF so that all cases of abuse/neglect will be investigated and adequately monitored.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

Oregon needs more frontline child welfare workers so that every case can be thoroughly investigated and children in foster care adequately monitored. We must do what it takes to keep our children safe.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I will support programs that support keeping siblings together during foster care.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I will support policies that expand Oregon’s Independent Living Program. I will also support additional training for foster parents so they are able to support the goals of the Independent Living Program and I would support a mentoring program for all high school students in foster care.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I will support kicker reform and reviewing any and all tax abatements to insure all are meeting their stated goals and if not abatements must be withdrawn.

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Bruce_Neal

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I am married and a father of six.  Four from my first marriage and two from my second marriage (she had two).  I raised them after my divorce and have a very close connection to all my children.  I am a businessman, a naval veteran, and a retired public school teacher.  This coming school year I will be teaching in a private school and will teach grades 2,3,4 & 6.  If elected I want to take my experience in the public and private sector and help make sure our children are safe, healthy and can achieve their own goals.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

All children?  There will, through no ones fault, always be a child or two that slips through the gaps.  As a public school teacher I took pride in doing all I could to look for and reach out to those kids/siblings of those kids and their families.  I plan on taking that expertise and doing all I can to reach out to those children that might have or have fallen through the cracks of the system.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

When I taught public school we had a dentist come to the school and did a screening of ALL students. It think this would be just one way to find those kids and improve their oral health.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

It is a fact that all children can not be out of poverty there will always be a child or two that for what ever reason is poor.  However,  just because a child is poor does not mean they can not have breakfast/lunch during the day the school has resources to help these families by putting them in touch with the neighborhood resources.  I would make it a high priority to see to it that school have the manpower and the ability to help these family on the LOCAL and COMMUNITY levels to get their needs met…

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

Head start and that type of program is in place in many areas and should be available to all.  Not all children are ready for an early educational experience but the ones that are should have it available to them.  Local government does not have the resources to take care of this.  One solution are tax credits for businesses that help the parents in this area.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Many cases of abuse and neglect is because parents dont have jobs or a way to take care of their families.  Jobs Jobs Jobs are one solution whereby the father/mother are earners and the family is better off.  Jobs are created where business can be free.  I would work to take laws OFF THE BOOKS that hinder and hamper our local business and let them once again open markets and offer local Oregonians jobs.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

We need to raise these funding levels As a public school teacher I saw this for the over 20 years in the classroom.  We need to find the finds and fund these agencies!

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I will be a priority for me to see to it that siblings stay together.  This will keep some sort of stability in their young lives.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I would help in this area by doing all I can to see to it these children are in school where they can gain an education that can assist them in becoming self sufficient.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I would work on modifying or getting rid of the kicker!

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Burton_Keeble

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I am a retired technical writer who wants to participate directly in state government. You can find out more about me at burtonkeeble.com Children deserve to have the best possible lives, especially in this, the richest country in the world.  But, too often, children are the product of/broken homes and impoverished families.  I want part of my political legacy to be that I supported the well being of the children of Oregon.  I will gladly support any feasible legislation that has the benefit of Oregon children as its goal.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

First of all, why were the other 50% left behind?  We need to encourage legislation that will guarantee health coverage to all of Oregon’s children.  An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure, especially when it’s the taxpayer’s pound.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

I would certainly have approved SB 101, which Authorizes payment for dental services under Family Health Insurance Assistance Program and under private health option of Health Care for All Oregon Children program.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

I will do everything possible to help improve Oregon’s economy and put people back to work so that they can afford the basic necessities of life, including a safe and healthy way to raise their children. I have no specifics, beyond what I have mentioned in Question 11.  A broader tax base insures us that there will be more money available for state programs to address the needs of all of Oregon’s children who are currently living in poverty.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

Frankly, I don’t like the idea of a nanny state. Why should tax payers be held hostage to the poor decisions of others?  The state is already providing education K-12.  State and local governments certify day-care facilities.  Not every parent can afford child care, especially those living below the poverty level. Should we have state run day-care for financially challenged families?  If so, those families should prove that they are fiscally prudent that they don’t waste their money on things they don’t need.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Semiannual Physical and psychological checkups are the best immediate assurance of the child’s well being that come to mind.  Drug and alcohol counseling for the adults, where appropriate, would be a good beginning. We need to remove children from homes where drugs and alcohol are mitigating factors to their well being.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

I thought all claims of abuse were investigated. If not, they should be. There is no 100% way to insure a foster child’s safety short of placing them in a secured facility.  Again, frequent check-ins with the foster parents is a good idea. Also, the case-worker’s instincts come into play here.  Maybe a monthly one-on-one conference between the child and the case worker would be a good idea.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I would support a standardized communication form that the children and their relatives could all use. The communication would be on a weekly basis.  Of course, there are are circumstances where communication with the relatives is not a good idea.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

Find a way to improve that access! 40% is not acceptable.  Motivation is a big challenge for many teens, not just those in foster care. I would make it a priority that the foster parents give proof that they are promoting those life skills and training not just baby-sitting.  Maybe the teen’s report card could be used as an indicator of the parents care performance. A ‘C’ average should be the minimum.  A lot of foster care teens are troubled kids. Frequent review of the teen’s progress (at least monthly) would be a good way of assessing progress.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

When things are bad, children get left behind, along with the rest of Oregonians. We have to fix the economy so that everyone, especially children can benefit from fiscal stability.  We currently have the highest marginal personal income tax in the U.S. Measures 65 and 66 have failed to achieve their projected result and need to be repealed. We need to reduce regulatory fees and give tax credits to small businesses. And, Allow extra tax incentives for start-up businesses. We need to make Oregon a Right-to-Work state.  All of these actions will encourage businesses to move to Oregon. That will result in jobs which will result in an increased and more stable tax base.

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Carl_Hosticka

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I have served in public office for a number of years as a State Representative and a Metro Councilor.  I have a good understanding of how policy gets made and who bears the burdens and who reaps the benefits.  For the past eighteen months, I have provided day care for my granddaughter 1 1/2 days per week.  This has given me an important perspective on issues facing children.  I would like to assure that:    the K-20 system of education is adequately funded,    all children have a safe, stable and nurturing home environment   we continue to reduce the number of children growing up in poverty

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

We need to enhance the programs we have.  In addition, we need to fund outreach programs to find children who are eligible but not currently enrolled.  We should renew the insurance tax that funds Healthy Kids and make sure all appropriate entities are contributing.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

We need to make sure that the CCO’s are working properly.  We should integrate oral health with physical health with emphasis on prevention and early detection of oral disease.  I support including dental care in the Healthy Kids program.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

We should adopt policies and programs that create family wage jobs - this includes investing in public infrastructure.  We need to assure adequate funding for TANF.  Expand employment related day care.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

The state should assure that all children are cared for in a supportive environment.  I support the Governor’s plans to require ERDC and make day care part of the early educational system.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

We need to provide training to all professionals who interact with children so that they can detect signs of abuse and neglect.  Our programs to provide services for abused and neglected children needs to be adequately funded.  Case workers need the time and resources to serve this group of people.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

I would welcome any suggestions about how to do this.  My step-daughter is a case worker in child welfare and indicates that there are too many cases and too few workers.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

see above

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

see above

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

We need to have a stable and fair revenue system that provides adequate funding for all services.  We can start by revising the kicker law to provide a rainy day fund for times when State Revenues decline due to economic circumstances.  We need to overhaul our income tax system to get rid of many loopholes and assure that every resident pays their fair share for the costs of civilization.  Over the long haul, we should examine other ways of collecting revenue to make the system more stable and fairer without increasing the burden on people who are struggling.

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Carolyn_Tomei

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

As a former social worker I have always understood the hurdles that arise in taking care for a child’s wellbeing. My social work was concentrated on working with children. I worked as a Child Development Specialist for Portland Public Schools, a School Consultant for Multnomah County Mental Health, and a Group Home Specialist for Adolescents for the Children’s Services Division. I also taught at Portland Community College.  With this background, I have seen how important education and a strong family environment can be. As your legislator I plan on continuing to support and create legislation that will protect our kids. Last session, for example, I created and championed legislation that cracked down on Hookah bars that targeted our children with candy flavored tobacco and a “club” like atmosphere. These bars also had low incentive to make sure that their customers were of legal age. Among retail outlets of tobacco in general there has been a lack of motivation to make sure that those buying tobacco were of legal age. Although Oregon had a law that made it illegal for minors to buy tobacco there was no penalty for selling to minors. My legislation stopped the proliferation of hookah bars throughout Oregon and created retail tobacco stings that incentivized checking the age of those who buy tobacco. Both of these approaches helped to ensure the wellbeing of our children.  I will continue this approach throughout my terms as your legislator.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I will continue to support programs that ensure that Oregon’s children are insured and receiving preventative and palliative care. I believe, as a state, we are responsible for the wellbeing of our kids.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

I am a strong supporter of The Children’s Program created by ODS and the Oregon Educators Benefit Board which ensures that uninsured children in Oregon have access to dental care. I do believe that we should try to transition the program from a referral based program to an open-enrollment program. I believe that, just like primary medical care, children in Oregon deserve primary dental care.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

As a former co-chair of the Oregon Women’s Health and Wellness Alliance and Chair of the House Human Services Committee, I fought to retain funding for SNAP and TANF. I know first hand how difficult it can be for children who go to school hungry to learn and function in a classroom. It is paramount that our children are given proper shelter, nutrition, and education. Our current funding situation does not meet these requirements for a lot of Oregon’s children. I will continue to support our educators, fund our schools, SNAP, TANF, and legislation that requires we provide affordable afterschool care for parents so they can keep working. I believe we can do better.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

In Oregon last year, the average cost of full-time infant care was $8,988, or 46 percent of the median single-parent family income of $19,569.  The average cost of care for two children in a center was $15,468, or 79 percent of the median single-parent family income.  Needless to say, this is not affordable and something needs to be done about it. I was a full supporter of the expansion of Employment Related Day Care when it came before the House last session. Although we did not get the full expansion of helping 10,000 Oregon families I am satisfied that we increased the number of families helped to 8,600 from 7,600 the previous year. I think it is the responsibility of the state to make sure we are helping families be productive citizens and ERDC is one definite way we can help.  We need to increase childcare subsidies to low income families to ensure that people can keep their jobs and feel safe about sending their children to these facilities.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

This is an issue that is very important to me and I have continued to work on throughout my career as both a legislator and a social worker. I championed the faith healing legislation that requires parents to seek medical help regardless of their religious beliefs and holds them accountable for their child’s healthcare access. I also worked on sex trafficking legislation that focused on increasing the punishment for the selling and buying of children regardless of whether or not the child’s age was known. I championed bringing domestic violence specialists into child welfare offices to better protect victims.  As a former chair of the Oregon Women’s Health and Wellness Alliance (OWHWA) I helped support and champion legislation that focuses on increased education to reduce teen dating violence. The OWHWA has also worked on protecting women who have been victims of domestic violence and, in turn, protecting their children.  I will continue to build and pursue policies that defend women and children in a way that empowers them.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

I will maintain funding for pertinent programs and avoid further cuts. I will continue to   create and implement policy that increases transparency of the foster care program and fully vets every claim of abuse. We need to create an environment where people are not afraid or embarrassed to come forward when having been abused or when they know of a case of abuse.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

It is incredibly important for the mental health of children placed in foster care to maintain a level of contact with siblings, and if possible, to live with them. I will continue to support and protect programs, like Stand for Children and Children First that tangibly demonstrate their effectiveness.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I will support programs like the Independent Living Program and work to maintain the funding they receive from the state. In better times, I will to try to increase the size of such programs so that more children can be assisted in the transition from foster care to independent care.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

Getting rid of the corporate kicker and using that money to expand our rainy day fund should be a number one priority.  We need to make sure that everyone is paying and taking a fair share of the responsibility to make certain that our state functions as every Oregonian needs it to.  The responsible thing would be to restore the Oregon Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that helps low income families especially ones with small children. This credit expires in 2013 and it is unfair to leave Oregon families who depend on this credit waiting with baited breath. The great thing about this credit is that it traditionally has had bipartisan support. The state spends more on tax breaks than it does on education, health care, and public safety. I believe we need to reroute these cuts to benefit our children and the families that raise them.

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Catherine_McKeown

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

My family has called the South Coast home for four generations. I was born and raised in Coos Bay and brought my own children here so they could grow up in the community that my husband and I love. When they were young I got involved in our local schools and was soon appointed to the school board. During my 11 year tenure in this position, I saw troubling changes in our community and region of the state. There were 2,000 students at Marshfield High School when I graduated in 1970. When my son graduated in 1997, there were 1,200. Today, there are fewer than eight hundred students at the high school. Eight of the ten elementary schools open when I attended are now closed. This change in student population tells a story of what has happened to communities up and down the South Coast. As the timber and fishing industries changed work became harder to find and young families left the area.  I fell in love with public service more than twenty years ago working with young people in our schools. I am passionate about ensuring our kids receive a world class education and have the resources they need to make a seamless transition to education or training programs after high school. When Governor Kulongoski invited me to join the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay Commission in 2003, I accepted the position because I believe the port is the best economic driver that can put our community back to work. As Vice Chairwoman for the past eight years, I have been on the front lines of efforts to purchase and rehabilitate the Coos Bay Rail Line, reinvest in vital transportation infrastructure on the South Coast and generate local jobs. I’m running for the legislature to continue the mission of creating real opportunities for job growth on the South Coast and throughout Oregon. When we put people back to work, we can invest in our kids’ education, keep our communities healthy and safe and provide extra resources to those families that need a little extra help.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I have spent the last few months educating myself about the health care system in Oregon and recent health care transformation legislation. I believe the creation of CCOs with an eye toward streamlining the health care system, cutting costs and improving overall patient health is a step in the right direction. How well this system will work and how great the savings will be is yet to be determined. If successful in cutting costs, the state may be able to expand the umbrella of the Oregon Health Plan to serve more children. The creation of a health care exchange will also help expand affordable coverage to a greater number of families and small business owners. I look forward to the opportunity to be a part of further discussions on this issue as Oregon leads the country in health care reform. Increasing the number of children with health insurance should be a top priority as we move forward with efforts to improve the health and well-being of all Oregonians.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

It is my understanding that the new CCOs will incorporate dental care as a central component of this effort to improve the health of Oregonians. Poor oral health is often an indicator of overall poor health. It is my hope that this innovative, holistic approach to health care will help us better address the oral health of Oregon children.  I also believe that our state needs to have a robust discussion about putting fluoride in our water supply. Recent studies have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of fluoridation and this is an issue that we should consider seriously.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

The decline of the timber and fishing industries during over the past four decades dramatically impacted the economy of the southern Oregon coast. As living wage jobs became harder to find, young families left the area. A majority of the families that remain live in poverty. At Madison Elementary School in Coos Bay, more than 85% of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch.  When Governor Kulongoski invited me to take a seat on the Port Commission in 2003, I accepted the offer because I believe the Port is key to the economic revitalization of the coast. For the past eight years, I’ve worked hard to foster new development and reinvest in transportation infrastructure to create more economic opportunities in our region and put people back to work. A lack of meaningful employment in our communities is the reason a majority of kids live in poverty.  As a legislator, my top priority will be to help foster a more business friendly environment in Oregon so more parents have the ability to go to work, earn a living wage and care for their families. To create this economic climate, we must takes steps to make the permitting process objective and efficient and make sure businesses have access to the capital they need to open their doors and generate local economic activity.  A strong education system is also vital to addressing poverty in our communities. The state must reinvest in early childhood and K-12 education programs and make sure all students regardless of socio-economic status have access to knowledge about education and training options and the resources that exist to help them get there. In this way, we can help prepare all kids to be successful in the twenty-first century economy and lift more families out of poverty in future generations.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

