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    Williamson called ‘Freshman of the Year’ in Willamette Week Legislator Ratings

    Williamson, 39, a smiley first-termer, has ably replaced Mary Nolan, who resigned her seat for an unsuccessful run for Portland City Council. A former First Amendment lawyer, Williamson spent a couple of sessions in Salem lobbying before running for office. That familiarity with the capitol is worth a lot in a culture proud of its traditions. As a rookie, Williamson chaired theJoint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Safety. “You’ve usually got to be here for 10 years to get that kind of assignment,” says an observer. “Freshman of the year,” says one of many admirers.

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    Townhall Meeting With Senator Burdick on September 9

    Portland Legislators Announce September 9th Town Hall
    PORTLAND – Senator Ginny Burdick (D – NW/SW Portland/Tigard) and Representative Jennifer Williamson (D – NW/SW Portland), will hold a Town Hall meeting on Monday, September 9th at Portland Central Library. Community members will have an opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns with the legislators, and to discuss the recent legislative session. Who: Senator Ginny Burdick and Representative Jennifer Williamson What: Town Hall on recently adjourned legislative session When: Monday, September 9th, 6:00 to 7:30pm Where: Central Library, 801 SW 10th Ave, Portland

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    Oregon voters could get say on adding Equal Rights Amendment to state constitution

    SALEM — The Oregon Legislature may give voters the chance to amend the Oregon Constitution to include an Equal Rights Amendment for women.

    House Joint Resolution 35 would refer the issue to voters on the May 2014 ballot. It’s scheduled for a hearing Wednesday in the House Rules Committee. Proponents say it would solidify protections against gender discrimination.

    “When you have your rights expressed in the Constitution, they’re as secure as they can be,” said Leanne Littrell DiLorenzo, the president of VoteERA.org, which requested the legislation.

    Others say the amendment isn’t necessary and that elevating gender equality into the Oregon Constitution might make it appear more important than banning discrimination based on race, sexual orientation and other categories.

    A state Supreme Court ruling already ensures strong gender equality protections, said David Fidanque, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. A national Equal Rights Amendment is needed because the federal government treats sex discrimination differently than racial and other forms of discrimination, he said, but that’s not the case under state law.

    The ACLU is remaining neutral on the state resolution after opposing two similar proposals introduced earlier this session. Fidanque said he’s not sure the state amendment would do anything new.

    “We have argued that it’s not necessary from the standpoint of the law and the constitution,” he said. “It will provide insurance in case the Oregon Supreme Court ever changes its interpretation” of the constitution.

    The state Constitution has not been amended since its passage in the 1850s to expressly protect the equality of the sexes, argues Littrell DiLorenzo.

    It’s the same state Constitution that “wouldn’t let women vote. Women couldn’t own property, and women couldn’t work the same number of hours (as men),” she said. “What we’re trying to do is to secure equality between the sexes, established in the Constitution.”

    July 6 2013

    Representative Jennifer Williamson,2013.

    The campaign to pass a state amendment coincides with a revived national campaign to pass a federal Equal Rights Amendment. That amendment, approved by Congress in 1972, never went into effect because it fell three states short of the minimum 38 states that needed to ratify it.

    In Oregon, similar legislation introduced earlier this session attracted broad support from Democrats and Republicans.

    “The Oregon Constitution is very protective of individual rights, much more than the federal constitution,” said Rep. Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, who has a Ms. Poster advocating for women’s rights on her office wall. Williamson supports an Oregon amendment, which she said would be “a safeguard to ensure that Oregon’s higher standard of protection continues.”

    Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn, said an Oregon Equal Rights Amendment is important in light of ongoing equity issues, such as the wage gap for women.

    “There are folks who say we’re already there, but we’re not there,” said Parrish, who sponsored a similar resolution earlier this session. “As a mom, I’ve got three boys, and what I’ve said before is that I want my boys to grow up and understand that women can do anything, and the little girl they sit next to in class could be their wife, their friend, their boss. It’s important to memorialize that.”

    By Yuxing Zheng, The Oregonian

    June 11, 2013 at  7:10 PM,

    updated June 11, 2013 at 11:06 PM

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    Oregon House votes to ease burden on hair and makeup artists

     Rep. Williamson sponsored bill to help Oregon entrepreneurs succeed in Oregon’s growing entertainment industries. Continue Reading

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    Oregon Governor signs bill for overdose prevention programs

    On Thursday, January 6th, Oregon Governor, John Kitzhaber,  signed SB 384 A into law. The bill requires the Oregon Health Authority to  establish rules for training programs that will instruct individuals on  “lifesaving treatments for opiate overdose.”

