March 16, 2020
One of the primary roles of government is to keep people informed during a time of crisis. Our political leaders should rely on medical and public health experts to tell the public what’s actually going on and what measures we should take to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and all of our fellow residents safe during this public health crisis.
AT THE FEDERAL-LEVEL:
The Senate must pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act immediately. Millions of people in this country are one paycheck away from losing their housing; millions of children rely on food from school in order to not go hungry; and millions of parents rely on public school as daycare for their children while they work.
THIS BILL WILL HELP:
- Keep people in their homes by assisting with housing payments
- Slow the spread of the virus by enabling people who should be isolated to stay home
- Parents to stay home to care for their children when schools shut down
- People who cannot afford to miss work to still earn some income and government assistance if they are sick, forced to be isolated, or their employer closes involuntarily
Unfortunately, the bill doesn’t cover all workers, which is why we must have better support at the state- and municipal-level, as well.
AT THE STATE-LEVEL:
In Oregon, we must expand Unemployment Insurance during this time of crisis to cover the loopholes in the Federal laws and to cover people who are too sick to look for work. Anyone who cannot work due to this pandemic must be paid throughout any closures or lost work time. Oregon should also pass a state-level moratorium on rent-related evictions immediately. Furthermore, the State should be prepared to pass a statewide mortgage and rent freeze if the Governor decides it’s necessary for all Oregonians to stay home during this crisis.
Employers can proactively sign up for Work Share Oregon to ensure their employees will be able to receive unemployment benefits if hours have to be cut.
AT THE LOCAL-LEVEL:
Local municipalities, like the City of Portland, need to go beyond declaring a State of Emergency that keeps utilities online for all residents (although that’s an essential first step) – they need to pass an emergency moratorium on all rent-related evictions right away.
AT THE NEIGHBORHOOD-LEVEL:
Each of us also needs to support our neighbors whenever and however possible. Thanks to an intrepid group of Portlanders called PDX COVID-19 Mutual Aid, you can join me in signing-up to help our neighbors in any way you feel comfortable. This is the perfect opportunity for those who are not at high-risk, have the time, and are able-bodied to:
- Bring groceries to immunocompromised people who are self-isolating
- Assist with pet care
- Call someone in isolation who is lonely
- Pick up needed medications for folks who cannot go out
- Help with any other needs that people affected by this outbreak may have
I recognize this crisis has been exacerbated by the lack of Federal leadership, which leaves State and local officials to deal with this crisis with very limited information and support.
Despite all of these challenges, I know that Portland is filled with kind, generous, and good people, and, together, we will do what we can to support each other throughout this pandemic.
This situation is evolving quickly––I recommend that everyone continue to practice social distancing and to follow all public health guidelines. Doing so will help slow the spread of this disease and will hopefully prevent outstripping our medical system’s ability to respond adequately to the outbreak.
Lastly, our democracy still needs people to participate in it to make it strong. You can continue to support my campaign from home, such as by stuffing envelopes, text and phone banking, or posting on social media. Click the following links to sign up to volunteer and/or donate.
Be safe and well,