Access to quality, affordable child care is critical to the health and well-being of children, families and our economy. We know that early education is fundamental to prepare children to be successful in school and later in life. I look forward to learning more about how we can increase access to these educational opportunities and expand this important partnership between education and childcare providers.  I believe the state has a vested interest in making sure parents have access to quality child care. Programs like the ERDC are increasingly important given the skyrocketing costs of care. These programs allow more parents to go to work helping stabilize the economy and providing these parents with the resources they need to care for their families. The rising cost of child care itself is an issue I am very concerned about and would like to be involved in conversations about potential legislative fixes that can help our state address this problem.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Child abuse and neglect, like drug/alcohol issues and domestic violence, often stem from stresses within the family including lack of employment or the inability to make a living wage. That being said, I believe a focus on putting our communities back to work is an important piece of preventing child abuse and neglect.  Making sure agencies and organizations that deal with drug/alcohol issues and domestic violence have the resources they need to tackle these problems must also be a part of this puzzle. Finally, we must do everything we can to make sure public employees, including law enforcement and social service workers, are adequately trained to identify situations of neglect and abuse and take appropriate action when there is the suspicion a child is being harmed or neglected. I am not familiar with many specific policies aimed at addressing these issues at the legislative level, but I would be interested in learning more about how we can better prevent child abuse and neglect in Oregon.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

We are in a tough budget environment, and I understand the concerns you raise about the staffing levels in Oregon’s child welfare agency. In a perfect world, we would staff these programs at the highest level to make sure all children are well cared for. If elected, I will do my best to ensure these vital programs are not subject to greater cuts than other state agencies. I will also work to make sure child welfare workers are trained at the highest level to identify and respond to claims of child abuse and neglect.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

It’s critical that children in foster care have a safe, stable environment whenever possible to better their chances of living healthy, productive lives. I do not have a great deal of experience in this area, but I am interested in working with Children First for Oregon to learn more about how the legislature may be able to help develop a better system for foster youth in Oregon.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

As an eight year employee of the Oregon Student Access Commission I became very familiar with the Independent Living Program and the Chafee Education Grant, which provides funding to help current or former foster care youth with post-secondary education or training. These programs are invaluable. I am very vested in issues of higher education and training, particularly making sure all students including foster youth have an understanding of the wide range of opportunities available to them and knowledge about the resources that exist to help them reach their goals. I look forward to working with Children First for Oregon to help more foster youth access these resources and develop the skills they need to be successful, independent young people.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

Oregon’s tax structure is a two-legged stool that doesn’t provide a reliable revenue stream to fund critical programs. I personally support efforts to reform the corporate kicker and reinvest these funds in K-12 education, and I will continue to discuss this as one option for revenue reform that will help stabilize our tax structure as a I campaign this fall. The personal kicker may be up for discussion in the future depending upon the will of the electorate this November. We need to take a hard look at these reforms that could provide us with a unique opportunity to build a rainy day fund as a cushion against our unstable taxing structure.  However, I do not think kicker reform is necessarily a long-term solution to our funding problems. As a state, we need to consider a bold re-envisioning of our tax and revenue structure to allow us to fund critical services and reinvest in a quality public education system. I am not sure what this new structure may look like, but this is an issue I am very concerned about and interested in working on as a legislator. Kids must continue to be our focus as we move forward with such reforms and work to create a better state for future generations.

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Christopher_Bangs

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I am a teacher at Canby High School. My wife and I are raising our two kids, Lincoln, 11, and Lucia, 9. Since I began teaching 13 years ago, our state budget’s portion of the K12 budget has dropped 8 percent. Next year, my children and their peers will have a shortened calendar, large classes, no PE classes at all, reduced art and music, and reduced library and computer time. We have cut school buses and middle school sports. At some point, we will expect these kids to fill jobs and create their own businesses, but for the first time in American history, our generation is leaving the next generation a reduced opportunity for economic success. Our problems go beyond the current recession they are a reflection of problems in the state legislature. That is why I am running. I will fight hard to reverse this slide and improve our children’s - and our own - futures.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I support universal health coverage and applaud President Obama’s efforts to this end. About one sixth of my students have no family health care coverage, which means about one sixth of my students’ parents have to decide from time to time whether to take the kids to the doctor or to pay the rent or mortgage. I oppose making parents make these sorts of decision.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

I support universal health care coverage, including dental and eye coverage.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Part of our problem is the chronic underfunding of our school system, which has led to underemployment and unemployment among our graduates. This is my highest priority as a candidate. Additionally, we have geared our K12 program to future college students, although 40% of our students will not attend college or trade schools. We need to do a better job preparing this large segment of our school population for middle income jobs by restoring vocational trade education, like welding, mechanics, and construction. I also support education grants for low income Oregonians in the community colleges and trade schools. I oppose further cuts to support programs for our low income neighbors.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

Child care costs are a tremendous burden on working parents, discouraging many from returning to work after having kids.  The state should support grants for child care so we can more easily return parents to the workplace. The state should also support grants designed to encourage more people to go into day care programs, including with training, meals, and certain equipment.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Child abuse is often a symptom of poverty, which is related to our high unemployment rate, low school support, and inadequate vocational education programs (as mentioned in question 5. Drug and alcohol abuse is also a symptom of poverty and can best be addressed with greater economic opportunity. I support parenting support, including mental health treatment, for parents struggling with child rearing.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

As with the public education system, children suffer because of declining state revenue dedicated to programs mitigating poverty. I see this problem in my classroom every day. Some children greatly benefit from foster care, but others end up with inadequate foster parents, which can only be addressed with sufficient budget support to staff child welfare agencies. I support fully staffing these agencies.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I applaud child welfare agencies in trying to keep siblings together and bemoan the loss of state support for these agencies. I recognize the importance of maintaining family connections and relationships with friends and teachers at school, and also the relationship between shifting children from foster family to foster family and school to school on future economic success.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I support fully funding foster care programs as well as the Independent Living Program. Providing excellent care for our foster children, including in their transitions outside of foster care, will have a long term positive impact on reducing our overall need for foster care in the future.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I believe the income tax rate is too high, that the state is overdependent on it (with 85% of the budget coming from income tax). I support lowering the income tax rate and replacing the revenue with a more stable tax structure better able to withstand recessions. This is the basic problem in a number of vital services the state provides, including the K12 budget, which is my primary focus as a candidate. As a teacher, I have seen first hand the problems with inconsistent (and inadequate) funding caused by recessions. A sales tax or an increased property tax will better prepare us to handle recessions without having to lay off so many teachers, health care workers, police officers, and child welfare workers. This is one of my key solutions to solving our budgetary problems.

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Dan_Farrington

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I believe investing in children and making sure that they are safe, emotionally healthy, with a variety of options to find a productive place in society, is the key a healthy, happy community. We need to find long-term stable solutions in revising and improving the programs already available to children and their families. I will work to mobilize partnerships between business, community organizations, and government entities, and work to bring all the parties to the table and find beneficial solutions for everyone.  My life experience is testament to how strong I believe in giving to others, community service, and the need to work as a team to benefit everyone. I was raised in Newport, Oregon and have 4 brothers. My parents were very active in the community and taught us to work hard, care about others, and that everyone needs to pitch in to help each other.    I have raised 6 children in Salem, Oregon, including 4 stepchildren. All, except my oldest daughter, lived full time with us. My wife had missionary parents who spent a lifetime giving and serving others but necessitated her living in boarding school and with foster parents.  We have some empathy for the complicated relationships that families today have and the difficulty of balancing everyone’s needs.    We both care deeply about children and have been very active in multiple community programs. My wife volunteered at Victims Assistance for several years and served on the Citizen Review Board for over 10 years. She works as an RN at Salem Hospital. I have spent over 30 years coaching boy and girls, age 4 through 18, in multiple sports, as a way to help kids find confidence and success and learn how to translate the life lessons of teamwork, discipline, and ability to win and lose to the real world. At each stage, I led programs, worked to improve facilities and program options for the kids, and strengthen the relationships with the feeder youth programs to the high-school programs.    My work experience has varied from working at Safeway and as a caddy at the golf course during high-school, the Pulp Mill as a college student putting myself though school, marketing for Dutch-Girl Ice Cream, managing and growing the Rock-N-Rodgers restaurants from one restaurant with 6 employees to 3 restaurants with 54 employees. I had to switch to a more family friendly job when I married again and began marketing for an Independent Medical Exam business until I became the owner of my own business 10 years ago.    As a parent, business employee and owner, and coach, I have had to continually look for ways to improve communication and bring different interests to the table to encourage teamwork and find common goals.    My business peers nominated me to be President of the Independent Medical Exam Association that helped to create SB 311 in 2005 to balance the interests of the injured worker and insurance companies. This experience with the legislative process was the motivation for me entering politics, hoping to make a positive difference in our communities and state.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

Oregon has tried to help expand health coverage to children but administrative barriers continue to keep eligible children and families from accessing care.  a. I support assisting school districts to expand School-Based Health Services that can regularly provide dental care, mental health care and health screening to children. This is the perfect venue to reach kids that may fall through the cracks, especially if they have to depend on an adult to take them and wade through the paperwork to get health care.  b. We need to examine the laws and regulations that address these issues and make the paperwork, access to care, and administrative forms, simple and friendly to use. This should include streamlining participation opportunities for providers and getting rid of barriers for retired practitioners to volunteer services. Of course, there probably needs to be a test of competency to ensure the quality of care, but something reasonable and not discouraging for providers.  c. I support including tax incentives for providers to work in rural areas and to explore tax breaks for providers who would work regularly, such as one day a month, in a School Based Health Clinic.  d. Especially in these tough economic times, we should explore alternate ways to benefit and compensate providers who are willing to partner with schools to provide free or reduced-cost services, such as a variety of forms for public recognition that could stimulate their business.  e. I support working with teaching institutions to set up health practitioners-in-training, during internships, etc. to provide services to children.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Many of the suggestions in Question 3 apply to improved dental access and care to more children. I think improving the partnerships with dentists, hygienists, and oral surgeons to find alternative forms of compensation or benefit is key to expanding coverage for needy children in these times when funds are short.  I do support the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange legislation under certain criteria. For instance, a Duel Market exchange model will increase competition and innovation. It should be open to employers of all sizes and offer as much choice as possible. The exchange should be a lean program that is transparent and be easy to understand and access. The exchange should be a public corporation that includes a qualified governing board and allows any carrier who meets reasonable standards of access and quality should be allowed to offer plans within the Exchange. It should be funded by an annual fee on users and dedicated solely to cover the costs of administering the Exchange.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

A. Oregon has tried to implement subsidies and tax credits to help families in poverty, but they continue to be underutilized. I support finding ways to reach out to families who would benefit from these programs, possibly through hospitals and schools, and streamlining, simplifying, and stabilizing the requirements so that they are user friendly.  B. Many communities have drastically reduced the effects of poverty and crime by creating strong partnerships in the community that implement effective programs to help needy families.  I would advocate for these program and find ways to replicate them across the state. Examples in Salem include Churches as Neighborhood Centers, Interfaith Hospitality Network, the Ike Box, Forever Homes, Family Building Blocks, Mano a Mano, Mid Valley Mentors, and Liberty House. My experience is that these volunteer based programs are the most effective at helping families.  C. If we can get the Oregon economy moving again there will be more funds for meeting the needs of children, schools, and public safety. Owning my own business and meeting the responsibilities of 6 children growing up and attending college, including 3 graduate programs, I recognize the struggle many families are having making ends meet. I believe we need to cut out regulations that aren’t helping and that create barriers for small business to grow (similar to the administrative barriers that prevent children getting health care). And we need to cut waste and fraud in programs and expect objective accountability to prove effectiveness.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

Strong, healthy relationships in the first few years of life are crucial to laying the groundwork for a healthy, happy, productive future for each child. We must invest in early childhood.  But “how” we accomplish it is the real question.    I think we need to find additional alternative creative solutions to meeting the needs of families to maintain a job and care for children. I would support incentives that encourage community organizations, churches, schools, retirement and neighborhood associations etc. to fill this need in their communities.  Voluntary flexible options for employers to help with childcare as part of the employee’s salary should be available and explained to businesses. But many small businesses are feeling that they must carry all of society’s needs on their shoulders and their profit margins are too small to afford it. The bigger businesses simply leave the state as the tax mandates increase.    The most important factor is at least one stable, caring person who nurtures the child and quickly and adequately responds to their needs. Does funding childcare programs necessarily guarantee this need is met? There are a lot of great daycare workers and many who are not. Is this really the responsibility of the business owner, or it is a family or neighborhood issue?  I don’t see any easy answer to this issue but it needs to be studied and solutions found by bringing workers, employers and community leaders together.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Safety is a basic right and we need to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.  A. We need better methods and systems to identify children at risk and to implement proven ways to follow up and support these families. I think this is best done by strengthening the community partnerships and volunteer-based services that are already doing a great job in many of our neighborhoods. Every family member needs to be connected in a meaningful way as a way to prevent the cycle of drugs, alcohol, and abuse.  B. The Child Protective Services needs adequate resources to do their work and we must decrease their caseload so that they can pay closer attention to these families whose needs are increasingly complicated. I support increased funding to DHS as long as there are also reasonable and regular follow-up and objective accountability expected of the caseworkers and managers. Some programs across the state do a better job than others and we need to implement proven best practice in a consistent manner.  C. There is a wide diversity of drug and alcohol programs available for parents to meet the requirements to get their children back home, but many have not shown to be effective. We need better assessment tools and more available, proven substance abuse prevention and treatment programs with access to long term treatment and follow up supports in order to keep families stable. This is another area that needs community involvement to be effective over the long term.  D. We need to simplify and streamline the rules and administrative barriers that discourage qualified persons from being foster parents. Better support and efforts to find consistent, long -term caregivers is vital to help children in dependent care.  Expanding Forever Homes so foster children can stay in one place even if their care provider changes is a great example of thinking long term and addressing the core needs of the child.  I support any effort in this direction.  E. We need work with local school boards and parent associations to implement the school’s with education materials that talk about infant/children’s needs and reasonable expectations for children’s behavior. We need to encourage mentoring and big brother/sister programs and teach healthy methods of conflict management.  F. I support creating a forum or committee of parents, foster parents, police, caseworkers, teachers, health/mental health providers etc to work on ways to improve systems that affect children and families. Continual, transparent, and civil communication would help identify barriers and problems and explore ways to fix them.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

I will work to ensure adequate funding is available to decrease the case load of child welfare workers to a reasonable size and strengthen investments for proven prevention and treatment programs, as well as making sure there is reasonable, consistent and proper accountability and oversight for case workers and their team.  Possibly a volunteer citizen committee that looks at case work and ensures follow up would be an option, much like the CRB, but in this case just looks over complaints of abuse or neglect and how they were followed up.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I think long term connections are vital to a child’s feeling of worth and emotional stability and growth.  1.Support the CRB that works to ensure DHS follows through with state mandates in these areas.  2. Streamlining the administrative barriers to becoming a foster parent and work toward implementing more Forever Homes. 3. Encourage community connections and support programs such as, Churches as Neighborhood Centers, Interfaith Hospitality Network, the Ike Box, Forever Homes, Family Building Blocks, Mano a Mano, Mid Valley Mentors, and Liberty House. 4. Work with DHS, community organizations, and other parties to improve programs and support resources to families and foster children. Find creative resources committed to a long term relationship with children that could “adopt” a foster child for family outings and weekends, etc.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

The CRB was doing a good job in Marion County by making negative findings when DHS workers did not follow through on connecting kids to the ILP. This changed case worker practice since negative findings were tied to funding for DHS.  There are many benefits in place now for foster youth but we still need to do a better job of connecting kids and informing foster parents, schools, coaches, teachers, pastors, of the opportunities available.  I support any proven program to connect children to resources and expand their opportunities for success.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

We need a stable funding base with reasonable long term goals. I think there are many unnecessary regulations that create barriers for people to access programs and donate to programs that benefit children and families.  But I think the best solution in tough times for long term stability and proven effectiveness is strengthening community support programs and strengthening partnerships with business, schools, care providers, churches and volunteer programs.

