Senators Wyden & Warner took to Twitter to answer questions about their bill- Student Right to Know Before You Go Act. It gives students the information they need to choose between colleges and programs.
Forests on both the east and west sides of The Cascades are drier than normal, which means that fire season is starting earlier than in past years and may last longer. To address and fully understand these concerns, Senator Wyden met with fire officials in both Portland and Medford this past weekend. At each briefing, Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service officials discussed the seriousness of current drought conditions and fire preparedness with Senator Wyden.
Additionally Senator Wyden held his annual town hall meetings in Klamath and Lake Counties this weekend. In Lakeview, Senator Wyden honored Korean War Veterans Melvin Young, Jerry Wardwell and Lee Sanders who shared their stories of service.
More photos from Senator Wyden's fire briefings and town halls!
At 9:30 am on May 9, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Mark Warner, D-Va., and U.S. Representatives Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and Robert Andrews, D-N.J., talked with a group of high school students, parents and guidance counselors about the challenges of choosing a college without accurate and comparative information about graduation rates and expected debt, earnings and employment.
The lawmakers also announced the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act of 2013, a bicameral, bipartisan bill that would ensure that a wide range of accurate, comparative and easy to understand data about colleges would be readily available online for prospective students and their families.
Watch the discussion and join the conversation on twitter using #HigherEd!
While Earth Day may officially be today, it was Earth Day all weekend in Oregon.
To kick it off, Senator Wyden visited Jefferson High School’s carbon footprint fair. There he met with students from Jefferson High and Vernon Elementary and had the privilege of meeting Angeleesah Frierson- a Jefferson High student recently awarded with the prestigious Gates Millennium scholarship.
From Portland it was south, to continue honoring Earth Day in the city that has been emphasizing sustainability since before there was an Earth Day—Eugene! There Senator Wyden visited Arcimoto- a Eugene-based electric vehicle company- and drove off to EWEB’s Earth day celebration in an Arcimoto electric vehicle. He then headed over to Springfield for Sprout’s “Stalkholder Meeting” organized by the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO) to support healthfulness through local and sustainable agriculture.
The Earth Day festivities wrapped up in Medford, where Senator Wyden partnered with members of the Rogue Valley Clean Cities Coalition to talk about the economic and environmental benefits of declining natural gas prices. The news conference was held at Rogue Valley Transit District, which has been using compressed natural gas in its buses for 20 years and 2 of Medford’s new garbage trucks are now powered by CNG!
In addition to celebrating sustainability, Senator Wyden had a fantastic Q&A with the innovators at Thetus Corporation, spoke at the Oregon PTA’s 100th Leadership Conference, and participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony with Representative Peter DeFazio for the new University of Oregon Student Veteran Center.
Equal pay for equal work is simply a no-brainer. That’s why the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law on January 29, 2009, ensuring that those facing pay-related discrimination can report unfair treatment at any time. In continuing the fight for pay equity, Senator Wyden is a proud cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help address the income disparity between men and women in America.
Senator Wyden knows that there is more work to do. He continues to work to ensure that all workers, regardless of gender, receive fair pay for their hard work. In Oregon women still earn 16.1% less than their male counterparts- and that just isn’t right. Every single American deserves to be able to walk into work every day without the fear of discrimination.
Today, what’s made in Oregon isn’t likely to stay in Oregon-- or even in America. Small businesses and their online commerce are growing – especially in Oregon -- and customs law needs to reflect the increasingly global marketplace.
That’s why Senator Wyden (D- Ore.) and Senator Thune (R- S.D.), introduced the Low Value Shipment Regulatory Modernization Act of 2013, which raises the threshold at which shipments coming into the U.S. are exempt from tariffs from $200 to $800.
Raising the threshold makes it easier for small businesses who depend on the global marketplace to operate more efficiently and avoid some of the high costs associated with shipping internationally. Businesses can more efficiently move goods across borders and receive returns from international customers faster and at lower cost. As the government’s administrative costs for shipments $800 or less are significantly reduced, taxpayers win too.
Bottom line: the Low Value Shipment Regulatory Modernization Act allows small businesses to focus on growing their business and for international e-commerce to be quick commerce.
Today is Veterans Jobs Day on the Hill and as a member of the Congressional Veterans Job Caucus, Senator Wyden knows how important it is that our veterans have the resources they need to transition to civilian work.
