Wednesday, November 11, 2009

From our Rep Tina Kotek

Dear Friends,

As the proud daughter of a Korean War veteran, I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to veterans and their families for their service to our country. My colleagues and I in the Oregon Legislature worked very hard in the 2009 legislative session to prioritize the needs of Oregon’s veterans. Click here (PDF) to learn more about the bills we passed earlier this year to help veterans.

Grab a Cup of Coffee and Chat

Now that the cold, rainy weather is upon us, this is a perfect time to grab something warm to drink and talk politics with your local representatives. Our new state senator, Senator Chip Shields, and I will be holding three "constituent coffees" this month. We will be in St. Johns, Kenton, and Overlook. We hope you can join us for informal conversations about issues that matter to you.

When: Saturday, November 21, 2009


· 9:00 -10:30 AM @ Pattie’s Home Plate in St. Johns, 8501 N. Lombard

· 10:45 AM - Noon @ Po’ Shines in Kenton, 8139 N. Denver

· 12:15 -1:00 PM @ Krakow Coffeehouse in Overlook, 3990 N. Interstate

Learning about Working Forests

The "interim" is the phrase legislators use to describe that time between official sessions when we are back in district, working our other day jobs, and taking time to learn more about issues that affect our district and the entire state. Last month, I had the opportunity, along with several other legislators, to spend a day learning about the state’s private working forests. The tour was organized by Senator Chris Edwards from Eugene and the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI). OFRI was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1991 and is dedicated to public understanding of forest stewardship to meet the social, environmental and economic needs of both present and future generations. In addition to visiting a working forest in Polk County, we toured a state-of-the-art sawmill in Willamina.

It was an educational day and very helpful for me to learn about an iconic Oregon industry that is a critical part of our state’s economy. In 2007, Oregon’s forest sector produced about 11 percent of the total goods and services produced in Oregon. While private forestland is about 35% of all forestland in Oregon, these lands produce 83% of the current timber harvest.

Tours like these help me broaden my knowledge of various policy issues and build relationships with rural legislators. If there are issues you are passionate about, I encourage you to use the interim to communicate your interests to me and my staff.

Preparing for the February Session

Legislators are planning to be back in the Capitol for a one-month special session in February 2010. In addition to budget balancing work, we will likely consider a variety of bills relevant to the economic recession. I am working with Senator Diane Rosenbaum from SE Portland to spearhead legislation to curb a practice that is becoming disturbingly common place: employers using consumer credit reports as a pre-employment screening tool. The (often faulty) information from credit reports can be used to deny employment to otherwise qualified applicants. This practice is especially frustrating in our current economy because it forces people into an unbelievable Catch-22: if you’re having financial problems because you’re not working, you can’t get a job because you’re having financial problems!

So, where do you come in? We know that this is happening here in Portland, but we need to identify people who have been negatively affected by potential employers checking their credit. Please contact my office with any personal experience you have. Thank you in advance for your help in supporting this legislation.

AFL-CIO Legislator of the Year

I was honored to be named Legislator of the Year by the Oregon AFL-CIO at their convention in Bend last month. I am proud of the work I did this past session to expand health care access, protect workers’ rights, create jobs, and preserve child care assistance for working families. This recognition means a lot to me, and I pledge to continue to be a champion for Oregon’s workers.

Best Wishes,

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