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David_Gomberg

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I’m a small business owner. We operate the NorthWest Winds kites stores on the Oregon Coast. I’m running in HD10 which reaches from Waldport to Tillamook and inland to Sheridan.  I was compelled to run for this seat when I realized that half the kids in our schools are on subsidized meals, one third live below the poverty level, and ten percent are homeless. And not surprisingly, only 60 per cent are graduating.  Our rates of poverty, child abuse, and homelessness are well higher than the state averages. Parenting is a tough, stressful task when you’re struggling to make ends meet with multiple part-time, minimum wage jobs. Having a free after school program to rely on, so you know your kids are safe while you’re still at work, reduces stress. So does affordable childcare, precious little of which currently exists. And reduced stress makes for better parenting, and thus for more successful kids.  Society saves in the long run by providing early services to children. Studies show that early childhood education saves taxpayers $16 for every $1 invested.  My priority will be to give children the opportunities they deserve to succeed and become the positive force in society we all want them to be.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I support the expansion of Oregon Healthy Kids so that all of Oregon’s children will be insured. I’m in favor of school-based health centers, the development of rural health clinics and incentives to encourage health care providers to practice in underserved Oregon communities.  Kids deserve heath care coverage. But all Oregonians should have access to affordable and accessible health care and insurance.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Maintaining dental benefits in OHP will be a priority for me. I support providing fluoride and training to child care facilities regarding how to brush teeth and maintain proper care of teeth and oral hygiene.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Oregon families need to have opportunities for family wage, fully benefited jobs. Employment/business development is critical to alleviating poverty in Oregon. Adults must have access to affordable childcare and continuing education and job training. We must find ways to keep our students in school and to prevent early pregnancies.  Locally, I support the Children’s Trust of Lincoln County which is modeled on the Portland Children’s Levy.  I’m also an advocate of our rural community colleges which help kids complete their education, train workers for new jobs, turn unemployment into re-employment, and support job-creating small businesses

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

In Oregon last year, the average cost of full-time infant care was about $9,000—nearly half the median single-parent family income.  The average cost of care for two children was almost 80% of the median single-parent family income.  Needless to say, this is not affordable and something needs to be done about it.  We need to increase childcare subsidies to low income families to ensure that people can keep their jobs and feel safe about sending their children to these facilities. We need a coordinated plan. I support the Early Learning Council that will unite health care and education for life long success.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

I will pursue policies that defend women and children in a way that empowers them. That means protecting women who have been victims of domestic violence and, in turn, protecting their children.  I support faith healing legislation that requires parents to seek medical help regardless of their religious beliefs and holds them accountable for their child’s healthcare access. I support sex trafficking legislation that focuses on increasing the punishment for the selling and buying of children. I believe we must bring domestic violence specialists into child welfare offices to better protect victims. I support legislation that focuses on increased education to reduce teen dating violence.  I believe we need to reach out to community based organizations to make strategic, long term plans to bring for-profit, non-profit and public agencies together in a strong team to for prevention and intervention in abusive situations.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

I believe the child protective services staff members generally do a good job against overwhelming odds. I think DHS is working hard to make sure their workers have adequate support, but in the times of shrinking budgets this is a problem.  And occasionally a tragedy slips through their net.  I will maintain funding for pertinent programs and avoid further cuts. I will continue to create and implement policy that increases transparency of the foster care program and fully vets every claim of abuse.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I will support programs aim to keep siblings together during foster care.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I will support policies that expand Oregon’s Independent Living Program. I will also support additional training for foster parents so they are able to implement the goals of the Independent Living Program and I would support a mentoring program for all high school students in foster care.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

Getting rid of the corporate and personal kickers and using that money to expand our rainy day fund should be a number one priority.  We need to make sure that everyone is paying and taking a fair share of the responsibility to make certain that our state functions as every Oregonian needs it to.  I will support kicker reform and reviewing any and all tax abatements to insure all are meeting their stated goals and if not abatements must be withdrawn.  I support a governor appointed task force, legislated to tackle finance reform with the goal of doing town halls and community outreach throughout the state to bring recommendations to the legislature.  (Note: Some information here taken from News Lincoln County and from consultation with standing legislators.)

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Eldon_Rollins

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

User Provided No Response

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

Single payer universal coverage.  Barring that, universal coverage for kids, bar none.  We need to look at whether individual Health care providers are suffering from: 1.  not enough patients 2. Not enough time. 3. Not enough cooperation from insurance.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Put dental on the above universal coverage.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

I believe everybody has a right to provide for their families. We need more jobs, higher wages, a better safety net, and fewer billionaires whining about how tough things have gotten for them lately.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

What age of cheldren are we talking about? State or local government should mandate affordable child care for working families.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Treatment programs. Making poverty obsolete. Investing in jobs and investing in families.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

We should provide all the trained and compentent personnel we need, because when things go wrong, they can really go wrong.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

Keep the kids together when possible. When not, require they be allowed to communicate and visit - create a sibling communication network

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

Make it available for everyone who needs it.  Its cheaper than funding new prisons.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

Don’t know yet.

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Elizabeth_Hayward

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I am currently the State Senator for District 17, having been appointed to fill the seat vacated by Suzanne Bonamici.  I am a family physician by profession, on faculty at OHSU since 1999, where I am an Associate Professor.  I have lived in Oregon since 1991.  I am the Immediate Past President of the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians, on the board of the Catlin Gabel School and Congregation Neveh Shalom, and served as a Girl Scout leader for both my younger daugthers’ troops for ten years.  I also volunteer at a safety net clinic for the uninsured.  I am running for the Oregon Legislature because in my first seven months in office I have proven that I am highly effective at building relationships with legislators and advocates across the political spectrum, focusing on the goal of helping Oregon become the healthiest, best educated, most economically stable state in the nation.  The skills I have honed over 25 years in family medicine, including a commitment to lifelong learning, the ability to listen carefully to many perspectives and to communicate clearly, and to build relationships with a wide range of people, combined with my passion for service to our state make me the best candidate for this office.  My platform for this election and my legislative priorities include a strong focus on social determinants of health, including high quality, affordable health care for all, quality public education for all and a robust economy with living wage jobs for all.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

As a Family Physician, ensuring access to high-quality health care for all Oregonians has been one of my top priorities for decades. Expanding Medicaid and implementing a robust, consumer-oriented health insurance exchange are critical.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Every child needs and deserves access to oral health care. I support expanding insurance coverage requirements as well as strengthening oral health programs at schools. I also support universal fluoridation of municipal water supplies to improve dental and bone health.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

I will fight hard to protect existing funding levels for essential services and, as the economy improves and tax revenue increases, restoring those programs to pre-recession funding levels. I believe the programs planned by the passage of the early childhood bill in 2012 will significantly improve access to services for children. Furthermore, I plan to work with DHS to streamline entry points into services for families struggling to get by. The current system is not family- or child-centered, but rather government-centered, and I believe it would be possible to change this in ways that improve caseloads for DHS workers and ease access to critical services for families.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

Early education programs are one of the most effective ways of ensuring success for students later in life. I am a big supporter of Head Start and will continue to advocate for early learning programs. If possible, I would support increased funding for Employment Related Day Care programs to help families get back to work. Additionally, over time the state should work with childcare providers to implement more structured learning into childcare facilities.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

All too often, children in struggling families only come to the attention of DHS after abuse and neglect have already occurred. As a family physician, I am a strong supporter of preventive services, and believe we can develop programs to help families support their children, thereby avoiding abuse and neglect rather than intervening after it occurs.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

We need to restore funding to these programs so that our foster kids are as safe and healthy as possible, and children who are at risk of abuse or neglect are identified and protected as quickly as possible.  Again, I believe that restructuring how case workers interact with families may have some significant benefits in reducing case loads.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

The entire foster care system needs a complete overhaul. This must be done in a thoughtful, evidence-based way. Foster parents and caseworkers alike need substantially more support than they currently receive.  Bureaucratic regulations such as transferring benefits across counties should be minimized to facilitate access to services for children and foster families. We must always put the focus on the child, rather than the workers or the bureaucracy.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

First and foremost, we must work to reduce the number of teens in foster care, by improving in-home interventions early on to help children stay in their own homes with parents who are able to nurture them appropriately.  For those in the system, we should be creative about ways to deliver education and life skills to meet the needs of a range of learning styles, physical locations, etc.  For example, we could offer online, interactive programs and facilitated chat rooms that could help teens get asynchronous education and meet other teens in foster care who aren’t necessarily in their geographic vicinity.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

Repealing the kicker would be a good first step. Ultimately, Oregon’s entire revenue structure must be revamped in a way that provides a stable funding base regardless of the economic climate while being progressive rather than regressive.

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Fred_Thompson

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

Currently Fred Thompson is an insurance agent with his own practice. Prior to that he owned and operated the Thompson Group, a consulting group that provides strategic direction in the areas of infrastructure development, start-up initiatives, fundraising, joint ventures and marketing. The Thompson Group has advised on several important projects for many prominent and growing companies including Louisiana-Pacific Corporation, Avista Corporation and Murphy Plywood Company. He is a board member of Power Partners-USA, Athens Georgia Mr. Thompson has served as President & CEO of several companies in the Mid-West. From 1998 to 2000, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Isobord Enterprises. From 1977 to 1998, he served in various roles (Operations Director, Engineering, Safety, Quality and Environmental) of increasing responsibility for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, rising to Group Manager.  Mr. Thompson served in the United States Army 101st Airborne Helicopter Squad with Vietnam service and received an Honorable Discharge. Mr. Thompson earned a Presidential Key Executive MBA from Pepperdine University, a BS degree in Management from Linfield College, and an Associate Degree in Apprenticeship Trades from Lane Community College in addition, he earned a Millwright Certification, an Oregon Electrical Supervisor’s License and Welding Certifications.  Fred has been married to wife, Stephanie, for more than 22 years their family includes sons Connor, age 16, and Sean, age 14, as well as Jack, the Kerry Blue Terrier.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

The health of children in Oregon and in America needs to be a top priority of all elected officials at all levels. In my position of a CD#5 Congressman I will work with the State Elected Officials and Professionals to understand the health issues of children and be a partner to create short-term and long-term solutions.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

The health of children in Oregon and in America needs to be a top priority of all elected officials at all levels. In my position of a CD#5 Congressman I will work with the State Elected Officials and Professionals to understand the health issues of children and be a partner to create short-term and long-term solutions.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

When elected my top priority is job creation for Mothers, Fathers and caretakers of children.  The creation of jobs will be one factor that ensures that children in Oregon do not remain in Poverty.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

In my position of a CD#5 Congressman I will work with the State Elected Officials and Professionals to understand the problems facing Early Childhood education and be a partner in the creation of solutions.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Safety of all Americans is a top priority and protecting the smallest and most innocent is essential.  In my position of a CD#5 Congressman I will work with the State Elected Officials and Professionals to understand the problems facing children in Oregon and be a partner in the creation of solutions.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

Safety of all Americans is a top priority and protecting the smallest and most innocent is essential.  In my position of a CD#5 Congressman I will work with the State Elected Officials and Professionals to understand the problems facing children in Oregon and be a partner in the creation of solutions.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

In my position of a CD#5 Congressman I will work with the State Elected Officials and Professionals to understand the situations facing Foster Youth and be a partner in creation of solutions.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

In my position of a CD#5 Congressman I will work with the State Elected Officials and Professionals to be a partner in the creation of solutions.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

When elected my top priority is job creation for Oregon.  The short-term and long-term solution for addressing the instability in Oregon is to create a healthy work environment that creates revenue for the state.

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Herman_Baertschiger

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

As a father and grandfather I believe that kids need to have a home, plenty of good food,  opportunities to learn, and a path to follow their dreams. As a long time member and past president of the Grants Pass Active Club I think our motto says it all “NO MAN STANDS AS TALL AS WHEN HE KNEELS TO HELP A CHILD”

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

Health care is a very complex issue. I do believe that children need medical care, especially preventive. As I wade through the health care debates, I will have children at the front of my mind.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Health care is a very complex issue. I do believe that children need medical care, especially preventive. As I wade through the health care debates, I will have children at the front of my mind.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Create more jobs so that parents have the ability to take care of their children. Putting people back to work will solve many of the contentious issues we see today.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

Early childcare or daycare is important to parents. Payment for these services should be first made by the parents. if finical help is needed the use of a sliding scale system may be implemented by the government.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

As with most of our criminal issues we have a small percentage of people doing committing most of the crimes. The sad part is the kids get caught in the middle. At some point government needs to get the parents help. if that does not work then the kids need to get out of the situation. I have seen what HRS is trying to do. Great people. God help them in their tasks.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

I think under the economic environment we are experiencing HRS is doing their best.I would hope that faith based institutions could come to the aid as well.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

Am not sure how to address that issue at this time.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

Am not sure how to address that issue at this time.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

We do not need more taxes. We need more tax payers. To do that we must help bring back confidence to our business in Oregon.By restoring confidence our businesses will start employing people. Employed people will pay taxes. Tax money is what pay for most of the services described it this survey.

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Jackie_Dingfelder

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I currently serve as the State Senator from District 23, representing portions of Northeast and Southeast Portland and Maywood Park. When not in Salem, I work as an Environmental Planner in private practice and attend classes at Portland State University toward a PhD in Public Policy and Administration.  I am serving my eleventh year in the Oregon Legislature and chair the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. I also serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection Committee.  If reelected, I hope to be champion for revenue overhaul.  Children, like too many other Oregonians in need, have been left behind over the past decade as Oregon has continued to simultaneously underfund critical programs while giving tax breaks to the rich.  If we can reverse this trend, Oregon children will be the winners.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

As Children First for Oregon’s own material highlights, growing up healthy is essential for a child’s success.  I’m thrilled the Affordable Care Act has been upheld by the Supreme Court and I am hopeful that all children in Oregon will soon have access to at least basic health care.  As a State Senator, I support making sure all eligible children are able to enroll in the Oregon Health Plan and understand that with the passage of the ACA and Oregon’s negotiations with the Federal government, this will soon be a reality.  Additionally, I support increasing access to oral health for children and promoting mental health screening.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Funding dental care for all Oregon children is ideal.  The lack of dental care is especially prevalent among children in poverty and those that live in rural Oregon.  We should aspire to expand school based dental services and create incentives for dentists to work in low-income and rural areas.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Working to support businesses through tax credits and other incentives when they allow for flexible schedules or provide childcare is important in making sure parents are able to keep their jobs and take care of their children.    I’m also supportive of making sure quality, affordable childcare is available to parents.  The cost to care for a toddler in Oregon has now surpassed the cost of college tuition in Oregon for a year and that’s unacceptable.  Next, making sure children have health coverage is a important piece to protecting the financial stability of Oregon families.  Finally, access to affordable housing is critical. Oregon should increase access to rental assistance and grow Oregon’s Housing Trust Fund.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

There are three primary areas that we should focus on to increase access to childcare in Oregon.  First, we should improve access to Employment Related Day Care subsidies (ERDC) as well as raise awareness of the program.  Next, making sure parents and businesses know of the tax benefits that currently exist will help ease their burden.  Finally, we should support businesses that provide childcare or offer flexible schedules. The state should play a role as outlined above in making sure child care needs are addressed mainly creating incentives for this type of behavior.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

First, if abuse allegations are still not being tracked in foster care providers’ files, we should do what it takes to implement this immediately.  We should look at other ways to improve oversight, which might include making sure that abuse claims are investigated and tracked adequately and making sure that cases “closed at screening,” don’t just get discarded.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

There are two significant ideas that might be considered.  First we should separate the functions of placing foster children and investigating abuse.  Next we should make sure cases involving “less vulnerable” older foster children are adequately reviewed and that all cases are tracked so there is follow up after multiple reports of abuse even if they were ultimately just “closed at screening,” and determined to be unfounded.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

Siblings have of the strongest bonds in life.  The common experience, especially in troubled homes, makes it much easier to relate to your sibling than anyone else.  When entering the foster care system, studies have shown that children have an easier time transitioning when they have the emotional support of their siblings.  I will support any measures that come before the legislature that require the DHS to keep siblings together whenever feasible.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

Oregon should aspire to expand access to programs such as the Independent Living Program and, if needed, provide incentives to make sure the foster children access this program before turning 18.  Foster parents should bear some responsibility in making sure children in their care are able to attend. If it has not been done, a review of how the program has worked for past foster children would be quite beneficial.  While many foster children are clamoring to leave the system, the state should endeavor to manage a program that will keep those in need in the program.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I am an advocate of revising Oregon’s taxes so that we can better take care of our most vulnerable citizens.  I look forward to supporting fundamental tax reform in Oregon.  In the mean time, we’re already doing a better job of monitoring the effectiveness of tax credits.  We should take it another step and eliminate tax credits that help only the wealthy in Oregon.  Finally, I am an advocate of eliminating the tax “kicker” in Oregon and think any funds that may have been paid out of the state should be earmarked for taking care of Oregon’s children and seniors.

