Where I stand
As the former Vice Chair of the House Health Care Committee, Rob cares deeply about expanding access to health care services, and making it more affordable. In 2021 he was the chief sponsor of a bill which aimed to enshrine the right of access to affordable healthcare into the Oregon Constitution. SJR12 passed and will be referred to the voters of Oregon in 2022. In 2019, he carried SB 770 during the debate on the floor of the House. This bill created a workgroup to study how Oregon could implement single-payer care in the future. Short of universal coverage, his number one legislative priority is lowering the cost of prescription drugs. HB 4005 was a bill that Rob championed in 2018 to create drug price transparency. This bill is critical in understanding the drivers behind drug price increases and helps the Legislature and state agencies understand how to tackle the spiraling costs of prescription drugs. The air we breathe is also incredibly important to our health In 2016, the revelation that Bullseye Glass was polluting the air in the heart of Southeast Portland was a wake-up call. Since then, Rob has focused on cleaning up Oregon’s air, supporting legislation that would require increased reporting by industrial emitters, and reduce diesel emissions. Oregon has some of the nation’s highest rates of diesel pollution and asthma, and Rob believes Oregon must catch up to other states in regulation diesel emissions. That is why he sponsored HB 2007 so we would finally do something about diesel emissions. Rob followed up on that bill by serving on the Diesel Task Force so we can find ways to help small businesses transition to cleaner engines faster and is worked in 2021 to pass legislation on this task forces findings.
Equality and Justice
It is crucial that Oregon work to fight racism and discrimination in all its forms. In 2021 Rob supported HB2929 which strengthens requirements for reporting police misconduct and violation of agency standards within 72 hours, building off of HB 4205 from the 2020 special session. Further, the directs the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training to establish and maintain a form for reports of misconduct or violation of standards. Rob also supported HB 3145 which requires law enforcement agencies to report any discipline resulting in economic sanctions against an officer to the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) for publication on their database. Rob also supported HB 3265 which strengthened Oregon’s 30-year-old Sanctuary Law, HB 3265 updates Oregon statutes to protect immigrant and refugee communities and prioritize public safety, keeping local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities separate.
Economic Recovery & Worker's rights
As a labor activist, Rob has spent his entire career fighting for working families. Rob knows that all full-time workers deserve a livable wage, good health insurance, and the right to have a union and a union contract. Rob championed Oregon’s paid family and medical leave bill, so that working Oregonians don’t have to choose between their job and being there for a loved one. In 2021 Rob supported SB483 which makes sure essential workers, who risked their lives during the pandemic to keep us afloat, have adequate and safe working conditions.
Nearly every day Rob takes time to contact individual people in SE & NE Portland to hear about what’s on their mind, and one issue comes up more than any other: Housing. Portland is facing a housing crisis and Rob has taken action. He supported the 1st statewide rent stabilization law in the country, which helps protect tenants from price-gouging and unfair treatment, and he supported legislation to increase the stock of affordable housing in cities like Portland. But he knows we have to do more. Rob supports repealing a decades-old law preventing cities like Portland from implementing rent control and other tenant protections, and investing millions in affordable housing solutions throughout Oregon. In 2021 Rob supported expanding rental assistance during this pandemic and ensuring we keep as many of our fellow portlanders housed as possible. Rob, just like all of us, is concerned about our fellow Portlanders who are houseless. Rob supported HB2004 in 2021 which sends $27 million to the Housing and Community Services Department for emergency shelter grants and $2 million for technical assistance for organizations developing and operating emergency shelters or transitional housing accommodations. In addition to supporting more affordable housing and tenant protections, Rob has consistently fought for more funding for mental health and addiction treatment, and will continue to do so both in the legislature and at the ballot. As Vice-Chair of the Behavioral Health Committee Rob helped advocate for and pass a funding package to improve our behavioral health care systems and work to care for Oregonians who are suffering from behavioral health crisis.
Rob understands that climate change is the biggest crisis facing our state, country and planet. Like many Oregonians, Rob is fighting for his children and grandchildren when he pushes for Oregon to take strong action to tackle the climate crisis. Although a small group of right-wing Republicans have prevented our state from taking bold climate action in the past, Rob is committed to fighting for a Green New deal for Oregon. Oregon must set a price on carbon and uses that money to fund new investments in green energy projects and green tech, as well as standing up for the communities most impacted by pollution and climate change. We are running out of time to address climate change and Rob believes that Oregon must lead the nation in saving the planet for future generations. In 2021 Rob was proud to support HB2021 which requires retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to 80 percent below baseline emissions levels by 2030, 90 percent below baseline emissions levels by 2035 and 100 percent below baseline emissions levels by 2040.
Rob believes every woman has the right to choose. Oregon is one of the least restrictive states in the country when it comes to reproductive health, and he has fought to keep it that way. That’s why, in the 2017 session, Rob co-sponsored the Reproductive Health Equity Act, ensuring access to reproductive health for all Oregonians. Rob will also ensure that reproductive healthcare is funded, despite Donald Trump’s rollbacks in federal funding and Republicans efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade elsewhere in this country.
In the 2021 session Rob served as the vice chair of the behavioral health committee. Oregone is experiencing a behavioral health crisis that touches the lives of nearly every resident. Many Oregonians have directly experienced the difficulty of finding treatment for ourselves or a loved one. Oregon struggles with high rates of substance use disorder, overdose deaths and suicide. Mental Health America ranks Oregon 48th in the country due to our higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care. With the help of local advocates from SE Portland and across the state, were able to pass a $474 million behavioral health package for Oregonians. The goal of these investments is to create a system in behavioral health, seamlessly integrated with physical healthcare, with multiple entry points, “no wrong doors’’ and as few gaps as possible. We will know we have succeeded when patients have timely access to services at all levels and when we see reductions in houselessness, ER visits, hospitalizations and overdoses.
Tax Fairness & Education Funding
Fixing Oregon’s broken revenue system has been a top priority for Rob. Continuing to shift the tax burden off of the working and middle class to large corporations that can afford to pay their fair share is one way Rob hopes to raise the revenue our state needs to invest in health care and education. In the 2019 session, Rob helped pass the Student Success Act, a one billion dollar per year tax on corporations to fund schools, the largest corporate tax increase in Oregon’s history. He also introduced a bill to crack down on offshore tax havens. In the 2021 session, Rob worked on property tax reform and will continue to fight to make our tax policy more fair.
When Rob moved to Oregon in 1992, he joined the fight to defeat Measure 9, a ballot measure which would have required schools to teach children that being LGBTQ is “abnormal, wrong, unnatural, and perverse.” Oregon has made great advances in securing the rights of LGBTQ people since the 1990’s, and Rob has worked hard to protect these advances from all challenges, while working to expand rights to communities that are still marginalized by current laws. In 2017, Rob passed HB 2673, making it easier for transgender and nonbinary Oregonians to change their government-issued identity documents to reflect who they are. In 2019, Rob supported Adi’s Act (SB 52), which addresses teen suicide, especially among LGBTQ youth. In 2021 Rob also sponsored and worked on SB 704 which banned the LGBTQ2SIA+ panic defense which is when a defendant claims to have acted in a state of violent, temporary insanity, committing assault or murder, because of unwanted same-sex sexual advances. This is unacceptable and we banned it.