Our children, our future, return to school this week. The rhythms of autumn begin even though it is still summer. Our public schools are what made America strong, and their future is the future of our country and ourselves. Much of that future depends on our willingness to provide a great education to all of our kids.
At the end of August the State Economist told the Revenue Committees that his estimate of our revenues is up about $80 million for this biennium. It looks like we may have finally turned the corner on state revenues. This is the first projection of an increase in state revenues since the Great Recession began in the summer of 2008. Our people will continue to struggle in a very slowly growing economy for some time. If we can mobilize our innate talent, energy and innovative spirit, the longer term future will be bright.
SUMMER OUTREACH HIGHLIGHTS
This was a busy summer! Over the last few months I hosted eight coffee and town hall meetings and spoke with hundreds of citizens across the district. Providing opportunities for citizens to voice concerns, give feedback and get information about their government is a key duty of a State Legislator. But I recognize that your schedules are busy too, and the summer is no exception. In case you were interested, but unable to attend, this update includes highlights from this summer’s meetings and links to further information.
PARTNERSHIPS IN EDUCATION
My most recent informational town hall meeting focused on partnerships in education. The speakers panel included many talented and committed individuals who work tirelessly to provide unique learning opportunities to students. Apprenticeships, career shadowing, and other business and online partnerships have kept students in school and enriched their experience. At the meeting, a retired school teacher offered to create a math mentoring program. It is this kind of community support and commitment that we need at every level to ensure the success of upcoming generations.
I also hosted many small informal coffees with citizen driven discussion. Although no topic was specified for these gatherings, the most frequently raised issues were jobs, education, and health care. At the Sodaville coffee I presented the mayor and attending city councilors with a new Oregon flag-theirs had been stolen.
My Get To Know Your Government Town Hall meeting included a speaker from the Department of Consumer and Business Services, who specializes in identity theft protection. She provided us with several useful websites that warranted sharing: Tools for Consumers and Businesses, Creating Strong Passwords, and the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Many of my best legislative concepts come from constituent concerns, so your participation at these events or contact through email does make a difference. Let me know what you think by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
PS – Phil Barnhart for State Representative lawn signs have begun sprouting up in yards all over District 11. If you would like to show your support and have one put up in your yard (along with instructions for proper care and feeding), email us your name, address and telephone number at email@example.com