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Jennifer_Williamson

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

As a 4th-generation Oregonian, I know that Oregon is a very special place.  Born and raised on a farm in Washington County, I was taught very early the value of both hard work and education.  I first entered the world of politics by chance. While attending the University of Oregon, proposed cuts in financial aid Pell grants and work-study programs threatened to end my academic career before it had really started. Unwilling to let go of my dream of a college education, she became an education activist. A path that lead me to Washington D.C. to work for Senator Mark O. Hatfield to ensure all Oregonians have access to higher education. I went on to receive my JD, cum laude, from Willamette University.  I practiced law in Portland at the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine. I have served two Presidents at Portland State University, most recently as the Assistant Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs and at the Oregon Department of Education on Superintendent Castillo’s executive team.  I believe we are making a moral choice when we cut school funding and increase our corrections budget.  We are forecasting prison beds for kids instead of desks. I will continue to work on finding ways to keep our communities safer by investing in front end programs that stabilize families. We need to focus on helping struggling families get back on their feet.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I believe Oregon needs to move towards a universal publicly funded health care system this would ensure that all children and families would have access to affordable and quality health care.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Oral health care is part of our overall health care and should be included in the universal system we create for Oregon.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Not only do we have to ensure that direct services and emergency aid is available when families need it, but we also must look at changes in the entire system to better respond to families in crisis and living in poverty.  This is why for the past 2 years I have worked with OEA, SEIU, the Human Services Coalition of Oregon and many others as part of Oregon’s Safety and Savings Coalition. The OSSC is made up of organizations that represent a range of perspectives and interests including education, youth, business, human services, victim services and more.  We believe that our public safety system can and should be made more efficient and we can find cost savings through smart public safety reforms that support families, invest in early intervention and education while making our communities safer and controlling costs. I have lead the OSSC advocacy work to flatline prison growth and allow for saved money to be reinvested in what we know helps to ensure real public safety and long term health for our state, like funding for education, victim services, drug and alcohol treatment and mental health services.  Women are the fastest grown population of inmates in Oregon and 75 percent of those women are mothers.  Supporting programs that stabilize families, address the childhood and family poverty rate in Oregon and directly impact student success will not only help single mothers and children, it will also help curb one of the most harmful trends in Oregon.  I am running for office because I grew up in poverty.  I was a free lunch kid at school and my family relied on food stamps and food pantries at times.  With state support, my family received the help it needed and I was able to put myself through college and law school.  I do not believe that kids and families today have the same opportunities and support I had growing up in this state.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

It is imperative that we fund and expand the ERDC program. Access to high quality and affordable child-care is essential for all working parents and for economic growth.  We are lucky to have three parents involved in my step-daughters life to manage care, when she had needed it now she is almost 18 so that is no longer an issue we face. I have 15 nieces and nephews and my brothers and sisters are constantly struggling to patchwork child-care.  We are fortunate to all live close by and pitch in.  High quality child-care should be accessible to all Oregon families, not just some families. My sister works at Nike and everyday she walks by incredible child-care facilities but she can’t afford to enroll her daughter.  We need to support working families like hers with access to high quality child-care, through subsidies and other incentives. We need to support families and invest in their success. Parents are more productive when they know that their child is in good care and our kids will be better off and more prepared to succeed. There are plenty of models that work we just need to make it a priority here in Oregon and have the leadership to see it through. I understand first hand the difficult decisions families must make every day just to get by in our state. We must invest in front end programs that support families.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

We need to fund mental health and community corrections.  Look at ways to utilize secure drug and alcohol treatment centers as alternatives to incarceration especially for parents.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

We need to fund our social services.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

We need to focus on alternatives to incarceration of non-violent offenses especially for parents to ensure that kids are kept in the home when it is safe.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I support the ILP and will fight to keep the funding available. It is imperative we support youth transitioning out of foster care to ensure their success.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I will fight to repeal the corporate and personal kicker in a way that reflects the state’s need to backfill cuts and save money for a rainy day fund for schools.  I support closing corporate tax loopholes and finding savings to ensure that we have enough revenue to fund vital services in our community.  This includes limiting eligibility for tax breaks for those making over $250,000 per year.

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Jessica_Pederson

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I’m running for office because I am proud of my diverse, vibrant neighborhood of East Portland and want to make sure that it gets the representation and resources it deserves.  I’ve been a community activist for years and have the deep connection to my community that’s needed to advocate strongly for our issues and priorities. I am proud that if elected I will be the first Latina in the Oregon State House. I am committed to our East Portland community and working to see it thrive.  I’m the mother of two young children and, like most Oregon parents, I want to be sure they have the best public education as possible.  I’ll work to make sure Oregon kids have smaller class sized and schools receive the stable funding they need to graduate student ready to succeed.  Early childhood education is a special priority for me.  I will be a strong proponent of programs the focus on the well-being of children, such as health care, and the well-being of Oregon’s families such as paid sick leave and access to stable and affordable child care.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I would like to see Oregon move towards a universal publicly funded health care system this would ensure that all children and families would have access to affordable and quality health care.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

We need to treat access to oral health care as part of our health care system. I would like to see this worked in to our Universal health care system. I also support adding fluoride to the water in the Oregon communities that currently do not do so as a means of providing safe dental prevention in a cost effective way to our most vulnerable citizens.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

As a legislator, I would sponsor legislation to continue the EITC and champion the expansion of the ERDC and TANF programs.  As the mother of two young children, I will be a leader in the fight to protect mothers and children.  One of the best ways to level the differences in economic status is through a strong public educational system.  I make sure the needs of differing school districts are considered as we are making changes, setting requirements and discussing funding for public schools.  We must also invest in job training and educational opportunities for single mothers to help them expand their income potential.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

The Employment Related Day Care program is a crucial program for so many working families across our state.  However, the need is even greater than the current program can accommodate.  In order to ensure that all of Oregon’s children are in a stable environment and well cared for while enabling parents to work to support their families, we must expand ERDC and its funding.  I would also support expanding early childhood education programs like the one currently being piloted at Earl Boyles Elementary School in partnership with The Children’s Institute.  I would like to see programs like this expanding throughout Multnomah County and the state.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

We need to support programs that focus on prevention and address the root causes of child abuse and neglect. Funding treatment of drug and alcohol addiction instead of increased jail time is one way to do this.  Supporting the local community and government programs that provide domestic violence services is another.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

We need to look at changing our revenue structures so that we can fund basic services including appropriate staffing levels for social services. It is vital that kids and families have the support they need to prevent abuse and be successful.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I would work closely with Children First of Oregon on legislation that would encourage relative and sibling connections - I know how important this is.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

ILPs are crucial to the success of transitioning youth. I hope to find ways to fund this program that will meet the needs of our population.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I support establishing a rainy day fund for the state using the corporate and individual kickers to help provide funds during economic downturns.  I support closing corporate tax loopholes and finding savings that ensure we have enough revenue in order to fund vital services in our community.  I also support limiting eligibility for tax breaks for those making over $250,000 per year.

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Jim_Diefenderfer

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I want to make sure that education is funded sufficiently. I would also like to see day-care operations supporting working parents. This will help the development of children and reduce the assistance needed by the families.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I believe that everyone in this country should have Health Care. I believe that Medicare for everyone would work.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Dental care should be part of Health Care. The insurance companies have it seperate just to make more money. It needs to be combined.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

I believe that offering Day-Care programs so parents can go work is key to helping families living in Poverty. We also need to create jobs for these parents to work at.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

As stated above, I think that we need a Day-Care program that will enable parents to work. We should also expand this so evening and night shift workers are included.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

I believe that if we can get these parents back to work, many of these issues will go away. Finance is one of the top issues causing family arguments which leads to abuse and neglect.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

Child abuse cases need to have one of the highest priorities. I will work to see that allocation of funds for investigating child abuse is at the appropriate levels. We will have to revise the tax code to have the revenue stream to properly fund all of our necessary programs

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I think that evaluations of foster homes and foster children maybe need some work. Child evaluations by the appropriate doctors my be one issue to identify problem areas that may require a home with different circumstances. Not all homes and children are compatable. The home evaluation may need to be more extensive to identify where some may be more valuable to special needs children.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

The independent living program should be available to all high school students. If we are not offering this to all of our children, we are mising the boat.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

The tax code needs to be revised so we have a reserve in idenditied areas to get us through the tough economic times. We need to push our governments to insure that American jobs are not shipped overseas and keep our work in America.

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Jim_Klahr

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

Mandate music in preschool, help institute new progressive ways of grading, work towards full free health care.

I’ve played music professionally since 14 it helped me with mathematics greatly.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

Free basic healthcare all the way through school. Teach healthier eating habit and bring back physical education from 1st grade on through highschool.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

No sugar drinks sold in schools or candy. Have a state supplie dentist come in once a week or when needed.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Finally start giving these schools their share of the lottey money the promised to get it passed.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

Give tax breaks and incentives to keep one parent at home.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

All children should have the same basic rights to educational methods. Distance learning or classes via the web could help them all.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

I think today people are taxed out. Except for those rich enough to find loop holes. If a corporation, like Wal Mart for instance, wants person hood, then they should pay the same taxes a one middle-classed person. Just Walmarts 7.4% would pay the cost of all the educational financial need.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

First we have to teach the truth about drugs to the children. Get parents into treatment programs, ones that are not court mandated. Forced treatment does not work.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

Across the board, it comes down to funding, we spent to much money warehousing non-violent criminals. The prison system is the gas gusler of State Funds. These agencies need money Oregon spends way to much money here, it should be changed And directed to these agencies.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

These issue of children are simply out growing the Programs that are just under staffed. How do you keep people connected that don’t want to be. More Bog Brother or mentoring style activity.

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Joe_Pishioneri

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

As a father of two, who just became a grandpa a few weeks ago, I care deeply about the children in our state. Not only do we need to address the serious problems in our education system, we need to create the environment where parents have stable jobs to provide for their children. We also need to provide for our kids’ safety by ensuring adequate funding for our public safety system.  As a career public safety officer, I have seen first hand that all kids don’t have the privilege of growing up in homes where their parents take care of them. We need funding to make sure that those kids are cared for and nurtured, to become healthy, community serving adults.  Concurrently, while we make sure those victims are cared for, we need to minimize the problem, by providing parenting education and instituting other programs like the Kitzhaber plan.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I am intrigued with Governor Kitzhaber’s health plan. I want to see how it plays out. If it performs as predicted, helping people learn preventative care, then it sounds like we can save funds here which we can transfer over to education.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Without looking into the Kitzhaber plan fully, it is my hope that it will include dental hygiene for our kids and seniors and I would support that as well.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Oregon needs to become a state the assists the businesses that start here and welcomes those that are seeking to move. As we create that environment, jobs are created - the kind of jobs that provide steady income for families all across this state.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

Again, I am supportive of the Kitzhaber plan and I look forward to seeing what all it will be able to offer our struggling families across this state.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

This question is far too broad to answer here, but the tools I would focus on are: Education Parenting education Law enforcement intervention Social services intervention/programs Active prosecution for offenders Treatment/Counseling Placement Judicial intervention With all these tools, the child’s welfare must be number one.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

Like the Abuse prevention Act, allegations of child neglect or abuse should have a mandatory thorough investigation. When probable cause exists, mandatory intervention should be required.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

Social services/children services should be able at the appropriate time to advocate for all siblings. When desired by those involved, the staff should facilitate reconnections of families. At the minimum, when children reach adulthood, their adult family information should always be available.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

We need to change the way our schools teach. Not only do we need to prepare students for college, but if they are not interested in college, we need to make sure that they have options to learn a trade or other useful skills. We need to make sure our schools are properly funded to achieve these goals.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I support a rainy day fund that would save revenue for future economic downturns or catastrophes.  Again, we need to make Oregon a place where businesses can thrive and produce good paying jobs as well as increasing our revenue stream to protect critical services to our constituents. Instead of taking from one service to pay for another, we need to make sure that all core services are funded. Our children’s wellbeing is definitely a core service.

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John_Huddle

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I am a retired special educator (school psychologist).  I am adopted and adopted two special needs children, now grown.  My doctoral dissertation was on schooling special needs children.  I am a community activist - civil rights, disabled, veterans, seniors, consumer protection, land use.  I want our foster children who cannot return to their birth families in permanent adoptive families (with exceptions).  I feel the foster and special needs adoptive situation is a neglected issue, taking back seat to budget constraints.  In addition, there are so many other issues, such as health care, poverty, etc. that also must be addressed.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

It’s relatively cheap to insure children.  I am concerned about the rising cost of healthcare for children (CNN report).  To afford coverage for all, we must find ways to hold down unjustified costs.  I would support policies to cover all children.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Good dental care is necessary and must be a part of children’s health coverage.  We need to beef up the preventative programs so that all children and their parents understand and follow good oral hygiene.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Oregon is the fourth highest state in the nation in taxing the poor.  HD55 has a high poverty rate, average is 13% with a high of 30%.  We must reduce the tax burden on the poor.  We also need to look at our property tax rate on poor working-class families.  It would be far better to encourage those families to invest in their children’s future than tax and hold them in poverty.  I am an activist to bring adult/higher ed to the La Pine Basin so people can get the training they need to hold family wage jobs and move out of poverty.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

If parents are going to work, child care is vital.  I am a big supporter of subsidized child care.  Otherwise, parents have limited choices and children are at risk for poor care when parents work or go to school.  We need to provide unified and data-based early education program.  I evaluated children in the birth to five year-old range.  We need quality, integrated, early childhood programs that work.  I had the opportunity to observe the best and the worst.  There is no reason Oregon cannot provide quality early childhood education.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

In my experience only a small percentage of parents want to abuse their children.  If we analyze why people abuse substances, we see reasons, such as boredom and hopelessness.  Working with communities to provide education combined with varied opportunities for recreation, work and the opportunity to reach one’s goals (among many other variables) should help prevent some of the abuse.  I prefer that we devote as much money and resources as possible to the prevention of child abuse rather than reacting to the tragedies.  Once a child is abused all we can do is treat and react.  I’ve seen and reported far too many cases of child abuse and neglect, I want to stop it before it happens!