The Senator toured the Department of Defense’s Hero2Hired mobile job site which helps to better connect veterans, including unemployed National Guard and Reserve troops, with potential employers. The mobile demonstration site Senator Wyden visited helps to promote Hero2Hired’s electronic job and career web platform. This website contains everything from job listings with military-friendly employers to resources for resume building and translating military skills to civilian job qualifications.
For more information on the Hero2Hired program and job resources for veterans, please see: www.h2h.jobs.
Hanford represents an unacceptable threat to the Pacific Northwest and it’s time to move the cleanup of the radioactive waste at the site up on the list of priorities for the Senate and for the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. That was the message that came through loud and clear after Senator Wyden visited Hanford on February 19 for a day-long tour of the groundwater treatment plant, the waste tanks and the unfinished waste treatment plant. The threat comes from the combination of leaking tanks and a waste treatment plant that is behind schedule, over budget and with no completion date in sight.
The trip, plus the announcement that six tanks of hazardous nuclear waste are now believed to be leaking, promoted Senator Wyden to ask the Government Accountability Office to investigate maintenance and monitoring procedures at Hanford.
Hanford wasn’t the only thing on Senator Wyden’s trip. There were also town hall meetings in Lincoln, Tillamook, Sherman, Morrow and Umatilla counties along with a speech to the Medford Rotary on the need to increase the federal timber harvest in Southwestern Oregon, a visit to CDS Publications in Medford, a chance to talk with World War II and Korean War veterans at the Air and Space Museum in Eugene and watched the Oregon men’s basketball team win over Stanford.
Senator Wyden also stopped by Portland’s own Puppet Labs and Keen Footwear. At Puppet Labs he talked tech policy, rode their “flyer,” and met employees and their company dog! Then on to visit Keen Footwear to check out their new products and hold a Q&A with employees.
Hermiston, Oregon is leading the way on immigration and creating a community that embraces diversity. At a recent town hall in the Umatilla County community, Mayor David Drotzmann presented Senator Wyden with a letter asking for Congress to pass “fair & sensible” immigration reform laws. Senator Wyden said: “I hope that this will set off an effort in similar communities all across the country. Once again it is wonderful to see eastern Oregon take the lead, show the rest of the country how to proceed, and do some trail-blazing; in this case for a better country and a better community.”
The growing representation of the Hispanic community in Hermiston prompted the City Council to form the Hispanic Advisory Committee in 2012 and making the city a self-proclaimed “all-inclusive community.”
Wyden with Eddie De La Cruz, Chair of Hermiston's Hispanic Advisory Committee, & his family.
[from left to right] Celso De La Cruz (Eddie's father), Senator Wyden, Eddie De La Cruz, & Elena De La Cruz (Eddie’s wife)
The City of Hermiston is trailblazing when it comes to local immigration reform! Read more here: 1.usa.gov/155S8ib— WydenPress (@WydenPress) February 20, 2013
After the tech company they worked at in Portland closed its doors, Adam Lowry and Michael Richardson took advantage of the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEA) offered in Oregon. The program provides entrepreneurs like Lowry and Richardson the freedom and opportunity to start their own businesses while collecting unemployment benefits.
About three years ago, over the course of six months they used their pooled resources and the money they received through SEA to launch Urban Airship—a Portland-based maker of software that enables “push” notifications on mobile devices. They used this money to pay their rent and keep the lights on while putting the rest of their business expenses on credit cards.
Since that time, Urban Airship has become a multi-million business. So far, $46.5 million has already been invested in the company - including $25 million in recent new backing. With this new funding, Urban Airship plans to double its 118-person workforce this year.
“This is how you create private sector jobs in a tough economy – by being entrepreneurial and creative,” Senator Wyden said of Urban Airship’s success. “Reinventing the employment safety net has allowed people like Adam and Michael – and companies like Urban Airship – to become the face of entrepreneurship.”
Senator Wyden has long championed the SEA program first authoring legislation in 1985 to empower states to provide unemployment compensation to individuals for the purpose of funding self-employment. Currently, only a handful of states take advantage of the program, but due to legislation authored by Sen. Wyden and passed in 2012, all states can now access their share of $35 million in grant funding to create or expand SEA programs.
The U.S. Small Business Association of the U.S. Department of Labor have launched a new website to support state workforce and unemployment agencies in implementing or enhancing Self-Employment Assistance Programs. For more information please visit: http://sea.workforce3one.org/