On Monday, February 14, one hundred and fifty advocates and partners from all parts of the state gathered in Salem at the State Capitol to celebrate Valentine’s Day and the State’s Birthday. Oregon Thrives and its partners joined together to thank legislators for their service to Oregonians and delivered valentines. We met individually with nearly three quarters of our State Legislators, and shared our vision of Oregon.
Oregon Thrives’ main message was that a variety of issues impact our communities, and these issues are interconnected and interwoven. This message in particular seemed to resonate with legislators who are grappling with a budget shortfall of over $3.5 Billion for this biennium. We spread the message that Oregon Thrives envisions an Oregon with healthy and prosperous communities in which everyone has access to family wage jobs, quality education, nutritious food, stable homes and services that promote health and wellness. Oregon Thrives believes that in the coming legislative session, we must deal with the state budget in a way that protects those most affected by the economic downturn while building jobs and pathways out of poverty to help families that are struggling. By thinking strategically about critical public investments that can be made to help families meet their basic expenses and build opportunities for their future, Oregon Thrives believes that we can improve economic stability for our families, our communities and our state.
Over lunch, attendees were joined by Senators Diane Rosenbaum and Frank Morse and by Representatives Dennis Richardson and Peter Buckley. Senators Rosenbaum and Morse spoke about human services funding in this biennium. Representatives Buckley and Richardson talked about budget realities.
Have a Heart Day was a huge success, and we were so happy to partner with Oregon Thrives for this great event. To learn more, you can listen to a radio show about the day, or check out the Oregon Thrives agenda. The agenda is broad and includes a wide variety of items which are critical to the future of our state. Agenda items range from issues impacting housing and homeownership to education to food security to community accountability. Oregon Thrives members include Community Action Partnership of Oregon, Neighborhood Partnerships, the Oregon Food Bank, Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon, and others.