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    Calling for a Clean Campaign for HD 36

    Dear Friends:

     

    The voters of House District 36 are some of the most engaged, informed and active people in our state.  I’ve talked to thousands of them at their doors and in coffee shops and community meetings over the last six months.

     

    I believe they deserve better than insurance-funded smear campaigns and simplistic appeals to nasty stereotypes. Even worse, what form a candidate’s family takes should not be part of the equation in any political campaign.

     

    The reality is that my husband and stepdaughter didn’t choose to run for the State House–I did.

     

    We live in a diverse district with many different types of families and many different relationships that shape our lives.

     

    In Portland, we don’t judge people for how they built their families. We celebrate each thread that weaves together the rich fabric of our extraordinary communities.

     

    It’s been disheartening to hear about whisper campaigns and rumors at the doors in recent weeks questioning my professional background, my commitment to the progressive agenda, my lack of true experience as a mother and my roots in this community.

     

    The truth is nobody wins with this kind of politics. In the end, everyone who cares about a better future for our state loses. I don’t want to be part of it and I believe the people of HD 36 don’t want it either.

     

    So today, I’m asking my two Democratic opponents to join me in signing a Clean Campaign Commitment to stick to an honest debate on the issues and the facts in this election and talk about our backgrounds and our plans to represent this district.

     

    You could call it a mutual non-aggression pact or a clean politics pledge. I prefer to think of it as a better way forward for Oregon. Certainly, my opponents and I have some serious differences on the policies and ideas it will take to turn things around for Oregon. Those issues should be fully debated and voters should know where we all stand. But this race should be about ideas for the future, not the failed negative politics of the past.

     

    I hope my opponents sign the Clean Campaign Commitment, and join me in a discussion of progressive issues and ideas instead of smears and innuendo.

     

    The people of HD 36 deserve nothing less.

     

    For Oregon,

    Jennifer Williamson

    P.S. I’ve sent a copy of the Clean Campaign Commitment to both of my opponents inviting them to sign. Let’s hope we can all give you the campaign you deserve.

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    The Oregon Council of Police Associations endorse Jennifer

    The Oregon Council of Police Associations and their nearly 5000 members from over 50 Public Safety Organizations statewide is please to endorse Jennifer Williamson for Representative from House District 36. Jennifer’s background gives her a leg up when it comes to what Oregonians need in a fully functional Public Safety system. Jennifer has the knowledge of Salem to get the job done for her district and the state. The OCPA fully supports Jennifer. 

    -Brian DeLashmutt, OCPA

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    American Federation of Teachers- Oregon endorses Jennifer

    On behalf of our membership, I wish to congratulate you on achieving the recommendation of AFT-Oregon for your candidacy in the 2012 primary.  AFT-Oregon’s Executive Council approved recommendation in your state legislative district race. The recommendation is based largely on your broad understanding and commitment to issues critical to our membership. 

    David Rives
    President

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    Portland Association of Teachers and the Oregon Education Association endorse Jennifer

    Portland educators are excited to endorse Jennifer Williamson because of her deep commitment to public education and the issues surrounding delivering a quality education for all students.
    -Suzanne Cohen, 7th grade Math/Science Teacher Peninsula K-8
    Teacher’s Voice In Politics Co-Chair
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    Single Payer, Other Health Issues, Divide Candidates for House District 36

    Of the two candidates, Sharon Meieran has the support of the healthcare industry, while Jennifer Williamson has a more diverse list of contributors
    By:Amanda Waldroupe

    April 16, 2012—Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish the policy beliefs of one Portland liberal running for office from another, but when it comes to healthcare, it’s relatively easy to drawn lines in the sand between Sharon Meieran and Jennifer Williamson.

    They’re competing to win the upcoming May 15 Democratic primary for House District 36, which includes parts of downtown and southwest Portland. Rep. Mary Nolan (D-Portland), who currently holds that seat, is running against Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz for Portland City Council.

    Whoever wins the primary is likely to become the new legislator since the district is a reliably safe Democratic seat even though there’s a Republican in the running.

