Tina Kotek Portland Oregon House Speaker The Oregon governor’s office is usually reactive when it comes to dealing with drought. What specific steps would you take to provide long-term solutions for years of increasing drought? The state should be a proactive, collaborative partner with local governments to make sure we maximize water resources in the most efficient and effective ways. As House Speaker, I supported increased investments in the necessary studies and new approaches for water conservation and usage. Climate change is causing longer and more frequent drought periods. As governor, I will advocate for new investments in water infrastructure and convene the regional conversations that are instrumental to helping communities be more resilient. In the absence of action by the legislature, Gov. Brown created a climate protection plan by executive order to reduce carbon emissions. That plan is being challenged in court. If elected, would you renew that order or rescind it? Why? I support the climate protection plan currently in place via executive order and will continue this work as governor. Climate change is not theoretical to Oregonians – it is real for us, right now. From heat waves to wildfires to droughts and flooding, our communities are experiencing the impacts of climate change. We need to be bold in our approaches. I am proud to be the strongest proponent of climate action and clean energy in the race for governor. That’s why I’ve earned the endorsement of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. As House Speaker, I made sure that we took strategic steps to combat climate change by transitioning our state to 100% clean electricity by 2040, passing a first-in-the-nation law to end the use of dirty coal-fired power by 2035, and reducing air pollution from cars and trucks with the Clean Fuels Program. Unfortunately, partisan obstructionism in the legislature prevented lawmakers from pursuing the full range of actions needed to combat this crisis at the scale necessary to ensure resiliency for our communities, leaving Gov. Brown no choice but to step in and issue an executive order. When Oregonians elect a new governor in November, it will be a choice between continuing to move forward on fighting climate change, or risk going backwards. That means the resiliency, the vitality, of our communities is at stake. We need to continue building on the progress that we have made, and that means we need to elect a governor who will fight for environmental protections and not one who will cower to special interests and put the well-being of our communities at risk. In addition to climate change, scientists throughout the state have raised concerns that Oregon’s reliance on “clearing fuel” as a form of forest management contributes to worsening conditions. Conversely, timber industry groups continue to champion industrially planted forests and timber harvests as an important tool in suppressing wildfires. What stakeholders would you include in conversation as you develop your forest management policy? As House Speaker, I supported communities impacted by destructive wildfires, working alongside leaders from rural Oregon to pass comprehensive legislation to build community resilience in responding to and preventing wildfires, including: Requiring the Department of Forestry to develop a comprehensive statewide map of wildfire risk to better identify and alert vulnerable populations and communities of potential threats. Requiring the state to adopt new wildfire hazard mitigation standards when constructing new buildings so communities are more resilient to potential disasters in the future. Creating a wildfire emergency shelter program because every Oregonian impacted by wildfires deserves access to support in the face of disaster. Funding programs to provide filtration systems to address wildfire smoke to help mitigate the public health impacts of wildfires on our communities. Investing in workforce training programs to help train young Oregonians to manage our forest lands so that we can grow the pipeline to train and prepare a workforce to prevent and respond to wildfires in the future. When it comes to forest management policy, I will include all perspectives in the conversation and strongly rely on what the scientific research says is the best approach to improving the resiliency of our forests. Measure 110 decriminalized drugs in Oregon while stepping up treatment. How would you confront the state’s failure to meet the intent of the law to ensure thousands of Oregonians get treatment? Oregonians overwhelmingly voted to pass Measure 110 because they believe that a health-based approach to addiction and overdose is more effective, humane and cost-effective than criminal punishments. When someone is ready to go into treatment, we need to ensure there is a treatment bed or program ready and waiting for them so they can get the help they need when they are ready to receive it. As House Speaker, I worked to facilitate the implementation of the promises of Measure 110 last year, including allocating $20 million in up-front funding to prepare providers for the full funding that was scheduled to be distributed early this year. The failure of the Oregon Health Authority to get resources out the door to Oregonians struggling with addiction is unacceptable. One of the reasons I am running for governor is to make sure our state government can deliver on what people need. The delayed rollout of Measure 110 is truly a life or death issue, and when we have a health care crisis as big as this, the state needs to be able to follow through. As governor, I will work hard to make sure Oregonians have access to the treatment they need, when they need it. We can’t wait. What state action would you direct to confront the threat to health and safety posed by fentanyl? As House Speaker, I supported all recent efforts to make it as easy as possible to obtain naloxone to save the lives of individuals experiencing