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

We need to require mandatory investigative time frames with clear requirements for resolving investigations.  We also need to establish clear criteria about when to investigate so we don’t waste valuable resources and do harm for frivolous reports.  Part of this is having investigative criteria that is public information rather than contained in agency policy manuals.  Foster children need placement in safe homes.  That means our State must devote more resources to recruiting and supporting those parents.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

Multiple moves are a tragic part of the foster care system.  Part of that tragedy is the use of foster care as a long-term solution to permanency. We need to aggressively pursue reunification when possible and adoption when that isn’t the option.  We also need to place a high priority on sibling and relative connections unless it isn’t in the best interests of the child.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

First, it should be the goal to have zero long-term foster care, although, there will always be some where foster care is the best placement.  When possible, we need to encourage foster families to continue to be the child’s family into adulthood.  Children do not turn into adults at 18, 19 or 20.  They continue to need family support.  We must provide multiple opportunities for foster kids aging out of the system to receive the life skills and training they need to be adults.  They face far greater hurdles than kids in non-disrupted homes.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

First, we need to structure our revenue strands so they are fair and equitable.  We need to plug loopholes and only give tax breaks to corporations when it is a win for Oregon and the corporation.  Second, we must put what is right, first.  That means we take care of our vulnerable first and put other issues second.

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John_Huffman

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I would like to continue my work on, and support of, policies that strengthen our economy and adopt fiscal policies that help all state agencies operate efficiently.  By operating state government in a fiscally responsible manner, and prioritizing services we provide, we will likely have the resources needed to provide a safety net and assist in meeting the critical needs of our children and young families.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

The first and best policies will be to create a positive climate for economic growth and family wage job creation.  Second, though we may not be able to provide health coverage for every child, it is important that families have access to screenings and primary care.  This is why I have supported FQHCs, school based health clinics, vision screenings, the Healthy Beginnings approach to child health screenings, and legislation that allows volunteer health providers to do volunteer screenings/procedures without fear of being sued.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Early oral screenings are absolutely critical, followed by necessary care.  I support the efforts of early oral health as provided by dental visits, FQHC oral check-ups, oral screenings by Healthy Beginnings, the Tooth Taxi and other volunteer efforts.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

I have supported and will continue to support programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Employee Related Daycare.  These programs provide a critical safety net and temporary support for young families and single parent families until they have adequate self support.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

I have always supported increased funding/slots for pre-kindergarten, Early Head Start, Head Start, full day kindergarten and learning/child care programs.  However, I also support “the neighbor” who wants to earn income by caring for 2 or 3 children, as a safe and cost effective option, and not regulate them out of business. I think there is a definite role for government to assist young families through programs like ERDC.  However, I believe these programs should generally be viewed as a safety net and temporary in nature, until the family begins earning enough to move off of the government program.  I also believe we should re-emphasize the importance of family support, when available, and not simply look to the government to meet this need.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

I have been a strong supporter of, AND advocate for local Commissions on Children and Families, Relief Nurseries and programs that shelter from domestic violence.  Also, treatment programs and drug courts tend to be more cost effective than involving families in other parts of “the system”.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

I will continue to encourage DHS management to maximize resources and properly manage those resources.  Channeling legislatively appropriated funds to areas other than what was legislatively approved is not acceptable.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I will continue insisting on family first placement, when appropriate, and enforcement of policies that the department already has in place to best care for the children under their authority.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

First, living skills should be learned within the foster family setting.  As a teen is approaching the time of aging out, the teens’ foster parents and case-worker need to work with the teen to get them aligned with every available/appropriate service and benefit.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I have suggested the reappointment of the Revenue Restructuring Task Force to review options regarding how we tax ourselves.  At the same time, we need to identify the core functions that state tax revenue should pay for.  Then, prioritize the services we provide.  These steps should provide a solid plan for financial stability through economic ups and downs.  These exercises would also provide for adequately funded Rainy Day and Education Stability funds.

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John_Lively

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

My wife Tresa and I have two beautiful daughters, great son-in-laws and four young grandchildren.  I have spent my adult life working for and supporting educational opportunities for children, most recently working to find ways for all children to enter school ready to learn.  In addition, while I wish it was not so, more work is needed to protect our children and to help them recover from child abuse.  I have worked previously with SCAR/Jasper Mountain who is one of the leaders in this area.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I have served for almost a decade on 100% Access here in Lane County.  We have been focused on health care access to all, but first and foremost children. Oregon is a leader in covering children. I support ensuring the funding is available to cover all children in Oregon using programs we already have in place.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

This is another area we have focused on in 100% Access.  Specifically in helping to establish free dental clinics, access to cleaning of teeth at LCC and other efforts.  Part of the new efforts for the new COC here locally is to bring more dental services to children.  Certainly, helping to sponsor more clinics, ensuring parents are aware of services that are available and most of all funding adequate dental coverage.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Helping with childcare so struggling families can work is certainly a priority, so the family hopefully can find jobs that pay better. Providing additional skills training to parents, assistance with job search, increasing on-the-job training and other such efforts needed to be expanded to help raise families and kids out of poverty. Most importantly though, we cannot just stand by and expect they will somehow make gains in these troubling economic times.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

I believe very strongly in the value and return on early childhood education.  That is why I have served on the Success By 6 committee here locally for more than a decade.  The key is making sure good pre-school opportunities are available to all children regardless of economic status.  More needs to be done to address quality pre-schools so the time spent is well spent. It has to be affordable, so again I support more funding to help offset the costs for quality early childhood education for those who especially cannot afford it.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

The agencies charged with investigating and intervening need to be funded at higher levels so case loads are manageable. More training is needed by those who are responsible for enforcing the policies and helping children. These efforts have to also include more opportunities for treatment for family members who need it.  The goal should be to help stabilize and improve the family unit so all can thrive.  Bottom line is we need to have zero tolerance for child abuse and neglect in our society.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

Unfortunately, I think the bottom line is it is going to take more funding. We first have to work harder to create jobs and get people back to work (taking this stress off of some families) and then talk about how we raise the revenues we need in this state to fund the programs most needed by our children and families.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

This is an area where I understand the problem, but do not have enough background to understand what in the near term needs to be changed.  I will listen to the “experts” on all sides of the issue, to try to understand better what changes will help and what needs to be done at the State and Local level.  It will take a coalition of leaders to address this, and I am willing to be part of that coalition.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

As I have mentioned above, until our job market improves we will not have the money we need to address critical issues. We might have some opportunities to change priorities, but I am not in a position at this point to say what I would support cutting.  Certainly, looking at what programs are available and seeing what incremental investment in people or money might help, in the short term will at least give us something to work towards.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I do not believe we can answer our long-term revenue issues in this state with our current tax structure.  I am a strong supporter of the current efforts of our Governor and many others to evaluate options and make recommendations.  Ultimately we need another source of revenue that does not have the same economic cycles as our income tax. Part of that discussion needs to include a consumption tax, but with limits on income tax and property tax as a part, so that voters will not just seeing spending always increasing just because funds do.

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Joyce_Segers

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

Before I ran for Congress I owned a medical billing company where I assisted thousands of people with their issues with insurance companies and laws and from there became an advocate for healthcare. Winning would give me the opportunity to ensure that our children are adequately covered by health insurance and given the support to live in a healthy environment that nurtures them and their families.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

Healthy kids covers a great number of our children, however expanding the program and educating parents and children about preventative health is the key. I would encourage education programs in regard to nutrition, diet and exercise. Childhood asthma, diabetes and obesity can be reduced when both parents and children are made aware of alternatives.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

A great many of severe health issues come from poor dental hygiene. Speaking with a physician in Redmond I learned that a great percentage of patients in rural areas are brought to emergency rooms due to dental infections that have become septic. I would encourage community outreach from local dentists and access to clinics for all Oregon children. Expanding the Medicaid program to include dental care is another important issue.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Working families in Oregon are struggling with growing poverty and our children are growing up without adequate support both physically and emotionally. National policies have switched away from helping those in need and I want to reinstate social programs to support our children and working families. We need to invest in our children’s education and make that this becomes the priority in our state. If children see that we are fighting for their rights through legislation and community organizing they can feel empowered.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

The role of both governments needs to be expanded during these times when families and their children require assistance to cope with even the most basic things. It is our responsibility as a community to step up and help each other. Converting buildings for day care and hiring unemployed teachers and service workers can create a community that will help our children thrive and give parents the opportunity to know their children are cared for. By running these centers, we can allay the costs of private business.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

We need to better screen foster parents and encourage the children to have an open relationship with case workers so they are aware of any abusive issues. We need to allocate funds for community outreach and educate our children of their rights to safe homes and schools. Again money is at the core of our inability to remedy these issues and finding candidates who you believe hold the interests of the people above all, will bring changes in our system.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

At a time when there are many qualified people out of work, we can reallocate funds that will allow community centers to hire case workers who can expose these abuses. We must educate our children and teach them their rights by supporting them as they stand up and tell their truths of what goes on. Educating and collaborating through community is the strongest resource in these difficult times.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

We cannot turn our backs on the youth population who have lost all hope and see themselves as throw aways. Communication with our children by letting them know that there is at the very least, people who are fighting for their rights can have an extremely powerful affect. Also, encouraging our children to speak up in forums with their stories can empower them and get the attention of those in power.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

Mentoring programs can be made more accessible with seniors and retired people who have been marginalized. Combining senior centers with childcare can and will work if we expand our vision. Organizations who have placed workers in jobs can reorient their focus and match children and mentors.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

First we have to make the commitment to our children and let them know they are our priority. Then we must fight to allocate funding back to our most important natural resource, our children. Elections are still our strongest voice to choose candidates who put children first then we can work together to the mutual benefit of children and their families.

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Kathy_Campbell

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I am a middle class Oregonian and I’m concerned about what is happening in the legistature regarding my family and my community. I want to be sure that we are respresentated by folks that are actually living the issues and will stand up to fight for the issues and concerns we all face today.  I have a 17 year old daughter and I’m very aware of the issues with funding in our schools.  ALL children in Oregon deserve a quality education and that is going to involve some serious dialog on funding this next session.  I also have a healthcare back ground and believe we have made some great inroads into providing healthcare especially to more children but we are not done yet.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I want to make sure that the policies and programs we just implemented are just a start and that we build on them until ALL children are covered with healthcare.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Our county has started up several free dental clinics now we need to get the word out on these so that the parents can get their children to them.  Data shows that oral health issues can trigger so many other health issues and are also often the indicator of other health issues and we need to work on getting dental care to all children.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

I will be happy to initiate or work with others on this issue.  We need to work hard to make sure that during these times of cuts that we don’t cut the progams currently in place.  Most have been slashed as far as deemed safe.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

Again another program I would like to work on to expand help to parents.  Without quality daycare most parents cannot hold a job. I was fortunate to have my daughter is a state supported day care program.  It really was the reason I could pursue my career and work a not typical 9-5 job and know that my daughter was in a safe environment.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

We ofcourse need more funding for these programs.  Mental health care programs for child need o be in place.  We also need more legislature to hold parents accountable.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

Again funding is the key issue.  Mental health programs are of major importance when dealing with children in foster care.  Making sure that the foster care parents are aware of what services are available for their child and being able to take part of those progams.  Kids in foster care habe the same needs as all kids and they should be given the same consideration.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

Programs to help address the behavioral issues that a foster child might have before being placed in a home that might not be able to deal with that perticular issue should be added and funded.  Skills in families or more training for foster parents.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

These kids need the tools to make sure that they complete high school.  Benchmarks for them along the way to meet to make sure they are on track.  The foster parents and kids need to know about these programs and work towards what is needed to be included in them.  Incentives for youth to engage in these programs would be an idea.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

We need to work long and hard on what we can do to address the revenue structure of Oregon.  I cannot say it is an easy fix.  We need to create an environment for more jobs.  We need to make sure that our kids are getting those high school degrees and then are going to 4 year college or to a technical school or apprenticeship.  We have to know that the children are our future and we have to work to equip them

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Laurie_Anderson

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I am a registered nurse who has served East County in the Oregon Senate since 2004. As a nurse, I have dealt firsthand with children and families coping with poverty and drug addiction. I have also witnessed a number of deficiencies in our current health care system, both in my personal experience and as a public health nurse. As the price of health care spirals out of control, too many Oregonians lack the means to access even basic health services.  If re-elected, I will be a champion of legislation that helps our most vulnerable populations, particularly children. I will continue to be front and center as chair of the Senate Health Care Committee in the effort to expand access, reform the way care is delivered, and make health care more affordable and accessible to all Oregonians, especially those who are un- or under-insured. Finally, I believe we must bolster funding and reinvest in K-12 public education across the state.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

We have fundamentally redesigned Oregon’s health care system in order to make care more affordable and accessible to all Oregonians.  Health care Reform and Transformation re-envisioned in 2012 integrates and coordinates critical benefits and services within the Oregon Health Plan, increases local accountability for health care and resource allocation, improves standards for safe and effective care, and creates a “global” health care budget. These are all critical pieces that help make quality care accessible. As a result of this redesign, the State is now poised to save millions even billions in the coming years while making our health care system better equipped to care for Oregon’s most vulnerable. I will continue to champion innovative reforms that save the state money, which can then fund critical services that Oregonians rely on, such as K-12 public education and public safety.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Consistent, quality dental care is a critical toward maintaining good overall wellbeing. In 2012, I supported legislation (Senate Bill 738) which will expand access to dental care for Oregonians whose income, health condition, or location make it difficult to see a dentist. The bill created pilot programs and expands the role of dental hygienists in new ways of providing health care.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

I have been a tireless supporter of programs that expand access to quality health care for all Oregonians, particularly our most vulnerable. I supported House Bill 3650 in 2012, which restructures health care delivery for Oregon’s low income patients to better coordinate quality, access, and cost of all types of health care, from dental care to mental health.  This legislation saves taxpayer dollars while providing more comprehensive and preventative care to children and adults. In future legislative sessions, I look forward to championing legislation that improves access to quality health care for all Oregonians.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

Childcare availability is critical to helping lower-income families make ends meet by allowing single mothers and families to go to work and make a living.  I would like to see the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program return to higher rates, and get much closer to meeting the total need for ERDC across Oregon.  I can think of the huge benefit to my district alone if we can increase the number of participants.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

I have been a consistent supporter of legislation that helps protect children and our most vulnerable populations from abuse and neglect. I supported HB 4082, which ensures support for Oregon’s Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs. CASA advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children under the protection of a court. I also voted for SB 1555, which requires school employees to report acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying and acts of cyberbullying. Last but not least, I co-sponsored legislation which prevents teen dating violence by helping young men and women identify and stop abusive tendencies before they become habits and lifestyles.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

First, we must ensure adequate funding for Oregon’s critical services, including the child welfare agency. To increase protections for children and families, I supported HB 4016 in 2011 which expanded the list of people required to report child abuse. I will be a huge supporter of continuing to expand laws that protect children.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I’ve been a big proponent of improving protections for foster children, including supporting Senate Bill 964 in 2012 which will implement a new approach to taking care of children who qualify for child welfare services.  Several pilot projects around Oregon tested these new standards, which provide services and support to help keep families together when appropriate and safe, avoid or limit a child’s placement in foster care, and ensure safety and stability when a child is returned home.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I would be open to proposals that would expand access to the states’ Independent Living Program for all 100 percent of teens exiting the foster care system.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I support a very close examination of tax expenditures to ensure that these credits and deductions are worthy investments that attract additional jobs and revenue to the state.  If a tax break is creating a clear public benefit for the State of Oregon, that’s fine. But if it doesn’t, then let’s fix it or get rid of it.  Beyond tax expenditures, we must also make sure that everyone pays their fair share to fund and sustain education, senior care and public safety. I also want to continue to champion the Oregon Health Care Transformation legislation that will save millions if not billions of dollars for the state. By saving money through an improved health care system, we can then direct savings to other critical public services.

