The past weeks have been exciting ones, and I am so pleased to share some highlights with you.
Community Coffee Hour- A Success!
Last Saturday, January 31st, I hosted my first Community Coffee Hour, I was humbled by the turnout as well as the voices at the table. Many spoke up to share their thoughts on minimum wage, on workers’ benefits, standardized testing, and more. We heard from many people, from different walks of life, who shared concerns, questions, and ideas. I was especially encouraged by how respectful the discussion was, regardless of opposing views.
We will continue to offer this event within the district monthly, please mark your calendars for February 21st , this is the third Saturday of the month from 10am-11am, at M & M Restaurant at 137 N. Main Avenue, in Gresham. Refreshments will be provided. If you’d like something to eat, we encourage you to order a snack or brunch item from the menu.
I look forward to seeing you there, and to continuing a thoughtful discussion. Stay tuned for future events, and remember that you can subscribe to receive updates at my Legislative Web Page.
Beginning of Session!
On Monday February 2nd, the Legislative Session really kicked off, and since then, the Capitol has been buzzing. On this day, many bills were read for the first time on the House floor, which will be read two more times before they come up for a vote.
The rest of the week was filled with a variety of meetings, including committee meetings. In the Committee on Education we heard a broad overview of The Department of Education on Monday. Then, on Wednesday, I had the opportunity to vote on my first bill during a work session, where I voted in support of HB 2407, which allows all citizens and organizations to donate funds that benefit Oregon public schools. We also looked at legislation around nutrition in school lunches and student safety.
In the Committee on Human Services and Housing we heard from Erinn Kelley-Siel, the director of the Department of Human Services. She shared the various challenges and successes of DHS programs, as well as the ways they are hoping to expand services, in order to best meet the needs of all Oregonians. Additionally, we heard testimony on a variety of bills that work to support working families and increase affordable childcare.
In the Committee on Veterans and Emergency Preparedness this week, we heard an overview of Oregon’s office of Veterans’ Affairs as well as the Oregon Military Department. We also heard a great deal of testimony about HB 2645 which aims to give priority registration to active members of the military as well as veterans who enroll in community colleges and public universities.
In between these meetings, I met with many individuals and groups, as well as colleagues, who are working to find ways to improve Oregon and House District 50. I was excited to meet with individuals who interact with our district regularly. I had the opportunity to sit down with Mayor Bemis and Eric Chambers from the City of Gresham. I also met with Mavonnie Deitz from the Child Development and Family Support Program at Mt. Hood Community College who brought along Head Start parents from our district. Additionally, I heard from representatives from Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East, who shared their goals for upcoming legislation, as well as the Glisan Gardens project, where they are building 26 homes in Gresham this year.
In addition to reaching out to me, as I encourage you to do, I want to share a few ways that you can keep up to date on what is happening in the Legislature. By visiting OregonLegislature.gov a lot of important information is at your fingertips. You can visit individual Representative’s pages, and learn about the legislative process and how to submit testimony about a bill that impacts you most. Using the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS) page you can look up specific bills, committee agendas, or sign-up to receive e-mail alerts about bills that are important to you. You can even watch committee meetings and floor sessions live. If you have any trouble navigating this, feel free to call my office at 503-986-1450 and one of my staff will be happy to help.
It has been a busy week, and I am energized to continue this important work.
Representative Carla C. Piluso