an opioid overdose. As governor, I will continue these efforts, as well as improve access to addiction treatment services throughout the state and work with the federal government to crack down on the illegal manufacture, distribution and sale of fentanyl. What steps would you take to address the stress of educators, students and parents and keep our public K-12 schools from imploding? Every Oregon child should have a safe, supportive place to receive a high-quality public education. The COVID-19 pandemic has been traumatic for students, parents and educators. As governor, my goal will be to support our schools to respond to this trauma and keep our young people learning and on a successful path to graduation. In 2019, as House Speaker, I made sure the legislature took a giant leap forward in solving the longstanding problem of our underfunded schools by passing historic legislation to bring an additional $1 billion per year to our schools. The Student Success Act is now bringing new targeted investments to improve access to early childhood education, fully fund career and technical education (as envisioned by voters when they passed Measure 98), increase social and emotional supports for students so they can thrive (for example, more counselors and social workers), and expand community-based equity initiatives to make sure every student is successful. As governor, I will be laser-focused on making sure the Student Success Act dollars are being utilized successfully. Additionally, I will continue to support summer and afterschool programs that provide additional opportunities for students to get back on track academically after the pandemic school years. I will work with parents, students, and educators to ensure we can create a system where every Oregon child succeeds. Do you believe that the K-12 system in Oregon should get involved in early childhood care to help provide more child care options and education, and if so, how? Every family deserves access to high-quality, affordable child care and early learning options in their community. As the former policy director of Children First for Oregon, I am familiar with the science that shows the importance of the first few years of life for healthy brain development and life-long learning. As governor, I will ensure that recent state investments in child care and early learning options deliver the results we need, especially addressing the severe lack of child care in some parts of Oregon. To do this, it will be important to develop a stronger pipeline of early childhood professionals and support the current workforce with increased professional development opportunities. Some school districts have already begun to integrate pre-K learning opportunities into their schools through enhanced community partnerships, Head Start/Oregon PreK programs, or the inclusion of Preschool Promise classrooms – or all of the above. School districts should be strong partners as we work to make sure every child has what they need no matter where they live in the state. What do you see as the two biggest barriers to creating an adequate supply of child care in Oregon, and what do you propose to change to help alleviate the shortage of child care? The two biggest barriers are inadequate public investments and a poorly compensated workforce (and these issues are intertwined). Child care needs to be valued more and seen as basic infrastructure that is vital for the success of our families and our communities. It should be adequately funded and supported. We cannot depend on the private sector, particularly the network of small businesses who provide a lot of the care, to expand without more public investment. As governor, I will focus on making sure recent improvements in child care/early learning funding deliver the results we need and expand access to child care above pre-pandemic levels. This will include investments in community-based child care to help these programs be more accessible, as well as a comprehensive approach to cutting down on red tape that makes it difficult to provide child care in Oregon. Additionally, I will focus on supporting our child care workforce by increasing state payments so early childhood educators can be paid better and improving professional development opportunities so this work can be a long-term career. It is likely that Oregonians will need to consider a dedicated funding source to provide the needed public investment to substantially improve child care access and quality so every family has what they need for their children. Much of the economy of rural Oregon is based on agriculture, natural resource extraction and tourism. Agriculture is consolidating, natural resource extraction is in decline, and tourism provides mostly minimum-wage jobs. As governor, what are the first three steps you would take to build a stronger economy in rural Oregon? As governor, my first three steps for supporting the economic vitality of our rural communities will be: (1) listen and learn by engaging with local leaders through intentional conversations about their vision for their communities; (2) make sure state plans to use new investments to expand access to high-speed internet to every part of our state are on track; and (3) consult with and support the work of key public agencies (for example, OSU Extension) to meet the needs of our natural resource economies. State government has a lot of tools to help the economy. Please rank the following to show your support, with 1 being the highest priory. Use 0 for any idea you do not support. __ Targeted tax breaks for key industries __ Direct financial aid to education/job training programs. __ Direct financial aid to specific businesses __ Infrastructure and public works, such as broadband and transportation? __ Other (be specific) 4) Targeted tax breaks for key industries 1) Direct financial aid to education/job training programs. 