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Lew_Frederick

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

As you probably know, my career has focused, in part, on education and community vitality. As a reporter I took seriously my responsibility to portray North and Northeast Portland fairly and honestly. As a Legislator I am focusing on economic opportunity and on an authentic approach to improving how we educate young minds.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

In the short term, I hope that we examine what has worked in terms of providing more kids with coverage via recent legislation, and that we find opportunities to expand that program until all kids are covered. In the longer term, I believe we need universal health care coverage, not only for the justice and humanity but also because it makes economic sense.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

We need to break down the separation that treats dental, vision and mental health as separate from medical health coverage through better support for coordinated care.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

First, we have to recognize that shortcomings in our health care and educational systems have disproportionate impact on the poor, and if we take from programs such as these in order to support programs directly related to poverty, we will create only turmoil. We need to make comprehensive educational and health care programs available close to home for all kids. We also need to pursue policies that produce jobs, business opportunities and professional opportunities for the adults who care for them.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

This is a complicated picture, and it’s hard to tell where to start. We have an economy that requires many families to bring in two adult incomes, but limited resources to make that work well for children. We also have educational expectations that require substantial exposure to school environments and educational content prior to kindergarten, but limited resources to make that happen except as families with young children, often already financially challenged, can pay for it themselves. I believe we have to continue to push toward full funding to make Head Start and other proven models universally available and accessible. First we should make Head Start available to all who qualify under current financial guidelines.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

While awareness of this issue has increased, State Human Services staff have decreased, and we continue to see occasional instances where reports are inadequately investigated and kids get hurt as a result. At the same time, we know that the staff charged with following up on these reports is over worked and stressed. We can’t keep increasing expectations while decreasing support. We have to commit to long term support to train and employ more professional staff to follow these cases. Of course better economic opportunities, access to drug treatment, and other supports for families in stress are part of this picture, too.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

See #7.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

This is yet another area where we absolutely have to commit more professional staff to follow these cases, and more to train and maintain good foster families. While stability should be a goal for every child, the particulars of individual cases require professional follow-up and case-by-case decisions.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I believe that the State has some responsibility for providing support to foster kids as they age out of the system. That should be part of their preparation before they leave foster care, and, ideally,  foster families caring for older children would be trained to facilitate that. We Passed HB 3471 in 2011 that requires State post-secondary institutions to waive tuition and fees for current and former foster children under the age of 25. This is a good start toward recognizing the State’s ongoing responsibility for these young people.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

Oregon has to develop the political will and the legislative majority to take on inherent inadequacy and unfairness in our tax system. The limitations in Measure 47/50 lead to disparities in tax burden that make no sense. The income tax is volatile and not progressive. Tax breaks (expenditures) persist that don’t serve a social good, and some should be discontinued when they come up for review. Oregon was once able to pass and implement temporary tax increases during recessions. We need broader based advocacy for the common good.

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Maggie_Nelson

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I have lived in the area for over 30 years. After retiring from teaching in 2010, I ran for a seat on the Board at MHCC and have served on the Board for the past year. As a retired educator, I care about the well-being of the “whole child”. i.e., social, economic, physical, & education.  I support early childhood education through Early Headstart and Headstart programs.  Research shows that vulnerable children have a stronger chance of success during the education process if they have early education training.  Kids Count Data Center is a resource that can help guide disucssions on policy and programs, at the state level, concerning the wellbeing of children.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

The Oregon Health Plan is in place for low-income families and the most vulnerable in our state. We continue to adapt the system to try to meet the needs of all.  I will encourage the important work of non-profit organizations such as, Oregon Healthy Kids, Kids Count Data Center, Tooth Taxi, and many others that help bridge the gap between these organizations and Oregon Health Plan.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

I support school fluoride programs and other in-classroom dental programs where children are taught dental hygiene and given the tools (toothbrush, paste, dental floss) to carry out the training they receive.  One non-profit program, “Tooth Taxi”, was created in 2008.  It travels throughout Oregon and provides free dental care to underserved and uninsured students.  It is funded by grants and donations.  So far it has treated 5,201 children and 11,295 students have been educated about oral hygiene.  I will support non-profit organizational programs that help children.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

The top priority of my campaign platform is the economy and jobs.  As your State Representative I will work to target ways to cut taxes and regulations on business to stimulate the economy.  When we free up business to take the lead in what it does best business will become more productive.  Productivity will bring about the need for jobs.  More productivity and jobs will stimulate the economy. Economic prosperity will benefit the children of our state. On academic outcomes I will continue to support Early Headstart and Headstart programs.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

The state and local governments are actively involved in early childhood education opportunities through Early Headstart and Headstart programs.  At this time lack of funding prevents expansion of the programs and there are many on the waiting list.  I will continue to support these programs.  Some corporations provide workplace-childcare. I will encourage the expension of these programs. There are many early education opportunities at local libraries that child care workers can utilize.  Many free opportunities are available for children within the local communities.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

As an educator, (K-12) I was required to report all cases of child abuse to CSD.  This past legislative session the law was changed to include community college level employees, as well.  History shows that a slowed economy with high unemployment rates brings about increased incidents of domestic violence.  Because we know this to be a factor when families are without work we must redouble our efforts to bring about a healthy business climate in Oregon.  Jobs creation will have a great impact upon the social, economic & physical wellbeing of our children. I will encourage and support state funded & non-profit drug & alcohol programs as well.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

Child abuse must not be neglected, but must be thoroughly investigated with responsible follow- through for the safety of every child.  As your State Representative I would call for a full audit of Oregon’s Child Welfare Agency, checking to see that it is an effectively and efficiently administered system.  If results showed that short staffing was indeed a serious problem then I would seek to secure adequate funding to resolve the problem.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

Children Services Division should have established foster-care best-practices and policies in place concerning separating siblings or removing them from their school.  This should only happen in rare cases where there are no other solutions.  Thirty-seven percent of foster children experiencing multiple home placements within one year is almost half of all foster children.  That is too high a statistic.  This raises questions that need to be answered and addressed.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

A requirement of all foster parents should be that they must provide life-skills training as part of the foster care licensing process.  Perhaps the state could provide materials to support the success of the training process.  Another approach might be life-skills classes in high schools. Life-skills programs should be in place for all foster care, teenage children before they exit foster care so they can successfully reach their full potential as a citizen.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I believe that Measures 66 & 67 have caused hardship to the Oregon economy.  They targeted the wealthy and large corporations.  Many wealthy Oregonians moved out of Oregon when they went into effect.  It is projected that Oregon lost 70,000 to 80,000 jobs because of these Measures.  We not only lost many jobs, but we lost tax dollars that the wealthy pay, as well as their consumer needs dollars.  We must stop bringing in revenue dollars through regulation.  This creates a slowed, sluggish economy.  If we free up business so it can thrive then productivity and increased jobs would bring in stable tax revenue to the state. All residents of Oregon would benefit.

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Margaret_Doherty

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I spent 11 years teaching high school then spent the next 22 working for and with educators with the Oregon Education Association.  I was appointed to the legislature in 2009 and elected in 2010.  I have always worked to make this a better place for children, especially in the school system.  I have and will continue to fight for more funding for education.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

Healthy Children

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Healthy Children, Medical Teams Dental program that goes to schools.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Education is the key and it needs to be properly funded.  I have worked to make sure TANF and ERDC programs are funded, but unfortunately, the funding level is not what it should be due to demands on the state budget.  The saddest thing about this current economic situation is that we cannot ensure families can make ends meet.  This is where there needs to be a partnership with public and private organizations to help families.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

The Governor’s program on Early Childhood issues is a good start. By coordinating the early childhood groups in counties we are hoping to serve more children.  The finanacial means are not there to increase a lot of programs, but I would work to keep the childcare tax deductions and credits.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Again, there is a will, but the financial resources are not there to have a full blown prevention program for child abuse.  Relief nurseries and are start, but there are not enough to serve the population.  Early detection by peditricians and medical personnel can help, but unfortunataely, we do not have the slots in the foster care system to take care of every case.  I will continue advocating for more programs, but it is not likely to be heard with our curent economic situation.  Again, there needs to be a public/private partnership.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

We can monitor and push the DHS, but I’m not sure EVERY claim can be given the right amount of time.  Every claim is investigated, but there is not the personnel to thorougly investigate every claim.  The triaged and the most sever are taken first.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I don’t know enough about the foster care system to fully answer this question.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I would like every child to have the life skills and training to be confident and successful, but with foster children, it is up to agencies to plan programs to work with the foster parents.  That is where a lot of the confidence begins.  We are working on college programs for foster children.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

There needs to be a revamping of how taxes are levied in Oregon, but there does not seem to be any momentum to change the current system, either by the legislature or the public.

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Mark_Callahan

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

Most of the details about who I am and what I stand for are on my website at: http://www.MarkCallahan.net. In terms of what I want to accomplish for kids if I win, I want parents to be able to have a choice where there kids go to school, as opposed to being forced into a public school system that is currently failing, even after continuing to throw money at the problem.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I will continue to support the Oregon Healthy Kids program.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

I will support policies to educate parents and kids on oral health care. In the end, it will, as it has always been, the choice, via free will, of parents to take care of their own children, not the responsibility of a overreaching “nanny-state” state government.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Bringing and helping to maintain jobs in Oregon by making Oregon a “Right-to-Work” state.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

It is the responsibility of the parent(s) to provide for their children. State and local government should not be involved in providing for the needs of what is the individual responsibility of the parent(s). To depend upon the government to provide for a child, or for a family’s welfare, only promotes non-self-sufficiency, and is the complete opposite of individual accountability, individual responsibility, and self sufficiency.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

I will support education programs that prevent child abuse and neglect, however, it still remains the choice of the parent(s) to attend them.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

Increase the efficiency of the agency, via making Oregon a “Right-to-Work” state, thus releasing the the stranglehold that unions currently have on state government, and increasing quality through increased efficiency.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

Focus on policies, via education, about how to keep biological families and siblings together, so that they do not end up in the foster care system in the first place.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

Promote policies that encourage teens to be self-sufficient while in foster care, rather than continuing to be dependent on the state for their continued welfare into adulthood.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

Rather than focusing on the resulting problems caused by a down economy, we need to focus on what caused the problem in the first place, i.e. the lack of jobs in Oregon.  I will support policies and legislation that will bring more jobs to Oregon, and keep those jobs here.  I will also work to make Oregon a “Right-to-Work” state, to promote job growth in Oregon in the future.

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Mark_Hass

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I first got involved in the legislature to raise the bar on education and to begin moving things forward again.  I want to continue to build on my accomplishments, which include full day kindergarten, ESD reforms, and making college more affordable.  As the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, I wrote the legislation that created the 40-40-20 goal, which aims to have 80 percent of the workforce armed with a college degree by 2025.  We have passed a lot of new laws in the last two years to get us there—from full day kindergarten to restructuring higher education—but we have a long ways to go.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

All children do have access to Oregon health coverage under policies I have supported.  We are continuing this movement through the creation of Community Care Organizations and “transformation” of cost effective medical practices aimed at putting more emphasis on health care as opposed to health insurance.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

This is one of the biggest health problems Oregon has not been able to solve. Unfortunately, Oregon is not a fluoride state—and the terrible dental decay statistics reflect that. I support working more closely with schools where dental professionals can access children who don’t regularly see dentists.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Nothing does that better than when these kids go to college. There are very few families in poverty headed by someone who holds a college degree.  The best way to “hook” these kids into college is to give them access to college credit courses while in high school.  Research bears this out.  We just need to work harder to keep these kids engaged. In the Senate Education Committee we recently heard testimony from FutureConnect, a program that helps low-income students get college credit from PCC while they are in high school. I have also been looking into other programs that the City of Portland uses to help get low-income students to college.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

Early education is crucial to children’s later academic success, and parents’ employment capabilities are predicated by access to affordable childcare. I authored legislation to make full-day kindergarten the norm for Oregon schools and helped to establish the Early Learning Council during the 2011 legislative session. Additionally, I support expanding other early education programs such as Head Start to ensure that every child is ready to learn when they enter kindergarten and that parents are able to maintain a steady job without compromising their children’s opportunities.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Preventing child abuse is the responsibility of our whole community. During the 2012 Legislative Session I voted in support of expanding who is a mandatory reporter of child abuse. Abuse claims often take multiple reports before they are seen as valid. It is therefore crucial for the safety of all children that everyone report abuse if they are aware of it. I continue to support legislation that protects children in school and at home.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

The ability to thoroughly investigate child abuse claims depends on DHS having stable funding. Stable funding depends on stable revenue streams. Throughout my time in the legislature I have been a strong supporter of top-to-bottom tax reform. Additionally, I have served as a strong advocate for children within my district, repeatedly contacting DHS on their behalf to ensure that every case is given a fair oversight and the children are protected from abuse.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

If children need to be removed from their parents’ care, I have always supported efforts to place them with other, caring adult family members. I believe that it is important to maintain as stable a living situation as possible for children. This means prioritizing situations where siblings can be placed together and where children are comfortable with the adults.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I support expanding programs such as the Independent Living Program and mentoring programs that pair teens in foster care with responsible adults.  Ultimately, expanding access and affordability to higher education will allow teens coming out of foster care to develop the skills and network necessary for a stable, financially solvent lives. As the Chair of the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee I have been a strong supporter of legislation helping students earn college credit for free in high school and limiting the costs of higher education in general.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I have been a co-sponsor of long-term tax reform to stabilize Oregon’s revenue structure and to provide adequate funding for schools.  As a member of the Senate Revenue Committee, I am all too aware of train wreck Oregon goes through during the ups and downs of our volatile structure.

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Mark_Johnson

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I am a first term legislator running for re-election. I am still a general contractor and remain a school board member in Hood River County. My hope is that I can play a constructive role in creating policies that create a more prosperous and sustainable Oregon that has greater opportunity for all. I am also passionate about education reform and am working hard to bring about greater accountability for educators and better access to quality education for students and their families.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

In the last session I supported the two major health reforms that were passed. Health care transformation should significantly improve the quality of care to those that are covered by the Oregon Health Plan—many are children. The creation of the health insurance exchange should make it easier for many Oregon families to have access to more affordable health care. This will obviously be of benefit to kids as well.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

As a school board member I have supported making dental screening exams available to kids in our elementary schools. Making healthcare more affordable for all will also result in greater access to improved dental care. The C.C.O’s should also have a positive effect on oral health care.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

As a legislator I have worked hard to support policies that will result in economic growth in Oregon. We can do this by restraining the growth in state government and encouraging private sector expansion. More jobs for Oregonians means fewer kids and their families living in poverty. This can only be accomplished through private sector job growth, not through bigger government that requires higher taxes to support it.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

I have been a strong supporter of Head Start at both the local and state level. The Early Childhood Learning reforms will continue to expand access to this valuable program that can provide quality childcare and be of great assistance to working parents. By strengthening Oregon’s job market we can also improve earning capability for working parents. I would be open to considering ideas like tax credits for child care expenses.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

I think we have to be vigilant to detect all situations where kids are at risk. I have supported policies at the local and state level that strengthen reporting requirements when abuse is suspected.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

As I have said previously, as long as our state economy remains stagnant we will not have adequate public sector resources to meet all of the legitamate needs. Improving our economy will mean that greater resources are available as well as lessen the societal pressures that are typical in depressed economies.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I do believe that kids should be able to remain as close to their home communities as possible while in foster care. I would be open to considering policies that could provide more incentives for families to consider becoming foster homes so that we have more options available.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

One of the bills that we passed out of our House Higher Ed committee was to make higher ed more affordable for foster kids by extending to them on offer of significantly reduced costs at an Oregon Institution of Higher Ed. I believe we need to provide encouragement to these kids to continue to dream and that if they apply themselves that the system will meet them halfway.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I am in favor of reforming the tax structure in Oregon. We need a system that incentivizes wealth creation and at the same time sets aside resources to be available when the economy takes a dip. We need a more broad-based system of taxation that doesn’t rely so heavily on the income tax. I am open to having discussions about additional sources of revenue that can provide more stability to our state budget picture.

