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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

There is tremendous shifting in information once again today around vaccines. We appreciate everyone’s resilience and understanding as we weather this storm together. Please read on for further updates on vaccines and also the start of our 2021 legislative session next week.

Change in Vaccine Policy

Earlier this week the federal government announced that they would release the remaining available doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to states as early as next week and made recommendations to vaccinate all individuals age 65 and over. Unfortunately, this was misleading information -- there were no additional vaccine reserves at the time of the government announcement and this was reported today by the Washington Post. Governor Brown, considering the information her team was given at the time, announced broader accessibility to the vaccine to seniors and educational staff. This is now impossible considering the state has no reason to believe additional doses are forthcoming. At this time, Oregon is continuing to move forward with tier 1a vaccinations (this includes healthcare personnel and those in long term care facilities). If you do not fall into this category, please do not call your doctor or show up at their office expecting a vaccine. Instead, wait for continued guidance from your local public health officials. The Governor will be holding a press conference today at 2pm which can be viewed here. Unfortunately, we do not know more beyond that but my team and I will reach out once we have information.

I know this revelation is upsetting and further erodes the trust between the people and their government. There is no simple fix to the damage done by the Trump Administration and federal Department of Health and Human Services but know that myself, alongside my colleagues, are working to ensure we get the vaccines out as quickly and effectively as possible while focused on the groups most at risk to the virus. During this time we must support one another as a community, and we must stay calm, stay kind, and stay safe.

2021 Legislative Session

The 2021 legislative session was to start on January 19th. However, with current security concerns, we will not be in the Capitol until later in the week. I am anxious to get to work and am grateful to the Oregon State Patrol and our legislative leaders and Governor for prioritizing safety for all of us who will be doing the people’s work. 

I am excited to share my committee assignments, bills I will introduce and establish with you a reliable schedule for updates that you may rely on throughout the session. Please read on.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you need assistance with a state agency or would like to share your thoughts about the issues important to you. My email is Rep.MaxineDexter@OregonLegislature.gov, my team will get back to you as soon as we can.

Committee Assignments
On January 5, Speaker Kotek announced the committee assignments for the 2021 session. I am pleased to serve in the following roles:

  • Member, House Health Care Committee

  • Chair, COVID-19 Health Care Subcommittee

  • Member, House Judiciary Committee

  • Member, House Equitable Policing Judiciary Subcommittee

As Oregon, alongside the rest of the country, continues to cope with the impacts of COVID-19, I am honored to chair the newly created COVID-19 Health Care Subcommittee. We will work on legislation related to health care and COVID-19 as well as hosting frequent public hearings relating to testing, tracing, treatment, vaccines, and other health impacts of COVID-19 on Oregonians. 

It is an honor to serve NW Portland and NE Washington County in Salem and I urge you all to reach out to my office to share your thoughts and engage with the work my team and I are doing on behalf of House District 33.

Bills
For my first full legislative session, I have several bills I plan on introducing throughout the 6 month session - here are the current themes:

  • Health Care

    • Health care is and must be treated as a human right. I ran for office to help ensure Oregonians had access to high quality, comprehensive, affordable care. This session I have several health care bills, one of which sets the groundwork for the eventual phasing out of fee-for-service health care which perpetuates a costly and low-value health care system. Another bill seeks to create a pilot program at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility to expand access to comprehensive and coordinated care for adults in custody. Other healthcare-related bills I am introducing include a bill to mandate youth suicide reporting, a BIPOC primary care clinician loan repayment program, and a bill focused on ensuring Oregonians have easy to transfer, digital medical records.

  • Environment

    • It is imperative we do everything we can to protect the planet for our children and generations to come. I will be introducing several environmental bills this legislative session. One will improve Oregonians’ ability to properly recycle with a “truth in labeling” policy mandating clear and realistic labels on packaging to only be labeled as “recyclable” if indeed known to be locally recyclable. We will also work to move to sustainable packaging through transitioning away from single-use plastics (think take-out containers and utensils). Another bill will prohibit permits from being issued to build new facilities that use chemicals to turn plastics to fuel as these are known to be highly toxic. Lastly, I will work to pass a policy to regulate pollution that gets into our air through indirect sources like rail yards, construction sites and airports.  

  • Worker Protections

    • Everyone should be able to expect their work environment is safe. That is why I will be introducing a few bills centered around protecting workers. The first requires employers to protect workers who work outside with appropriate respirators when the Air Quality Index reaches 151 or higher. We also believe our public buildings should be safe places of refuge when the air quality is poor -- we will propose HVAC standards are updated to align with the best available air filtration standards so that the air inside our buildings is safe.

Virtual Coffee Conversations

One thing that is very important to me as an elected leader is transparency and connection. You will be able to count on weekly communication with me in the form of written newsletters every other Friday and Virtual Coffee Conversations every other Saturday. Our first coffee will be Saturday, January 23, at 9am. These events will be posted on Facebook and YouTube afterwards for those who can’t join us to review. Please look to our newsletter and Facebook page to find the link to register for our Coffee Conversations.

