Highlights from Ron's Oregon Summer

Ron this past weekend wrapped up a very busy summer in Oregon that included fighting to protect American values like election security, taking the offensive on wildfires, holding town halls, working to build on Oregon’s economic strengths and protecting health care from Donald Trump’s attacks.
On his most recent trip during the last weekend of summer in Portland, Bend, Medford and Eugene, Ron highlighted Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s hostility to the Affordable Care Act and its protections for Americans with pre-existing health conditions, Kavanaugh’s dangerous views on Roe vs. Wade, and the serious and credible sexual assault nominations Kavanaugh faces.
Now heading into fall -- after the senator flew more than 40,000 miles between Washington, DC and Portland between the Memorial Day congressional work period and the last weekend of summer -- here are some of the many highlights from Ron’s summer in Oregon:
Standing up for American values
Ron was honored to have taken part in Memorial Day ceremonies in southern Oregon to remember those who paid the ultimate cost defending America’s freedoms.
Among our country’s most important freedoms is elections that allow voters to make choices free of outside interference. That’s why Ron was heartened by all the Oregonians working with him to bolster election security with his Protecting American Votes and Elections (PAVE) Act.


Also key to citizen participation in America is jury service, which Ron reported for at home in Multnomah County.
Taking the offensive against wildfires
Another tough summer for wildfires in Oregon and the West requires a forward-looking, aggressive attack on many fronts.
Ron’s comprehensive approach included passage of his bipartisan bill eliminating federal agencies’ flawed practice of borrowing from wildfire prevention funds; successfully urging the Forest Service to develop a plan addressing the hazardous fuels backlog in the woods; and working with Senator Merkley to secure $7 million to train National Guard members to fight wildfires;.
He heard as well from Oregonians about the need for his work pressing the Forest Service to ensure enough air tankers are available to fight wildfires; and seeking disaster relief for Oregon farmers whose crops were destroyed by wildfires.
When reports surfaced that Verizon slowed -- or “throttled” -- the data speeds of firefighters’ communications during big blazes, Ron demanded the telecom company explain why it was endangering firefighters and the communities they are working to protect.
And in response to the wildfire smoke that choked much of our state, Ron introduced the Clean Air Refugee Assistance Act that would provide short- term housing relief for vulnerable senior citizens, children and others facing unhealthy air from wildfires. He met with Oregonians across the state who support the bill.
Building a stronger economy
As the senior Democrat on the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, Ron spoke throughout the state this summer about his broad-based affordable housing strategy to help middle-income Oregonians such as teachers, cops and nurses. Important pieces of that comprehensive approach are his bills focusing on low-income housing, middle-income renters and first-time homebuyers.
In a major speech at the Westside Economic Alliance in Washington County, he also shared his ideas of how to build on our state’s strengths by expanding exports, increasing good-paying, trade-based jobs and investing in roads and outdated infrastructure.
And he worked closely with our farmers to get Oregon priorities -- increasing hop production, berries and wheat -- into agriculture and trade legislation. He also toured a Woodburn hemp farm to talk with some of the Oregon farmers poised to benefit from his bipartisan Hemp Farming Act.
Protecting and improving Health Care
With Donald Trump scheming steadily to eliminate strong, loophole-free protections from discrimination for pre-existing health conditions, Ron spent the summer pushing back hard on the Kavanaugh nomination and many other fronts.
The continued attempted assaults on health care by Trump and his Republican allies in Congress was a frequent topic raised by Oregonians.
In the immediate aftermath of Trump’s July nomination of  Kavanaugh, Ron heard from Oregonians who share his opposition to the nominee and helped mobilize Oregon’s grass-roots defense of women’s privacy at rallies across the state.
Ron also was a leader in the successful effort this June to increase federal funding for the Rural Health Care Program, which will help to meet the growing demand for telehealth services in rural parts of Oregon and nationwide.
Holding town halls
Ron marked his 900th town hall in Eugene over the Fourth of July congressional work period -- part of his statewide tour spotlighting the importance of the First Amendment despite Trump’s incessant attacks.
In addition to his Eugene town hall, Ron also held open-to-all town halls in Sisters, Clackamas and the tiny Lake County town of Paisley -- a community with fewer residents than were in Ron’s Multnomah County jury room over the Memorial Day congressional work period.
Volunteering and getting around
Amid all the running around in most every nook and cranny in Oregon this summer, Ron found time to volunteer at the Oregon Food Bank in Portland packing apples along with much of his Oregon staff and Senator Merkley to spotlight the potential damage from Trump to legal immigrants who use public benefits like anti-hunger programs.
And perhaps the highlight of the summer for a basketball lover like Ron was getting to shoot hoops with the kids during this visit to the Rockwood Boys and Girls Club in east Multnomah County at the Boys and Girls Club.