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Michael_Dembrow

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I’m a legislator, a long-time community college teacher, a parent, and a grandparent.  I take seriously the idea that we are all part of a large community—watching out for one another, making this a better place for those who come after us.  I’ve represented House District 45 (NE Portland, Parkrose, and Maywood Park) for four years, and during that time have partnered with CFFO on a number of issues. I’ve been elected to the House Democratic Leadership team, in charge of policy.  One of my proudest accomplishments in the House so far has been the passage of 2011’s HB3471, the Oregon Foster Youth Promise, which created a tuition waivers program for Oregon’s former foster youth.  I was so proud to work closely with the Foster Youth Connection on that bill and look forward to seeing more people know about it and use it.  And I look forward to working on the next steps to guarantee that the aging-out process is a success.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I was a strong supporter of the Healthy Kids Initiative and continue to work for universal access to quality health care for kids and their parents.  I will continue to advocate for a public option for all Oregonians.  Ability to pay is just one piece of the puzzle, though.  We need to make sure that children have easy access to health professionals—through school-based health centers, community-based centers, or through the clinicians and practitioners of their choice.  We need to continue our productive relationship with providers like Planned Parenthood and others who provide reproductive healthcare and counseling to those who need it.  I also look forward to working with CFFO,  Upstream Health, and other public health advocates to assure that the nutritional and oral-health needs of children are promoted.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

See the end of the above response!  I’ve long been an advocate for seeing Oregon join most other states (including the one in which I was raised) in adding fluoride to its water.  Of course, that will not solve all our problems with oral health.  Teaching and promoting good nutrition in our schools and public places is also essential.  I would also like to see better coordination of electronic medical records between physical health providers and oral health providers so that treatment can be coordinated.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Though we tried our best last session to maintain vital wrap-around safety-net programs, we are not keeping up with the need.  TANF and its related JOBS and Parents As Scholars programs, along with Employment-Related Day Care, hunger-abatement programs, and other programs are insufficiently funded to meet historic need, let alone the growing need due to the lingering effects of the global recession.  I will continue to push to make restoration and expansion of these programs a priority for the caucus. I will also work for an expansion of our Earned Income Tax Credit, expanding the income floor for those working hard but still at the poverty level.  Let me conclude by adding that the children of the working poor are particularly affected by the fact that their parents tend not to have access to paid sick days or paid family leave.  As a result, kids go to school sick and do not get the preventive care that they need, which results in further absenteeism. I will work hard to see that their parents have the ability to give them the care that they need.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

I will continue to advocate for better funding of child care, better supportive oversight of existing childcare centers, and expansion of access to quality child care.  A program such as ERDC provides a triple benefit: provides quality care for children, allows their parents to be productive in the workforce, and provides gainful employment for childcare providers.  As a community college teacher, I would add that a further role for government is to fund the early childhood programs in our high schools, colleges, and universities that produce high quality childcare workers, teachers, and center directors.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

We need to shift more of our corrections dollars towards prevention and education, preventing the conditions for abuse before children become victims.  Providing young people with positive mentors, role models, educational paths, and career paths is the best way to eliminate the desperate conditions that lead to drug/alcohol issues and domestic violence.  We need to break the cycle of fosterhood—that was and continues to be one of the best justifications for the Oregon Foster Youth Promise: success in school—and the self-esteem that goes with it—is one of the best predictors that the cycle of fosterhood will be broken.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

We need to improve the caseload ratios of those working in child protective services and foster care.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

We have made progress in this area despite so many challenges, thanks to the steadfast advocacy of groups like CFFO and Youth, Rights, and Justice, and through the self-advocacy of the Foster Youth Connection.  But there’s so much more to be done to assure successful placements and successful transitions.  I’m excited about the potential for peer-support and mentoring networks among foster youth, and believe that we should do whatever we can to promote them, both through legislative action and community support.  I’m looking forward to helping with the passage and promotion of the Foster Youth Bill of Rights.  I am always available to help lead such efforts.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

Obviously, this is a responsibility of DHS, CASAs and foster parents, but they need help. I worked to make sure that the Oregon Youth Promise had a “payback” component: students EARN their waivers in part by promising to work as mentors to younger teens in foster care, showing them how they can be successful and motivating them to be successful.  I look forward to helping with efforts to assure that teens exiting foster care have access to supportive housing that helps with the transition to full independence..

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

We need true revenue reform in this state, and I will continue to work to make that happen.  If we’re willing to look at our taxes, tax credits, and fees in their totality, we can raise revenues without having any negative impact at all on middle-class and working Oregonians.  I’m supporting the elimination of the corporate kicker this fall and hope to see the individual kicker used to help build a true rainy day fund to stabilize our revenues even when the economy is down.  And it’s not all about the State many of our most crucial services for children and families are funded through cities and counties.  We need to reform our local tax system (property and excise) so that voters are free to decide for themselves which local services they want to support, and we must fix our system of tax assessments to create greater equity.  The Legislature cannot solve this problem on its own—it will take a vote of the people to make serious changes to our tax and revenue structure.  But it is our responsibility to step up and craft a solution that we believe Oregonians will support.

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Mitch_Greenlick

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

For 40 years I was a health services researcher and VP (Research) for Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and for ten years was Professor and Chair of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at OHSU.  I currently am co-chair of the House Health Care Committee and have been instrumental in passing most of the health care legislation over the last decade, including Health Kids.  I intend to continue to focus on improving access, quality, and cost of health care in the state.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

All reasonable ones until every person in Oregon has access to effective and affordable health care.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Same as above.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

92% of the general fund budget is consumed by education, social services, and public safety.  There simply is not enough revenue to do all we need to do.  I will continue to fight for more revenue, including reducing the tax breaks we provide as a part of our revenue structure.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

Same answer as above.  We cannot even provide sufficient funds for employment related day care, which is a most effective program.  We left 2000 needed slots unfunded in the last budget.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

I have no specific policies in the area to propose.  But I will support any reasonable proposals.  While we cannot hope to “prevent child abuse and neglect” we can sure work hard to mitigate the problem and to reduce its downstream impact.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

I believe the child protective services staff members do a great job against overwhelming odds.  And occasionally a bad one slips through their net.  I think DHS is working hard to make sure their workers have adequate support, but in the times of shrinking budgets it is a problem.  And I expect, given that this is a human system, there will be an occasional tragedy.  I know I sat through more than one DHS budget hearing in tears.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I have no specific suggestions.  But I am a member of the House Human Services Committee and will do what I can to support reasonable proposals.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

Try to get more money into the system.  I hope you notice that I believe more revenue, while not sufficient for improvement, is certainly necessary.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I will keep working primarily on the health care side to make sure kids who show up for school are healthy and ready to learn.  I will fight to kill the personal kicker and will work to reduce tax deductions of all kinds.  And I would urge you to oppose any legislative candidate who has signed a “no new tax” pledge.

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Nancy_Nathanson

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

Eugene has been my home since 1973.  I’m recently retired from a career of nearly 40 years in library service. I’ve been co-owner of a small business, and a tap dance teacher, too.  This is my sixth year as a State Representative.  Prior to that I served on the Eugene City Council (1993-2005), where I led efforts to expand Eugene’s neighborhood parks and open space, playing fields, and fire protection services. For more detail about my public and community service on other boards and commissions, see my bio (http://www.nancynathanson.org/aboutnancy.html).  Ensuring adequate and stable revenue for education and early childhood programs is a primary goal.  I have also advocated and sponsored legislation to reduce administrative burdens on organizations supporting children so more money can go directly to services, and for early intervention to help families and prevent child abuse and neglect. I was honored to be recognized as a 2011 “Children’s Champion” by the Oregon Alliance of Children’s Programs.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

As vice-chair of the budget committee (Joint Ways and Means) I have enthusiastically supported the legislative efforts to overhaul the health care system, establish a health insurance exchange, and support the Oregon Health Plan.  I will continue to support those efforts, and others that invest in prevention, early intervention, and treatment to keep kids healthy and able to succeed in learning and social environments.  Examples include screening for sight and hearing problems, and providing food programs in summer as well as during the school year.  Responding to a terrible waste of needed vaccines, and money (in 2010 alone, more than 60,000 immunizations were compromised and later re-administered because the vaccines had been stored improperly), I wrote and passed a bill to improve vaccine stewardship to ensure that vaccines would be stored properly, saving money and reducing cost, inconvenience, and risk to individuals.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

In the past I supported efforts to expand access to fluoride treatment, and will continue to support that and similar proposals related to prevention, early detection and affordable treatments.  I am also concerned about widespread use of high sugar content beverages and snacks that contribute to tooth decay, obesity, and diabetes.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

I have supported TANF, carried the bill to extend unemployment insurance, and wrote and passed a bill to expand efforts to help Oregon families use the Earned Income Tax Credit.  We need to continue those as well as the more general efforts to boost Oregon’s economy to benefit all Oregonians.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

I encourage reviewing efforts to help student parents, as well, such as efforts sponsored by Oregon Student Association to increase help for college- and university-student parents.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

I will continue to support budget and legislative proposals by local and statewide organizations such as Relief Nursery.  In 2011 I sponsored House Bill 2858 which would have created a better link between individuals visited by Department of Human Services due to a report of potential child abuse or neglect, and the Relief Nurseries. I believe that through more support such as respite care, referral for treatment and counseling, and parenting skills education, families can avoid situations that lead to children being removed from their family of origin and placed in foster care, and reduce the likelihood of family problems escalating and endangering the child’s well-being.  Although this bill was not passed in 2011, I continue to work on the idea and finding additional support for it.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

Once again, an adequate and stable budget environment is critical, and increasing revenue is one essential factor.  As an ardent fan of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) I support their efforts to increase funding and improve the system.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

Improve resources available for adequate caseworkers, investigators, and support for both children and the foster parents.  Investing in foster family resources, such as training, respite, and specific home and activity support, could improve the home environment for both parents and children, resulting in a more satisfying and stable experience.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I will continue to support legislative and funding proposals as I have in the past, such as House Bill 3664, 2010 to expand health coverage for foster youth to age 21.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I support renovating Oregon’s tax structure, including the following strategies: expand the program of reviewing (and phasing out where appropriate) the many tax breaks that result in significant revenue loss increase Dept of Revenue staffing and use of modern technology for auditing and collecting what’s owed overhaul the income tax kicker and build up reserve funds for use during economic downturns and finally, review recommendations of the 2008 Governor’s Task Force on Revenue Restructuring.

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Nathan_Hovekamp

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I’m Nathan Hovekamp, and I’m running for state representative from HD 54 basically most of Bend. I’ve lived and worked here in Bend for 15 years now. I raised a family here. Bend is my home.  In addition to serving on the school board and the city planning commission, I’ve taught for years at Central Oregon Community College and have come to admire and respect my students for their ability to juggle classes, work, families, and a dozen other dimensions of their busy lives. In my campaign and once in the legislature, I want to focus on working people and families and I want to work toward good jobs, quality schools, and vibrant communities.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I believe the CCO’s are an important first step in providing more systemic and preventative health care.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Again, Oregon has taken an important first step toward coordinated health care, including oral health.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

I will preserve funding for important social services aimed at kids, such as FAN.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

I believe we need to mandate and/or subsidize paid family leave.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

I will work to preserve funding for critical social services.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

I will work to preserve funding for critical social services.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I will work to preserve funding for critical social services.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I will work to preserve funding for critical social services.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I would like to eliminate the corporate kicker and targete that excess revenue for schools.

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Patrick_Sheehan

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

First and foremost I would like their parents to have jobs. Within K-12, I would like to see partnerships between schools and trade unions to bridge into apprenticeship programs, more mentoring programs involving the private sector, and looking at funding from other departments for social services delivered in schools.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

Continuing the Healthy Kids program is a good start.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Last session we had a senate bill to allow out-of-state dentists to practice here for short periods of time - which is a good thing for providing services without cost. The ADA owns several fleet vehicles that operate as mobile dental offices. Also, the 3-day event at the convention center every year provides free dental care to anyone. Making sure kids have access, transportation and supervision at these events is critical.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Their parents need good jobs. The reality of our resources makes additional programs unlikely to be successful in the short term. We have to make sure we continue to provide free or reduced breakfast and lunch for students that need it. We also need to target business investment into neighborhoods like east Portland, to try and get their parents working again.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

I’m really not sure. I’m very supportive of Head Start and All Day Kindergarten, but those don’t serve populations leading up to 13 years old. Leveraging private/public partnerships is probably our best bet in this climate of economic decline.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

I have been supportive of policies that strengthen laws to protect children and the elderly from abusers.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

We have to see if the current caseload is causing more than extra stress and inconvenience. If it’s actually causing significant performance issues that are putting children in harms way, then we need to shift resources away from something else.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I’ve dealt with this on a constituent level. I’ve fought hard to keep two little girls exposed to their extended family while the mother attended her mandatory counseling. I constantly objected to handling of the situation that didn’t take into account their cultural heritage and religious beliefs. Things are finally on track. I would support legislation that strengthened the families’ ability to maintain relationships with kids.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

Hopefully our new K-16 tracking system will expose the holes in this system. Kids should have the ability to go to Job Corps, apprenticeship programs, or some other situation.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

There is no way to stabilize funding in an income tax state without adding a sales tax or tuition for public education - I don’t see support for either. Continuing to prioritize funding for K-12 above all others in the state budget is a good start. Reforming PERS to allow for larger portions of payroll to go toward hiring teaching will also make a big difference.

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Peter_Buckley

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I’m a dad with three kids, and they are the reason I ran for the Legislature in the first place. I want a good future for them and for every kid in our state. Since joining the Legislature in 2005, I have learned a great deal about our kids in the foster care system, and a great deal about kids challenged by autism and other factors. I hope my record speaks for itself—I’ve tried to be a champion for kids in our state, particularly those who’ve been dealt the hardest hands to play.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I worked with my Democratic colleagues to establish Healthy Kids, and I will continue to work to make sure all kids in our state have access to affordable and excellent care.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Maintaining dental benefits in OHP has been and will continue to be a priority for me. I also strongly support the outreach efforts such as those offered by La Clinica here in Jackson County that bring services directly to where kids are, be it schools, parks or wherever.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Our cuts to TANF keep me awake at night.  I very much look forward to rebuilding TANF to keep more kids from falling into and remaining in poverty. I also support all efforts for living wage jobs in our communities.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

I strongly support ERDC and did everything I could do in the last few sessions to protect it.  I look forward to expanding it to more families in 2013.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Not to harp too much on Jackson County, but the program that has been developed here for wrap around services for families in crisis, with a central focus on housing stability, is what I want to push forward across the state. I’ve also fought to maintain funding for drug/alcohol programs and mental health programs, as well as for the domestic violence programs in our state.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

We need to increase staffing in DHS foster care.  We are at dangerously low levels at present.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

Again, the wrap around approach to do everything possible to keep families together is the path with the best results and most promise. But if a child must be separated from her or his family, we must make every effort to keep siblings together, and to make sure that foster care providers are well trained and competent.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I’ve sponsored legislation in the past brought forward by kids who have aged out or were about to age out of foster care, and I am more than willing to do so again.  They know the system better than I do, and I am more than willing to take their proposals and run with them.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I am proposing legislation to require 3/4 of 1 percent to go into the Rainy Day fund in every budget year where unemployment hits 7 percent or under.  We must build up the RDF to 15% of the GF/LF budget level.  I’ve been at the forefront of the budget battles in the last four years, so this is a huge priority for me.  I strongly support reforming the personal and corporate kicker to go into the RDF, the Educational Stability Fund or to services for our kids.

