On November 4th, Oregonians in West Linn and Clackamas County will vote to elect a State Representative for District 37.  The race features incumbent Republican Julie Parrish and challenger Democrat Gerritt Rosenthal.  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.

Parish_RosenthalLeft to right: Julie Parrish and Gerritt Rosenthal

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? 

Julie Parrish (R): I am a strong supporter of school choice for families. Children shouldn’t be tethered to a poor-performing school by virtue of the zip code they live in. In other states where school choice is stronger and there are more options, minority and low income children are experiencing better educational outcomes.   I have drafted a bill for Stand for Children that will help hold districts accountable for how they progress English Language Learners, working to ensure they are advanced through the program and successfully moved forward through the coursework.

Kids need to be connected to education opportunities that will connect them to higher education and career-technical training. I have supported and will continue to support funding for CTE, getting quality educators in our classroom, and helping ensure that kids are positioned to join our workforce.

Gerritt Rosenthal (D): Admittedly I am not an expert in education outreach, altho I have taught TEFL in Peace Corps. Of course I support more funding for schools so they can add learner programs back to curricula. I also support the school endowment ballot measure to reduce student debt. I also support BOLI’s push for more trade and job classes in high schools which should include language assistance. I would look to groups such as APANO for specifics on how best to accomplish the goal of improving the career readiness of language learners. I would try and look at all legislation with the perspective of whether it will reduce these blocks to success.

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.

Gerritt Rosenthal (D): I support the Cover Oregon plan to have all people have access to health care, and particularly support greater health care outreach to women (prenatal, pregnancy, post natal) to improve the health of working families, especially immigrants and refugees.

Adequate funding is one of the key problems since social services, education, and corrections take up about 93% of the budget. I would support special programs, if funding can be found, to have “circuit rider” medical outreach programs to immigrant and refugee communities that currently have inadequate care or poor facilities.

Julie Parrish (R): We have a long way to go in order to make healthcare more accessible and affordable. I have supported bills that will reduce the cost of healthcare, allow small-care clinics like Zoomcare to expand, and support telemedicine options. In 2013, I sponsored HB 3383 to direct the Oregon Health Department to create a database with health information and evidence-based research to help deliver culturally-specific medicine. I will continue to look for common sense solutions to deliver better care to all Oregonians.

3. What policies do you support to strengthen economic opportunity and jobs for all communities in Oregon?

Julie Parrish (R): I have been a strong proponent of bills that will create jobs in Oregon and have a vote record that reflects that philosophy. I am currently working on an urban forestry project that I hope will create many new natural resource based jobs in the future. Streamlining regulations, helping small business get more access to capital and state contracts instead of shipping our work out to other states is a priority.

Finally, I will work to protect the small business tax cut we passed in 2013 and work to expand that benefit to sole-proprietor owned businesses.

Gerritt Rosenthal (D): I support more efforts to enforce equal pay for equal work…I also support the efforts of BOLI (and think they should be expended) to prevent wage theft, insure wage parity among equal types of work, and to enforce minimum wage and fair labor standards. I believe we currently have many of the legal tools we need to strengthen opportunity, but lack the commitment or resources. Of course I would support clear definition & establishment of a living wage. Of greatest concern are the non-metro communities where economic growth has lagged. I would try and target economic development resources to these areas where possible

For more information about APANO’s nonpartisan civic engagement program and our voter education materials, please contact Kathy Wai kathy@apano.org | 971-340-4861.