By State Representative Raquel Moore-Green
As we wrap up another year filled with joys and challenges it’s important to look ahead and find hope in knowing that together we will work though the difficulties that follow us and the new ones we have yet to meet.
The face of the pandemic continues to change and challenge our health care systems. Locally Salem Health has managed their resources in a manner which addresses both virus illness response and day to day health care that may have been set aside over the last 20 months.
Our K-12 school’s students are showing the signs of stress and strain with an increased reporting of violence, bullying, and general unrest. In speaking with a child abuse specialist recently it was shared that we knew there would be learning loss due to the shift to virtual learning in the spring of 2020. What we had not anticipated was the stunting of emotional growth due to the prolonged isolation and fear of illness. From kindergarten classrooms to college freshman, teachers and administrators are working to address these difficulties and bridge the learning and emotional gaps. The state has received billions of federal dollars to help in this arena and it will be incumbent upon OED to get these funds distributed immediately.
Local businesses have persevered and at a recent Business Roundtable I heard first-hand from employers across the job sector they have job openings, as demand for their services have not slowed. Manufacturing, professional services, hospitality, health care, and construction. One of the common themes I heard from these employers was the need to begin training and mentoring our middle school students with basic life skills. Waiting until high school for students to learn about career opportunities, technical and professional, as well as the life skills is too late in their opinion. It was noted that project-based curriculum at the middle school level will help produce personal responsibility, acceptance that one must try and try again, and pride in accomplishment. Attributes that add to the success of any business, regardless of size or industry. A special thanks to the Latino Business Alliance, Salem Area Chamber of Commerce and SEDCOR for inviting your members to participate. It was an hour packed with thoughtful concerns, ideas, and potential solutions.
Health care, education, and workforce development – all necessary components to help our communities thrive. In my role as your state representative these are the areas that I will continue to focus my time and attention. Together with the assistance of individuals like you, your businesses, and your organizations we will find success in 2022!
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Looking forward to the 2022 Short Legislative Session there are a few pieces of legislation that I will monitor and work to pass:
- A fix to the Mergers and Acquisitions legislation that passed in 2021. As the rule making and implementation process has been under way the last 6 months, several pieces of this large bill have created issues that need addressing. Original bill can be viewed here.
- A bill that directs school boards to ensure that curriculum of each course of study offered by school district is made available to public on school district’s website.
- A bill I introduced last session – a fix to the CAT tax for pharmacies. We continue to see local pharmacies close due to the inability to absorb the tax due to insurance industry regulations.
- The Surgical Tech Apprenticeship Workforce Act: a bill introduced in the last few sessions, this session by my colleague Rep. Sherrie Schouten and myself. This legislation is part of our health care workforce solution.