On November 4th, Oregonians in Southwest Portland will vote to elect a State Representative for District 36. The race features incumbent Democrat Jennifer Williamson and no major challenger. Each candidate was given equal opportunity to respond to APANO’s questionnaire, to engage more directly with Oregon’s 220,000 Asian and Pacific Islanders. Their responses to 3 questions crafted by APANO members have been unedited and printed in full. APANO makes no candidate endorsements, this information is solely for the purpose of voter education.
1. Oregon currently graduates half of it’s English Language Learners, who make up 10% of the state’s K-12 student population. What policies will you support to ensure that students–including ones who identify as English Language Learner, have access to quality education and career-readiness programs after graduation?
Jennifer Williamson (D): We know that the challenges English Language Learners face are especially difficult to address in overcrowded and underfunded classrooms. Our number one priority as a state legislature should be ensuring we adequately fund a strong public education system pre-K through post-secondary.
2. Access to quality, affordable, and culturally competent health care ensures Oregonians are able to thrive and contribute. Please explain the policies you will support to increase access to care, and address health disparities, specifically for immigrants and refugees.
Jennifer Williamson (D): During the 2013 Legislative Session, I voted for HB 2611 allowing state health professional boards to require cultural competency training in order to obtain licensure. All Oregonians deserve access to affordable, quality health care that is sensitive to cultural differences and I will continue to support policies that narrow the health disparities in our state.
3. What policies do you support to strengthen economic opportunity and jobs for all communities in Oregon?
Jennifer Williamson (D): While our economy has begun to recover, we know that many of our neighbors are still struggling to make ends meet. Our state’s families deserve their shot at economic security and I look forward to working with my colleague’s next session to address some of the most critical barriers to their economic success. We will work to establish a state-wide paid sick leave policy, raise the minimum wage, create a solid pathway to save for retirement and finally address the persistent wage gaps still faced by women and people of color.
For more information about APANO’s nonpartisan civic engagement program and our voter education materials, please contact Kathy Wai firstname.lastname@example.org | 971-340-4861.