The cost of health care is out of control. For those who are fortunate enough to be insured, it often isn’t enough in the face of serious medical challenges. Lew Frederick knows what our community is facing, he’s seen his neighbors go through it and he’s faced his own challenges, fighting off prostate cancer and finding ways to pay for medical costs his family’s insurance won’t cover. Inefficient systems and big money interests have kept the health care system working for profits instead of people.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Here in Oregon, we spend millions buying private insurance from out-of-state companies for our public employees. Simply creating a public-backed insurance corporation in Oregon could save precious resources that could be used to expand access to health care for all Oregonians.
The money we save could be invested in incentive programs for nurses and other health care professionals to work and live in the communities that need them most, and moving toward a system where health care is given the status it deserves in a modern society – a human right.
No one should get sick because they can’t afford insurance, and no one should go broke because they get sick. Lew Frederick knows we can’t wait for federal health reform – Oregon can pioneer the policies that will cut health care costs, expand health care access, and most of all – make our communities healthier.
Funding for public education is in constant jeopardy. Our community colleges struggle to maintain the programs that will train the workforce of the future. Very little progress has been made to narrow the achievement gap between high-income and low-income students, and between white students and students of color. Public schools see talented teachers leave the system for lack of support or more lucrative private sector jobs.
Education doesn’t just happen while students are in the classroom – our children’s minds need nourishment after the bell rings, and beyond the September-June school year. Educational outcomes are strongly tied to environmental health and safety, strong communities and economic stability in addition to high quality teachers and active parents.
Lew will champion legislation to make after-school and summer programs accessible to all students to close the achievement gap and ensure all students have an opportunity to thrive, and to screen alternative educational tools like online schools to make sure Oregon students have access to the very best of them.
To have the strongest schools, we need the strongest teachers, so Lew will work to support and expand new teacher mentorship programs to attract and retain the best talent for all of Oregon’s schools.
Today’s economic climate is challenging – whether you’re a small business owner, employed or unemployed, or a young person just entering the job market. The changes we’re undergoing also present a great opportunity to build a better economy – and Lew has ideas to help Oregon lead the charge. Lew will champion legislation that supports local small businesses and keeps more dollars and jobs in Oregon.
Small businesses are the backbone of a strong local economy and the primary driver of job-creation. Lew will support policies that empower public agencies to serve as their own general contractors – allowing them to hire local firms for public works projects, breaking up larger projects into bite-sized pieces so that small firms can bid, increasing their capacity and keeping the work local.
To support the development of small businesses, Lew will direct targeted assistance to incubate young businesses with technical support and other services that can often make the difference between success and failure in the crucial early years.
We have a tremendous opportunity to save money and create jobs by retrofitting public buildings for energy efficiency – with the dual benefit of addressing global environmental concerns. Lew has consistently supported these money-saving, job-creating projects. As a member of the State Board of Education and a member of the N/NE Portland community, Lew continues to support expansion of jobs training programs at PCC-Cascade, working to match opportunities created here with a skilled workforce.
North and Northeast Portland is home to dozens of “brownfields,” sites that were once used by dry cleaners, mechanics, or other industrial businesses, who at the time found it economical to dispose of hazardous waste by dumping it outside. This has left a legacy of environmental hazards that affect our children’s health and our communities’ livability. We must clean up these sites, and in the process create jobs and increase our neighborhoods’ productive potential.
Lew will see to that we address the environmental challenges that affect Portlanders and Oregonians in addition to taking action to address global challenges like climate change and ecosystem deterioration.
If we are going to be effective, it is time we address the 80% of inmates in our criminal justice system who suffer from mental illness and drug-related problems. Attorney General John Kroger has pointed this out repeatedly. Lew will work with him and others to find the very best ways to ensure Oregon is both safe and smart.
Improving public safety means a lot more than hiring more police officers – it demands that we change the way police relate to the community. Lew knows what it’s like to get pulled over in front of his own home (multiple times) as a result of racial profiling. He also knows that our peace officers want to do the best job they can. Lew will champion legislation to improve the training of public safety personnel to focus on improving outcomes and building relationships that lead to safer communities.