3) Direct financial aid to specific businesses 2) Infrastructure and public works, such as broadband and transportation? What specific steps would you take to increase access to housing and housing stock for low and middle-income Oregonians? Oregon’s housing and homelessness crisis is the most pressing issue impacting our communities. As governor, I will bring more urgency to help our unhoused neighbors get into permanent housing, and I will also focus on increasing the overall amount of housing in our state. Oregon has a shortage of at least 111,000 homes, with the greatest shortage being homes that are affordable to lower-income families. Statewide, we need to build about 36,000 new homes each year over the next decade to address the current shortage of housing and keep pace with future housing demand. As House Speaker, I led the way to invest more than $1.5 billion over the last five years to help build more affordable housing, provide more rental assistance to keep people housed, and maintain the current supply of affordable housing. But that’s not enough. As your governor, I will lead a comprehensive approach to tackling our housing and homelessness crisis, focusing on these five priorities: End unsheltered homelessness for veterans, families with children, unaccompanied young adults, and people 65 years and older by 2025, and continue to strengthen pathways to permanent housing for all Oregonians experiencing homelessness. Build enough housing to meet the need for people currently experiencing homelessness, address the current shortage of housing, and keep pace with future affordable housing demand by 2033. Advance racial equity by reducing the racial homeownership gap by 20 percent by 2027. Keep people housed who are currently on the brink of homelessness. Encourage intergovernmental and private sector partnerships to have more effective and efficient responses to solving this crisis. If we’re going to solve Oregon’s housing crisis, we need both near-term and long-term strategies. As governor, I will move Oregon forward on meeting both the immediate challenges and tackling the root causes of this crisis. How would you support local efforts to provide designated places for unhoused Oregonians including overnight parking sites, tent camping sites and tiny homes? Would that support include seeking state funding? Oregon’s housing and homelessness crisis is the most pressing issue we face. I will bring more urgency to help our unhoused neighbors get stable and into permanent housing. As House Speaker, I got more state money to local communities to meet immediate shelter needs. For example, I was able to get $5 million to create a shelter in a former Rite-Aid store, and right now it’s a 24/7 shelter serving 50 people inside every day, providing the necessary stability to help people transition into permanent housing. I also made sure there were a dozen stand-alone pod shelters at the site in the parking lot for people who would do better with more privacy. I also successfully fought to provide more shelter during the pandemic and for Oregonians made houseless by the 2020 Labor Day wildfires by securing $75 million for Project Turnkey, an effort to repurpose motel properties to create more transitional housing. In less than seven months, Project Turnkey created 19 new shelters in 13 counties, resulting in a 20% increase in the state supply of shelter beds for people in need. Recently, I traveled to Southern Oregon where I visited with the great folks at Rogue Retreat. Rogue Retreat offers an entire continuum of services to unhoused Oregonians in the Medford area - from a traditional shelter to managed tent sites to tiny home villages. We can solve this crisis with determination, coordination, and targeted resources. As governor, I am going to work with our community partners and local governments to set up as many opportunities for safe shelter as possible for our unhoused neighbors – from managed RV parks to tiny home villages. We need to do it all to get every Oregonian into safe and stable housing so that they can have the permanency they need. The legislature has been working to make it easier to build more units of housing in cities, to close the gap between housing supply and demand. Has it gone far enough? Will you make it easier for cities to adopt practices allowing more rapid and more dense construction? Oregon is healthier and safer when everyone has somewhere to live in security, peace and dignity. Right now, Oregon has a shortage of at least 111,000 homes, with the greatest shortage being homes that are affordable to lower-income families. Statewide, we need to build about 36,000 new homes each year over the next decade to address the current shortage of housing and keep pace with future housing demand. Oregonians value and believe in our land use system, and so do I. That’s why I have focused on doing new things to create more housing choices within existing urban growth boundaries in order to protect our farms and forests. I have worked to streamline permitting so faith communities can convert their properties into affordable housing more quickly. I passed nationally-recognized legislation to support more housing options in our established neighborhoods. I also put us on a path to truly understand the housing supply problem in all parts of the state through assessing local and regional needs. Our land use system can and must support the housing Oregonians need. As governor, I will get to work on Day One to put in place a bold agenda to shelter Oregonians currently experiencing homelessness, address the current shortage of housing, and keep pace with future affordable housing demand. With regard to new development, this will mean meeting local housing production targets in an equitable way to create more inclusive communities and address historic patterns of segregation by income, create the construction workforce necessary to do this work, and encourage innovation, streamline permit processes, and support housing developers to scale up to build these homes.