Working for Oregon: Spotlight on Health care, Trade & Taxes

Traveling throughout Oregon during August, Ron talked with folks about his new role as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and what it means for Oregon. As chair, he can focus even more on crafting policies to create a strong and diverse economy that will generate good-paying jobs, which give all Americans a fair shot at success. In Oregon this means policies that create economic conditions that encourage higher wages and new jobs in fields like technology and trade. Technology is vital to Oregon’s economy --  the tech sector employs more than 60,000 people in the state.  At TechFestNW, Ron outlined the economic impact that NSA mass surveillance has had on the tech industry and the need to create new privacy protections for consumers and businesses. 

One of the most important tools for creating conditions that will grow Oregon’s economy with good-paying jobs, and to expand the middle-class is the tax code. In Talent, Ron heard from employees and owners at Brammo – makers of cutting-edge electric motorcycles –on how tax credits for electric vehicles and research and development are allowing them to expand and hire more Oregonians.

Brammo’s leaders also said it is crucial to pry open new markets in Asia and Europe to continue expanding their southern Oregon business. Wyden is working to bulldoze barriers to Oregon products overseas and help companies like Brammo thrive.

In Portland, Ron visited Albina Head Start’s newest facility where New Market Tax Credits will allow this fantastic program to continue providing its early childhood education services to low-income families.

Better care for Oregon’s Seniors

Ron also visited Central Oregon to hear from health care leaders and consumers about their difficulties with the current Medicare system. Their comments at the Bend forum dovetailed with Ron’s bill to improve the Medicare system for recipients with multiple chronic conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease. The bipartisan “Better Care, Lower Cost Act of 2014” would help Medicare recipients, especially in rural areas, get better coordinated care while reducing expenses in the Medicare system.

Protecting communities from oil trains

Ongoing concerns over oil train safety prompted Ron and Senator Merkley to meet with first responders and others in the Willamette Valley who’d be responsible if there were an accident involving the transportation of oil. At the forum in Eugene, both senators heard local officials express worries about  thousands of gallons of flammable oil moving through Oregon communities without any notice from railroads. And both senators pledged they would fight for transparency in new federal rules, to ensure local fire departments and first responders have the information they need to keep communities as safe as possible.