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Ronald_Green

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I am Ronald Green and I am running for the U.S. Representative from the third district in Oregon.  What I want to accomplish for kids is to ensure them a bright economic future.  All of the problems listed in the questionnaire involve, to a greater or lesser degree, the lack of money at the state and local level.  Why is there a lack of money?  Ross Perot predicted that when NAFTA was passed jobs would leave this country, and that, as a result, the tax base would collapse.  This, he correctly predicted, would result in the loss of funding for infrastructure and local and state governments would start going bankrupt.  Therefore, the solution to the problems of children (as well as other problems) starts with a sound economy.  We cannot restore a sound economy if we persist in sending jobs and their accompanying tax base overseas.  When we create an artificial surplus of labor by allowing largely unchecked immigration and sending jobs overseas, poverty is the inevitable result.  Bring the jobs home, repeal all trade laws that impoverish people and force them to emigrate to survive (NAFTA among others) and the poverty will disappear.  A shortage of Labor (full employment) always leads to mass prosperity, and a surplus of labor (free trade, over-immigration) always leads to mass misery.  At the Federal level this is what I can do and voters can do by electing only those candidates who promise to vote to BRING THE JOBS HOME.  Once the jobs and tax base are restored, parents, state and local legislators, and local health agencies can go back to doing the same splendid job they did in the past of dealing with these problems at the source.  To think these problems can be solved while we allow our country to be stripped of it’s collective financial heritage for the benefit of a greedy few is infantile.  And that is something even a kid can understand.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

User Provided No Response

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

User Provided No Response

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

User Provided No Response

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

User Provided No Response

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

User Provided No Response

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

User Provided No Response

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

User Provided No Response

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

User Provided No Response

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

User Provided No Response

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Steven_Frank

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I believe there is a thread that runs before a child enters school and afterwards.  Insuring healthy environments, making sure a child has the health care they deserve, parental guidance they need and the opportunity to learn, pays dividends for the society they are entering.    We have an obligation as elected officials to insure children have this critical foundation before school, so that when they enter the public education system, they are prepared to excel.    Making sure education is adequately and stably funded, health care provided to all and help is given when needed to parents is what we are charged with as legislators.    This thread must be maintained throughout a child’s life and well afterward if we are to grow as a society.    The children must also be protected.    During this last legislative session, HB 4016 was passed so that mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse was expanded.  I was disappointed to see that volunteers were not included as they were in the original text of the bill.  As state senator, I would push for those individuals to be included in the reporting requirement.    There is much to do.  The Governor’s plans for both education and health care are moving forward.  They must be successful.    I am a licensed/certified teacher and substitute teach.  I’m raising my granddaughter who is 7 and heading for 2nd grade.    This thread of care will create individuals who will be prepared to take on the world.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

The goal of the Governor’s Healh Care Transformation’s goal is to do exactly that, ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage.  My opponent, Fred Girod, voted against HB 2009 the Oregon Health Authority, one of 6 state senators, HB 2116 the Health Care For All Oregon Children and the transformation, SB 1580.    I would have been proud to vote YES on all three bills.      Once again, the Governor’s Health Care Transformation is addressing the problem of dental care for all children.    Education is very important.  The school’s provide information and care.    This vividly exemplifies why the thread I referred to earlier is so important for our children.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Once again, the Governor’s Health Care Transformation is addressing the problem of dental care for all children.    Education is very important.  The school’s provide information and care.    This vividly exemplifies why the thread I referred to earlier is so important for our children

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

Jobs are very important to our state. Representative Dave Hunt introduced a Jobs and Transportation Bill at the last session.  This would have created jobs for repairing infrastructure, Community Colleges and other needed projects.  The House, in a 30-30 vote, rejected his bill.    We must work together as legislators to make our state better and improve the living conditions for struggling families.  This jobs bill would have done just that.  I look forward to re-introducing similar legislation as state senator.    Jobs, education, health care, guidance, aid when necessary, these are all areas that will help to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

It is critical we get the child care benefits back where they were.  The reduction in child care is unacceptable.  Having folks work, be a productive member of society is important not only to the parent but for society as a whole.  The Governor’s Education Plan addresses early childhood education and provides for care opportunities.  We must move forward with the plan and make sure it is successful.    The Oregon Education Investment Board has the Early Learning Council as a mechanism to insure these goals are met.  SB 909 which established the OEIB was another NO vote by Senator Girod.    I look forward to working with Dr.Rudy Crew, the 1st Oregon Education Investment Board Chief Officer, when I become state senator.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Earlier I refered to HB 4016 which created mandatory reporting for suspected child abuse.  I believe we need to revisit the issue of including volunteers to the mandatory reporting requirement.  This will increase the possiblity that suspected child abuse is reported.    Once again, creating good homes, educating parents and children, making sure guidance is available, will help prevent child abuse and neglect.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

It’s time for tax reform to make sure we have adequate and stable funding for education, seniors/disabled and those folks at risk.  Corporations and the wealthy must pay their fair share.  Measure 66 should be returned to its previous levels of providing funds.        We need to make sure qualified, well educated, trained and prepared individuals are in postions that serve these youth.  We must also make sure those folks have good living wages with benefits and have reasonable work loads.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

This is a piece from http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/siblingissues/siblingissues.pdf Decisions regarding sibling placement may be more straightforward when siblings come into care at the same time, when their needs are similar, and when the sibling group is small. In such cases, placement together is both more feasible and likely. When there are more barriers to placement together, as listed above, caseworkers may have to make more difficult decisions regarding placement. Connie Maschmeier (2001) developed a decision-making matrix to help agencies make decisions around the placement of siblings. The matrix takes into consideration the degree, duration, quality, and intensity of the sibling relationships any safety risks associated with placement possible long-term benefits the family’s ability to meet the needs of all siblings and the children’s preferences. Standards to guide workers in placement decisions and other practice related to siblings are included in the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) Standards of Excellence for Adoption Services (2000). Standard 3.7 specifies: Siblings should be placed together both in out-of-home care and adoption unless the serious, specific needs of one or more of the siblings justifies separation. The decision to separate siblings should be based on a carefully documented and reviewed determination that such separation is necessary. I believe a task force established to work with this complex issue would be appropriate.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

An organized and active advisory committee can enhance the success of the Independent Living Program (ILP) and provide a vital link between DHS and tribal child welfare, education, business, and industry. The ILP relies upon this committee for advice, assistance, recommendations, and support to meet ILP needs.  If you are interested in youth, especially those from foster care, and would like to make a difference in your community, this may be a perfect opportunity for you.  Great program and 100% of the teens in need should have access to the state’s Independent Living Program.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

We must reform the kicker.  I believe the rainy day fund should receive what now goes into the kicker.  Corporations and the wealthy must pay their fair share.    The Oregon Income Tax, where we derive most of out generl fund income, is unstable.  It is time for tax reform.

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Steven_Reynolds

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

Service is a word that has meaning. I served as a soldier, as a big brother, and as a volunteer teacher. I have witnessed the effect education, nutrition, and positive role-models can have on young minds and bodies. We need to strengthen our schools, to ensure that our children are fed, and encourage them through feedback, guidance, and accountability.  I will work to ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I strongly support universal healthcare in whatever form it takes, every citizen should have access to the care that they need when they need it. I believe that the Community Care Organizations currently being built are a great first step in the provision of quality care.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Dental care is an integral part of Healthcare. By focusing on education, nutrition, and preventative care we can begin to address the health concerns of poor dental hygiene.  Good dental hygiene is dependent upon access to dental professionals. We can encourage Dentists to come serve the communities of Oregon by sponsoring their education in exchange for a service commitment.  At a federal level I support ending corporate sugar subsidies. I believe that foods and drinks with high levels of sugar should not be purchasable with funds distributed through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP.)

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

We need to support parents so that they can work and provide for their families. This can be accomplished by expanding programs for early childhood education, extending the school day, and by encouraging economic activities that promote job growth.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

We need to expand the voucher program for childcare so that every child can attend. We need to eliminate the gap between those children who had the opportunity to attend Pre-K and those that did not.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Prevention of abuse and neglect starts with education. We need to expand training for teachers and the community. Every citizen should know that there are resources available if they suspect child abuse/neglect.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

The obvious answer is increase the number of caseworkers. The short term answer is to bring in the private sector to assist in counseling. The longer term solution is to encourage young people to enter public service by offering scholarships, internships, and jobs to those that choose to serve. We should work especially hard to encourage young people with experience in the system to follow a path of service.

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

The best solution is always to place the children with family. Where that is not possible or in the best interests of the child we need to encourage foster family’s to accept longer term placement. This can be accomplished by better matching of child to foster parent. We need to cultivate strong foster families of every possible demographic so that we can always find a place where the child feels safe and understood.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I believe a program of strong community mentor-ship would work wonderfully. Include successful adults that have had similar experiences at all times. Children need to know that despite their own personal difficulties that their lives are not limited. And then we need to support them through access to education and internships while holding all parties accountable.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

The best way to address the longer term budget problems would be to alter the “kicker” program. If the state was forced to carry 1-2 years of funding in reserves prior to kickers being distributed a lot of the budgetary uncertainty could be eliminated.

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Wynne_Wakkila

Candidate Background

Q: Tell us about yourself and what you want to accomplish for kids if you win.

I grew up in a very small timber town in Oregon.  Education was my way out.  My brother, however, had learning disabilities which were not recognized at that time, and no one was trained to assist him, especially in such a small town. Because of problems in school, he grew up thinking he was stupid.  I can’t imagine anything worse.  I wanted to be a teacher to help kids like him.  I graduated in Education and Speech Communication.  Although I ended up becoming an Accounting and Auditing manager for government, I still have a heart for kids and have also worked as a substitute teacher, and still have my license.  I enjoyed teaching driver’s education to high school students for six years, too. Since I’ve been retired, I’ve been working on human trafficking issues, first as Executive Director for OATH (Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans) and now as Executive Director for FAST (Fight Against Sex Trafficking and Fight Against Slavery/Trafficking) which is an organization I started so I could also speak out politically.  I know from my work in this area that 95% of sex trafficking victims were first abused as children.  I want to get to the root of the problem.  I want our schools to help kids feel worthy, nutured, and cared for.  I want us to be able to recognize when a high school or junior high student is being exploited or abused, or vulnerable to that. We need to recognize it and stop it at an early age. I’ve worked for law enforcement and there are too many long-term problems with their roots in child abuse and neglect.

Health

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to ensure all children in Oregon have health coverage?

I think Kitzhaber is on the right track.  I would prefer every child get insurance coverage with no questions asked.  I’d love to have full-time nurses back in schools again. i prefer the Finnish model for education, which starts with ensuring the welfare of the child, then educating.  I was a member of Archimedes and on three committees.  I’ve also studied health care through various committees for City Club of Portland.  Without proper health care, the children suffer long-term consequences from not being educated properly to on-going health issues.  Dental care is important too, because this leads to poisoning the body if teeth aren’t taken care of properly.

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to improve oral health care for Oregon children?

Dental care needs to be part of health care.  It can’t be separate.  My brother died at an early age and think it was partially due to bad dental care. Human Trafficking victims often lose their teeth.  It is hard to find a job without teeth or even smile at yourself in the mirror.  We need to make sure children have proper dental care for their self image and health.  I’ll support whatever policies and programs help ensure this.

Financial Stability

Q: What policies, investments, or programs will you support to mitigate the effects of poverty on children or ensure that struggling families are able to make ends meet?

I know a few years ago Beaverton school district had 1500 children who were enrolled and homeless.  Devastating! We need to continue to support our social programs that help take care of struggling families.  I would support any that are doing a good job and making a difference.  Some of my personal favorites include Portland Rescue Mission, Volunteers of America (where I was Director of Finance and Administration), Global Health Promise (where I volunteered - they reach out and provide health care and food to homeless mothers and their children, who are also often victims of sex trafficking), Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, etc.

Early Childhood

Q: What will you do to help children access early education opportunities through child care? What role, if any, should state or local government play in helping address the child care needs of working parents?

We need to help working parents, especially single moms, in providing child care.  I had a good experience in school partially because I was able to attend kindergarten in Tillamook before we moved to Powers.  I was ahead of my class, since there was no kindergarten there, and had much self-confidence because of it (even though I was younger than the other kids in my class.)  We need to provide child care opportunties so children learn to socialize too. With the Finnish Model, students aren’t taught in a lecture style.  Instead they are taught on an individual basis, realizing that students learn various things at various speeds.  We need to incorporate this type of teaching technique too.  It’s important to challenge a child’s abilities when they are inquisitive and reaching out for more knowledge.

Safety

Q: What will you do to prevent child abuse and neglect? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support to prevent child abuse and neglect?

I think it’s important to include teachers, social workers, health professionals, and law enforcement in teams that work with various schools and child care facilities for early learning.  We need to look at the child as a whole and identify problems early.  All of this requires training as well.

Q: What will you do to make sure every substantial claim of child abuse or neglect is thoroughly investigated and children in foster care are safe?

We obviously need more staff, so I would support budgets that include enough staff.  I know we also need more homes who are trained and open to be foster care homes.  I’ve worked with an Oregon State employee who is trying to find new homes for foster care.  I’ve referred him to various church groups and other groups who are working to fight human trafficking.  We want to knick this in the bud!

Foster Youth Transitions

Q: How will you create stability and maintain relative and sibling connections for foster youth? What specific policies, investments, or programs will you support?

I think this is largely, or at least partially, due to foster homes that are not providing adequate service and are sometimes, maybe more than we realize, actually abusing the children themselves.  I have found this to often be the case for sex trafficking victims.  They go from one house to another, continuing to be abused by those they are supposed to be able to trust.  We need foster homes we can trust and people who are trained to be able to spot problem foster care parents, and also attract good foster home parents.  If the children didn’t need to be moved so much, I would imagine it would be easier to maintain contact.

Q: How will you work to ensure that all teens in foster care receive the life skills and training to be confident and successful when they exit care?

I would support programs that are working on this.  Maybe we could also pass some laws that would require it to be part of the foster care experience, or the foster care parents don’t receive their pay.  I know some schools have life-skill classes.  Maybe those would help.  I’m not too familiar with this, but would like to work with people who are and get their ideas.

General

Q: What are your long-term solutions for addressing the instability of Oregon’s tax and revenue structure? How will you make sure that the most vulnerable children are not left behind should the state face future economic downturns?

I would like to start with tax expendiures. I don’t think it’s right that larger incomes are paying less of their income in taxes than people with smaller incomes.  These need a thorough looking at, and with my background in government accounting and auditing, this is right up my alley. I’ve also hosted a City Club of Portland event with Steve Robinson from Decision Matrix about his ideas regarding tax expenditures.  The talk also included someone from the state’s revenue office.  We need to provide budgets for our vulnerable children, not wealthy tax cuts.  I know from my work in human trafficking and with two law enforcement agencies, that not getting to the root of the problem and solving issues there, leads to long-term on-going costs to our government, our society, and the individual person’s family and personal life.  Let’s do this right!

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Resources for You

We've prepared these resources to help you engage with your candidates and educate your peers on children's issues during this election season.

Register to Vote

If you’re not a registered voter, or if your registration isn’t current, you still have time to register for this election. (If you’ve moved or changed your name, you will need to update your registration.) Simply visit the Secretary of State’s website to register or update your previous information.

Questions to Ask

Adapted from our questionnaire, here are some questions you can ask of candidates in forums such as townhalls, meet and greets, or even if a candidate comes to your door.

2012 Voter's Guide

Packed with information about the political landscape surrounding children's issues, this guide can help fill in the bigger picture of why children should be a priority for all candidates.

Write Your Local Paper

We strongly encourage you to submit a letter to the editor to your local paper. We've created sample language to get you started, and our system will take care of delivering your response.

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