RSVP Here
COVID Update

As COVID cases continue to rise in Oregon it is crucial that we continue to wear masks, socially distance and stay home to stay safe as much as possible. Hope is in sight and we must refrain from gathering with family and friends until everyone has access to a vaccine. 

Several weeks ago the Governor alongside the Oregon Health Authority introduced a new county level approach to easing COVID restrictions based on county risk level. As of today, both Washington and Multnomah Counties are at extreme risk of COVID-19 spread. Here is where you can see what risk level your county falls into, and what the guidance is for activities under that risk level.

Volunteer Opportunities

If you’d like to support this major effort, please consider volunteering to help with vaccinations! We are looking for medical and non-medical volunteers in all parts of Oregon to assist with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you are a licensed and certified health care professional, in the state of Oregon, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), behavioral health providers you can register with SERV-OR.

If you are a non-medical individual interested in volunteering, you can sign up with my office.

Medical Professional Sign Up
Non-Medical Volunteer Sign Up
Stay in Touch!

 

The best way to stay informed and connect with my legislative work is through my Facebook page (State Representative Maxine Dexter), my Twitter account (@RepDexterOR), and my Instagram (@RepDexterOR). Feel free to reach out to my office at Rep.MaxineDexter@OregonLegislature.gov.

I am honored to represent you in Salem, and look forward to continuing to serve you and this amazing community we share.

Gratefully,

 

Maxine Dexter, MD
Oregon State Representative
House District 33 

Resources
  • Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s office has compiled an exhaustive list of COVID resources here.
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline | 1-800-273-TALK (8255)- Crisis Text Line | Text HOME to 741741

  • Oregon Youthline | Call 877-968-8491 or text teen2teen to 839863 between 4pm - 10pm to text with another teen.

  • National Youth Crisis Hotline | 1-800-442-HOPE (4673)

  • Oregon Partnership 24 Hour Youth Helpline | 1-877-553-TEEN (8336)

  • NAMI Oregon | 503-230-8009 or 800-343-6264, email namioregon@namior.org - Live support from 9am - 5pm, M-F.

  • The Trevor Project | 1-866-488-7386 - 24/7 suicide prevention for LGBTQ.

  • Senior Loneliness Line | 503-200-1633 or 800-282-7035 - For Oregonians 55+ years old. Get ongoing support, resources, and listening sessions.

  • Veteran Crisis Line | 1-800-273-8255 - Call, chat, or text options, with deaf and hard of hearing support available.
     
  • Virtual Learning Assistance for Washington County Library members. (English resources) (Spanish Resources
  • Housing assistance: Family Promise of Beaverton is committed to helping children and their families affected by homelessness in the Beaverton area. (https://www.familypromiseofbeaverton.org/#homepage

  • Housing assistance: Community Housing Fund focuses on providing affordable housing and works on community projects. (http://www.thecommunityhousingfund.org/?page_id=38#.Xz9P3S2ZNQI)

  • Housing assistance: Community Action helps pay rent and help to get people in need of housing. (https://caowash.org

  • Housing assistance: Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter serves women in the community who are experiencing homelessness. (https://safes.salvationarmy.org

  • Housing assistance, utility assistance, food assistance: United Way of the Columbia-Willamette provides access to critical services like housing assistance and utility assistance and access to food. (https://www.unitedway-pdx.org)

  • Utility assistance: Oregon Energy Fund is a 30-year-old nonprofit that provides energy bill assistance to low-income Oregonians in support of household stability. (https://www.oregonenergyfund.org/about-us/

  • Utility assistance: Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board provides equitable, affordable, and reliable utility services. (https://oregoncub.org

  • Utility assistance: EnergyTrust helps people save money and energy. (https://www.energytrust.org)

  • Disability assistance: Plan For Work services help individuals with disabilities and provide different services to those in need. (https://www.droregon.org/plan-for-work)  

  • Youth assistance: New Avenues for Youth provides meals, showers, laundry, respite from the streets, engagement activities, and legal counsel. (https://newavenues.org/our-services)

  • Community assistance: Oregon Solutions solves community problems using a problem-solving system. (https://orsolutions.org/about/what-we-do)

  • Transportation assistance: Trimet has a reduced fare for low-income rider and seniors age 65+. (https://trimet.org/fares/honoredcitizen.htm)  

  • Food assistance, water bill assistance, and grants, utility assistance: Care To Share coordinates assistance to families and individuals who seek emergency food and other basic necessities. (http://www.caretosharehelp.org)  

  • Food assistance: Mercy Corps Northwest provides assistance for community members returning from prison. (https://www.mercycorpsnw.org/work/

  • Food assistance, housing assistance, utility assistance, disability assistance: Department of County Human Services ensures that everyone can reach their potential and contribute to communities. (https://multco.us/dchs)

Follow Representative Dexter on social media to stay connected!
Website
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Our Legislative Mailing Address:
900 Court St. NE, H-493
Salem, Oregon 97301
Phone: 503-986-1433
Copyright © 2021 Maxine for Oregon, All rights reserved.


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