On November 4th, Oregonians in East Multnomah and Clackamas County will vote to elect a State Representative for District 51.  The race features incumbent Democrat Shemia Fagan and challenger Republican Jodi Bailey.  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.

bailey_faganLeft to right: Jodi Bailey and Shemia Fagan

 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? 

Shemia Fagan (D): As a mom, I worry that the opportunities I had as a kid growing up in Oregon won’t be there for my son and all of our kids and we can’t wait until after graduation. Those opportunities begin with a solid education in our schools. First, we need to increase funding for our schools. I led the fight to increase our funding and we’re seeing results right now with schools in my district hiring back teachers and adding back school days. We also need stable and adequate funding for K-12 education. A good first step toward this goal is setting aside reserves that we are able to use when tough times happen. Our kids can’t get a good education when funding is constantly rising and falling.

To increase the career-readiness of our graduates, we must continue to bring back vocational training and technical education to all of our schools. There are jobs here in Oregon that pay well, but the trained workforce doesn’t exist to fill them. I’ve helped increase funding for these programs and will continue that work in the next session so our kids can graduate ready for good paying jobs, just like my brothers did.

Jodi Bailey (R): I support the rapid acceleration of children through the ELL programs so that they quickly master the English language and are mainstreamed back into regular education programs. Children who have not achieved language fluency and reading skills by 3rd grade are more likely to drop out of school. This isn’t acceptable.

I am a strong proponent of career-technical education. My son graduated high school this year from a skills-based program in the public schools and went straight into a family-wage job. I’d like to see this be the rule, not the exception. I will support additional transportation funding to get minority and low income children to schools with skills centers. Further, I’ll support the ability of schools to replace shop and technical programs by helping them access the capital to rebuild those classrooms which have been shuttered for years

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.

Jodi Bailey (R): As someone who has gone for years at a time without proper healthcare, having access to affordable healthcare is a priority to me. I think that in order to achieve that access, we must ensure that all technology is able to be utilized in the medical profession, and people are practicing at the top of their scope of license. That means we need to make sure that professions like Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants are practicing to the fullest scope of their license, particularly in low income, rural, and urban communities where providers are scarce.

I support increasing programs that help people into the profession if they commit to practicing in low income and minority communities. I will also support license reciprocity with other countries so that doctors and nurses who study in qualified programs can come to the US to practice here, which increases the number of minority practitioners available. Lastly, I support reimbursements for telemedicine so that people can access care in their homes, with translation support so that care is delivered in a manner that is understandable for someone who is newly immigrated.

Shemia Fagan (D): We took a good first step in the 2013 legislative session when we passed House Bill 2611 to allow state medical boards the right to make cultural competency education a prerequisite for a continued license. I was proud to vote yes on that bill and I will continue to support measures like these.

Too often, government seems to wait for problems to come to them before they take steps to fix it, but we need to address these problems sooner rather than later and to do that we need to be reaching out to communities in our districts and ask them what they need from us. So, as we head into the 2015 session I want to ask you right now to contact me and tell me what I can do as your representative in the next legislative session to make progress happen on this important issue.

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

Shemia Fagan (D): First, stable and adequate funding for K-12 education to prepare our students for what comes next, whether that is college or a job in a skilled trade. Filling those skilled trade jobs right now would help boost the economy throughout Oregon.  Second, I will reintroduce the Buy American bill, requiring taxpayer-funded projects to use American made materials, creating jobs right here at home.

Third, I will continue to work to give Oregon companies the first shot at public contracts. Your tax money should be used to create jobs here in Oregon, by supporting Oregon grown businesses.  With these three steps we’ll be on our way to strengthening our state’s economy and by creating good paying jobs for all Oregonians.

Jodi Bailey (R): When Oregonians are working, we have the money we need to fund the programs and the services I think many of us believe are important. If elected, I will be a strong proponent for local manufacturing, using our natural resource economy wisely for jobs, access to capital for small, independent, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses, and I will support extending the small business tax cut to micro-entrepreneurs and solo-entrepreneurs, many of whom are women and minority-owned businesses who were carved out of the tax cut that was passed in 2013.

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.