Jobs and Economy
My top priority in Congress is to implement policy that builds our economy and leads to more jobs in Oregon and across the country. This includes investing in infrastructure projects to improve our roads, bridges, rails, schools, and electrical grid; providing additional resources to help Oregon’s small businesses succeed; and doing everything we can to get the unemployed and underemployed back to work.
Closing the Skills Gap
The first major bill I introduced as a Member of Congress is aimed at closing the skills gap. Although many Oregonians and Americans are out of work because jobs just aren’t available, we know that some businesses want to hire but can’t find workers with the right skills. The Workforce Investment for Skilled Employees (WISE) Investment Act makes it easier for small businesses, community colleges, workforce boards, and other institutions to work together in developing job training programs that provide workers with the skills employers need. You can read more about this legislation here
Repairing our Infrastructure
Keeping our transportation infrastructure in good repair provides jobs for hard-working Americans and ensures a legacy of reliable transportation options for generations to come. I voted in favor of the surface transportation reauthorization legislation even though it could have been better because it will put Oregonians and Americans back to work on public infrastructure projects. The bill will help large scale construction projects get financing they need to move forward, and, if Oregon and Washington can work together to find funding at the state level, it can help fund the Columbia River Crossing. It also provides grants for projects of national and regional significance and establishes a national freight policy that is important to export-heavy states like Oregon.
Another action we can take immediately to help the economy is to implement the President’s proposal for a national infrastructure bank. This bipartisan proposal will allow infrastructure projects to be funded based on merit and the needs of the community, creating a win-win situation for job seekers and the towns and cities of Oregon that are lacking the resources to complete needed projects.
Finally, I also voted to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. The Ex-Im Bank plays a crucial role in helping Oregon companies export their goods to overseas markets. In just the last five years, the Ex-Im Bank has supported more than $94 million in export sales from small businesses in Oregon’s First Congressional District, underscoring its critical importance in our local economy.
Access to Capital
Small businesses are a critical part of our nation’s economy, and it’s important to give them they support they need. Time and again I have heard from small business owners that credit is still tight and resources aren’t available to help their companies grow and thrive. On my first day in office I signed on as a cosponsor of the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, which will increase the availability of and access to credit for small businesses through credit unions. By focusing on the types of industries and businesses that are fundamental to growing our economy, we can find solutions to get Oregonians back to work.
As a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, I will be paying close attention to ways in which we can support the First District’s science and research industries so that they are able to grow and create new jobs.