05-30-2023  2:16 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 29 March 2023

SALEM, Ore. - Today, Oregon’s Legislative Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus announced their top priorities for the 82nd Legislative Session. To see a full list of the Caucus’ priorities, visit this page

During this session, the caucus will advocate for  the health and wellbeing of Oregonians, economic justice, education equity, public and community safety, Indigenous, immigrant and refugee justice, environmental justice, and civil rights. In a historic milestone for the state, this is the most diverse Legislature in Oregon history, with 20 BIPOC legislators serving this session.

“With our largest ever caucus, I’m proud of the agenda that we came together to put forward this year. We have so much work to do to advance racial equity in our state and these pieces of legislation are important steps toward meeting that goal.  I look forward to our continued work as a group and to taking action to better the lives of BIPOC Oregonians,” said Sen. Wlnsvey Campos (D - Aloha/Beaverton/Hillsboro), co-chair of the BIPOC Caucus. 

“I'm grateful to see the strides our caucus has made, with the mission of achieving intersectional equity. We'll continue to work on behalf of BIPOC Oregonians across the state, and look forward to our continued collaboration with our communities in addressing the root causes exacerbating the disparities Oregonians of color face every day,” said Rep. Ricki Ruiz (D-Gresham), co-chair of the BIPOC Caucus. 

Health and Wellbeing 

As the state recovers from the fallout of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the BIPOC Caucus will work to ensure that Oregonians have access to safe, affordable, and culturally appropriate healthcare.

“I am excited to see the mobile health unit project, begun in the 2022 legislative session, continue on the path of implementation. I am looking forward to the great work these units will do in under-served and often overlooked communities within our state,” said Rep. Travis Nelson (D-North/Northeast Portland).

“In order to ensure an equitable recovery for all Oregonians, we must invest in our healthcare workforce. I'm grateful to the legislature for moving forward several oral health workforce bills and continuing to prioritize behavioral health investments this session,” said Rep. Hai Pham (South Hillsboro & West Beaverton).

Economic Justice

The BIPOC Caucus will support working families, individuals, and small businesses by advocating for the removal of barriers that have long prevented BIPOC individuals and communities from thriving. 

“HB3431 would provide an ongoing source of funding for the Economic Equity Investment Program which helps BIPOC communities build intergenerational wealth by purchasing a home, starting a small business, or expanding an existing business. Bills like these are essential to promoting economic equity and giving every Oregonian the tools they need to succeed,” said Rep. Nathan Sosa (D-Greater Hillsboro).

Indigenous, Immigrant and Refugee Justice

The BIPOC Caucus celebrates Oregon’s multicultural and multi-tribal heritage and commits to ensuring that these communities have the resources and opportunities necessary to pursue safety and prosperity.

“Like much of the nation, Oregon is grappling with workforce shortages and demographic changes. Available data demonstrates that immigrants and refugees are already helping to fill many of these gaps, but many internationally educated professionals still face barriers that lead to the underutilization of their skills and prevent their full participation in the Oregon labor force” said Sen. Kayse Jama (D-East Portland, Damascus, Boring). “I'm excited about SB 849, a bipartisan legislation that tackles unique barriers to occupational licensing, funds programs with proven success records of creating tailored career pathways in highly demanding jobs, and ensures impacted communities are aware of and have access to programs.” 

Education Justice 

The BIPOC Caucus will ensure that principles of equity remain a pillar of how we support and fund our schools.

“Oregon’s Pacific Islander students are experiencing unacceptable disparities in student success, including above average suspension/expulsion rates and decreasing attendance to staggering drop out rates,” said Rep. Hoa Nguyen (D-East Portland and Damascus). “The Pacific Islander Student Success Plan, HB 3144, is a community-led effort to develop culturally responsive, targeted interventions to address this academic opportunity gap. This bill is not only a critical investment in education, but an acknowledgment in state statute that we see these students and recognize the assets they bring into our classrooms and communities.” 

Public and Community Safety 

This session, the Caucus will invest in social safety nets to effectively protect BIPOC Oregonians. 

“Communities of color have long experienced trauma as part of the inequities in the world we live in. House Bill 2757 supports the investment in the National Crisis Suicide Hotline (988) and requires each of us to make an investment in the safety and well-being of our communities so that when someone is in crisis and struggling with their mental health and considering suicide they get a 988 response and not a 911 response which in the past has been detrimental to our communities,” said Rep. Tawna Sanchez (D-North and Northeast Portland).

Environmental Justice

This session, the BIPOC Caucus commits to new infrastructural investments to combat the effects of climate change and will work to ensure that these investments benefit low-income and BIPOC communities who are disproportionately affected by extreme weather. 

“In climate extremes, trees can mean the difference between life and death. But for all the tremendous forests our state holds, we also have too many unshaded heat island areas throughout the state -- typically found in lower income, rural, and BIPOC communities –  with dangerously inadequate tree canopy near our neighborhoods and schools. We need our trees to stem our climate crisis, save energy, conserve water, and keep Oregonians safer from extreme heat,” said Rep. Khanh Pham (D-Portland’s Jade District). 

Civil Rights

Understanding that protection of civil liberties remains at the heart of advancing and uplifting Black and Brown communities, the BIPOC Caucus will work to protect the rights of Oreognians to access reproductive and gender affirming care.

“Protecting and expanding civil rights of Oregonians is imperative in demonstrating that Oregon will not stand idly aside as the fallout from the Dobbs decision continues to wreak havoc across the country,” said Rep. Andrea Valderrama (D-Outer East Portland). “That’s why the Reproductive Health & Access to Care Act (HB 2002) is a priority for our caucus and for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ Oregonians. Expanding reproductive and gender affirming care to all ensures that everyone has the power to make decisions about their own bodies.” 

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random