Monday, January 23, 2012

From Rep. Tina Kotek: New Annual Session and Upcoming Town Hall

Lots of information here - read the whole post

Legislative Town Hall
New Help for Small Businesses
Focus on Child Poverty
Upcoming Events
Legislative Town Hall With Sen. Chip Shields and Rep. Lew Frederick

The new year is off to a frenzied pace as we prepare for our first annual session in an even-numbered year. As directed by Measure 71 passed by voters in November 2010, the Legislature will be back in session on February 1st. We will have 35 days to complete the state's business.

My focus in February will be on:

* Making smart investments to create Oregon jobs, such as helping small businesses have the capital they need to grow;
* Standing up for middle class families, such as helping families who are either facing foreclosure or in the midst of a foreclosure process; and
* Prioritizing the services Oregonians need by making government leaner, more transparent, and more efficient.

The Legislature will also need to re-balance the state's budget because the recession continues to bring an increased need for services but less dollars to provide those essential services. I will fight for a sensible budget that prioritizes the most vulnerable Oregonians and our schools.

Legislative Town Hall, February 4

Please join me, Senator Chip Shields and Representative Lew Frederick for a North/Northeast Portland town hall to hear what's going on in Salem for the 2012 Legislative Session. We look forward to answering your questions and discussing the issues that are important to you.

What: Town Hall Meeting
When: Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.
Where: St. Johns Community Center
8427 N. Central St., Portland, OR 97203 (map)

For more information, call or email my legislative assistant, Michelle Rogelstad, at or (503) 286-0558 (district).

We hope to see you there!

BizORNew Help for Small Businesses

Businesses in Oregon got an early present this past holiday season. Business Oregon, a state agency that works to create, retain, expand and attract businesses in Oregon, has received $16.5 million in federal funds to help small businesses borrow money.

When combined with other available resources, the funds will inject $165 million into Oregon small businesses over the next four years through the Credit Enhancement Fund, the Oregon Business Development Fund, and the Capital Access Program. These three programs have helped businesses in this state access an estimated $817 million in financing already, and are prepared to help with more.

Helping small businesses in Oregon grow and prosper is a priority for me, and is something that I believe holds the key to Oregon's future economic growth. Whether businesses are small and local, or iconic worldwide companies, we must ensure that we invest in job-creating companies here in Oregon.

Business Oregon has many great financing options and other assistance for small businesses in Oregon. For more information, call my district office at (503) 286-0558 or email me at

LegFocus on Child Poverty

I'm sure many of you saw the cover of the Parade magazine during the holiday season that highlighted the shameful fact that Oregon has the highest rate of food insecurity for children in the country. I recently attended a meeting of the Metro-area school district superintendents and was reminded about the high percentages of children and youth who benefit from free or reduced-price lunches in our schools, especially in east Multnomah County. I know that too many families in North and Northeast Portland are struggling to provide the basics of food and shelter for their children.

This is unacceptable. We all know we can do better to make sure every child has an opportunity to thrive.

In addition to the things many of you do regularly to help out through volunteering and donating supplies to those in need, I hope you will share your ideas of how we can make a dent in child poverty in our state. For my part, I will continue to focus on reviving our state's economy while at the same time protecting critical services for our most low-income families, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). With 60,000 children currently receiving help from TANF across our state, we have to help their parents get back to work and back on the road to self-sufficiency.

As always, it's a pleasure to represent you. I hope to hear from you soon.

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