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    Committee assignments in Oregon Legislature don’t rock the boat

    By Christian Gaston, The Oregonian on December 21, 2012 at 5:45 PM, updated December 21, 2012 at 6:00 PM


    Rep. Tina Kotek, D-Portland, incoming house speaker, announced committee appointments for the 2013 Legislative Session. Faith Cathcart/The Oregonian

    Leadership in the Oregon Legislature announced committee appointments in the House and Senate late Friday, with few surprises in either chamber.

    While Democrats will be in a majority in both chambers, a shift from after the 2010 election when the House was tied 30-30, Democratic leadership retained Republicans on influential Ways and Means, Revenue and Rules committees.

    Rep. Tina Kotek, D-Portland, incoming House speaker, said at the end of last week’s special session that she was looking forward to bipartisanship in the coming session, during which Democrats will enjoy a 34-26 majority.

    There are Democratic majorities on all committees in the House, but Republicans still hold some prominent positions.

    Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, will co-chair the Ways and Means subcommittee on General Government and Rep. Bob Jenson, R-Pendleton, will co-chair the subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development.

    In a press release announcing the committee appointments, Kotek offered a similar sentiment.

    “There are thoughtful, well-respected legislators on both sides of the aisle who have important ideas to offer,” Kotek said. “Committees are designed in a way that will allow us to best tackle the challenges facing the state.”

    While there are a score of freshman legislators in the House and a leadership shift, the makeup of the Senate hasn’t changed much. Senate President Peter Courtney made small tweaks to committee appointments.

    Other highlights from the appointments include:

    • Sen. Bruce Starr, R-Hillsboro, will replace outgoing Sen. Jason Atkinson, R-Central Point, on the senate Rules Committee.
    • Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Portland, and Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena, were appointed to Ways and Means. Steiner Hayward was appointed to fill the vacant senate seat of U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici late last year. Hansell was elected to the Senate in November.
    • Freshman Rep. Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, will serve on Ways and Means.
    • Freshman Rep. Ben Unger, D-Hillsboro, will co-chair the Natural Resources subcommittee of Ways and Means.
    • The makeup of the Senate Finance and Revenue committee changed significantly following the retirement of Sen. Frank Morse, R-Corvallis, who had worked closely with committee chairwoman Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, on tax issues. Three new members will join the committee this session: Diane Rosenbaum, D-Portland, Brian Boquist, R-Dallas and Larry George, R-Sherwood.

    The Legislature will convene Jan. 14-16 for organizational meetings, with lawmakers returning to Salem Feb. 4, when the legislative session really gets under way.

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    On election night as I was making my victory speech at Cha Taqueria, I realized just how honored I was.

    *  Honored to have incredible, committed friends like you.

    *  Honored to live in such an amazing city and such a wonderful state.

    *  Honored to have a supportive, loving husband and a wonderful family.

    *  Honored to have the support and hard work of hundreds of teachers, nurses, firefighters, business owners and college students.

    *  Honored to have earned the trust and votes of thousands of my neighbors.

    *  And honored to accept my Party’s nomination to be the next State Representative from District 36.

    As I was finishing my thank yous, I saw someone slip into the back of the room— a good friend who wanted to share the excitement.

    Jen and Governor Roberts

    I was honored when Barbara Roberts stepped forward to endorse me in this race.  I was deeply touched last night when she stood with dozens of my family members and friends to listen to my plans for our state’s future.

    This election was about fighting for what’s best about Oregon.

    I am honored and grateful that the Democratic voters of HD 36 chose me to be their voice in Salem on the issues that matter most– universal healthcare, ending mandatory minimum sentences, more money for our schools and a renewed focus on helping small businesses grow.

    Paul and I will never forget what you have done in this campaign. I will work every day to be worthy of your trust.

    In friendship,


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    The Oregonian endorses Jennifer

    “We endorse Williamson, who as a lawyer, public employee and lobbyist has developed relationships in the Capitol for years.

    We also think the Legislature would benefit from Williamson’s passionate advocacy for higher education. She is a first-generation college graduate and has lobbied for financial aid and other programs since she was a student at the University of Oregon. Williamson’s understanding of the possible trade-offs between policy areas is a key strength.”

    “…Williamson shows a stronger grasp of more issues and has more political experience. We recommend her for House District 36, the seat being vacated by Mary Nolan.

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    Progressive Majority endorses Jennifer

    Dear Ms. Williamson:

    I am delighted to inform you that the members of Progressive Majority’s National Board of Directors have voted to endorse your campaign for State Representative, District 36 for the 2012 election cycle. Your strong support of progressive values, ideas and policies makes it a great pleasure to support your candidacy.

    Progressive Majority was formed with a simple and bold purpose: To elect progressive champions. Through our work, we are building a nationwide farm team of progressive candidates who will fight for change today while filling the political pipeline for decades to come. We are proud to count you among our endorsed candidates for the 2012 cycle.

    Thank you for leadership.
    Gloria Totten President