ISSUES & PRIORITIES
"Michelle is a critical thinker who really listens to the people she represents in the many leadership roles she holds. She is proactive in a responsible way, always considering the impact of her decisions."
- Melody Cornelius, City of Westfir Mayor
STRONG LOCAL ECONOMIES
Education, Housing, Infrastructure & Jobs
Schools are the lifeblood of our rural communities, and education is the foundation of a healthy economy. It is essential that teachers and students have access to infrastructure, a diversity of teaching and learning platforms, and expanded options for trade school and apprenticeships.
As rural communities look to increase living wage job opportunities and equitable access to benefits for all workers, tax incentives and targeted investments in small business enterprise, particularly rural sectors of farming and agriculture, tourism, forestry, wood products, and green innovation, will be crucial.
To aid in attracting and keeping new businesses, Oregon must first invest in the basics. Innovative workforce development in manufacturing, sustainable resource management, and green energy will help expand local jobs. Eliminating red tape for start-ups and complicated regulatory processes and fees will help bolster and retain business. Providing incentives for more efficient farming equipment, employee housing, and cooperative year-round microenterprise will help take the load off our family farms and foresters, so they can continue to grow our food and support some of our country's best carbon sequestration options right here in Oregon.
To increase affordable housing options, Oregon may consider supporting limited equity cooperatives and other preferred incentives for low-income residential ownership. While the recent Middle Housing legislation was intentioned to expand local inventory with diversified housing options, implementation for these projects needs to integrate "affordable housing" minimums and employ a decision making process at the local level to determine appropriate development to help enhance nieghborhood character, preserve access to public green spaces, and property values, while considering the cost of necessary infrastructure upgrades to accompany such development. Regional incentives may also help implement transitional and short-term housing benefits as part of an effort stabilize individuals willing to work within a system of accountability toward more permanent options.
Transportation, water delivery, electricity, and communications ~ all must all be strengthened if we intend to grow our communities. By boosting the number of trips, expanding rural lines within our district, or incorporating more train stops into regional tourist hotspots, the State may specifically promote more alternative transportation options in rural regions. Rail infrastructure could also be increased to leverage supply distribution to and from remote areas and reduce carbon emissions.
HEALTHCARE, EMS, PUBLIC SAFETY
Accessible, Affordable, Quality Services
Public safety, emergency services, and healthcare should be equally accessible to all members of our communities. To reduce the expense of medical facilities and emergency transportation while luring and keeping qualified medical experts, we require sufficient Rural Designations at both the Federal and State levels. Decisions made by lawmakers to exempt non-prescription drugs from the Corporate Activity Tax may also encourage rural pharmacies to remain operational.
In addition to improving benefits, training, and resources to enable law enforcement officials to better serve their communities, I will advocate for increased public safety, fire and EMS capacity and to expand and integrate social services and trauma-based response staff as part of these teams. I will also advocate to strengthen infrastructure for emergency communications and secure alternate transportation routes for evacuation and emergency response purposes.
Wildfire Resilency & Sustainable Land Management
For regions of our community that has been most severely affected by recent events, wildfire preventive strategies, and disaster recovery are essential. In order to prevent future damage, and defend and repair our houses and infrastructure, we also need to make sure that these tools are delivered smoothly. Additionally, the State needs to examine and revise land use regulations that encourage local control, help to mitigate climate change impacts, and promote accessibility to high-quality recreational opportunities, while honoring Indigenous peoples' ties to public lands. During the State's transition to sustainable energy, we must also help small and rural enterprises by providing resources and incentives to reward good stewardship practices and offset associated expenses - specically considering the complexities relevant to rural communities such as water rights, supply chain interruptions, and other geographical challenges, layer of regulations and an inefficient permit process at the County level.
In order to ensure that good forestry practices will improve our landscapes with healthy habitat, provide top-notch recreational opportunities, and maintain strong protections for clean air and water, we must fairly balance the cost of private timberland to community benefits while leveraging resources to help prevent wildfire damage. This is especially important as timber continues to play a significant role in Oregon's economy. To secure a healthy future for all Oregonians, I will promote stewardship incentives and sustainable land management practices for all natural and working lands.
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