    An emergency room doctor at Portland Adventist Health Center, Meieran was motivated to run for the House seat by “what [she] sees on the front lines everyday,” and is also president of the Oregon College of Emergency Physicians and a member of the Oregon Medical Association’s Legislative Committee.

    On the job, she’s seen people showing up in the emergency room with untreated mental and substance abuse issues, homelessness, and other problems that effect their health, and believes she lends “a unique perspective at a unique time,” given the transformation of Oregon’s healthcare system.

    Williamson, on the other hand, wants to make certain that Oregon continues investing in programs and services that offer opportunities. She’s worked as a lobbyist for Portland State University and more recently for Komen Oregon.

    A fourth generation Oregonian, she and her five siblings were the first in their family to attend college, and attributes that, in part, to financial aid from the state. “The state invested in us,” she said. “Kids and families don’t have that opportunity anymore.

    Where Meieran and Williamson differ most starkly is whether a single payer system—which would provide universal healthcare to every Oregonian — could be successfully implemented.

    “Single payer makes the most sense,” said Williamson because it assures that everyone will have health coverage and save the state money. Creating a single payer system would also generate healthcare jobs and minimize labor disputes.

    Williamson’s heard from teachers who’ve foregone pay increases over the last three years because of rising healthcare costs, yet another reason, she said, for a single payer system.

    If elected, Williamson’s eager to work with Rep. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) to introduce single payer legislation, and is also planning a trip to Vermont to learn how that state has been able to create a single payer system.

    Nevertheless, she realizes that she’ll face a tough battle winning over her colleagues. “It’s a hard industry {healthcare industry} to come up against. People aren’t ready to take it on.”

    From her perspective, Meieran calls a single payer system “the ideal type” of healthcare system, but doesn’t believe it’s possible to achieve in Oregon. “It’s not practical or feasible…from an economic standpoint, provider standpoint, and every aspects of the delivery system.”

    In two to four years, it might be more realistic to think about such a system. “At some point we can get there,” said Merieran, but didn’t explain what that meant.

    The candidates also differed slightly on the Legislature’s role in coordinated care organizations, which will begin integrating physical and mental healthcare for 650,000 people on the Oregon Health Plan in August and could become the delivery system for the state’s school teachers and public employees.

    “This is the beginning of the process,” said Meieran, who doesn’t believe the Legislature should monitor CCO development, but believes it’s essential to provide preventive services and fund school-based centers.

    From Williamson’s perspective, CCOs “have to be held accountable. This is the system we’re saying we need in the state.”

    She thinks the Legislature should hold hearings and either change the rules or draft new legislation to make certain CCOs live up to their expectations while emphasizing prevention and integrating mental health.

    “I’m really focused on budget issues,” she said. “It goes back to the general proposition that when we invest dollars, we do it in the smartest way possible.”

    The myriad of problems currently faced by the healthcare system is “about healthcare finance,” she said. “It’s a budget issue, and figuring out the best investments for the best outcomes.”

    Merieran Campaign Supported by Healthcare Industry

    It’s obvious from the campaign contributions that Meieran is favored by the healthcare industry. According to ORESTAR, she’s received contributions from dozens of healthcare organizations, including Douglas County Independent Practice Association (DCIPA, which gave $1,500) and Doctors for Healthy Communities ($1,500).

    The political action committees of the Oregon Medical Association, Oregon Healthcare Association and Oregon Hospital Association, also each gave her $2,500. Other notable contributors include Regence Oregon and Chuck Hofmann, whose term on the Oregon Health Policy Board recently ended.

    Williamson, on the other hand, has a more diverse list of contributors, including the Oregon Business Association, Oregon Nurses PAC (which gave $5,000), Oregon AFSCME, the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Planned Parenthood and numerous individual lawyers (Williamson has a law degree from the University of Oregon).

    Meieran said her contributions won’t affect her judgment or policy decisions as a legislator. Williamson disagrees. “That idea that it doesn’t matter is wrong,” she said.

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    Oregon Must Have the Courage to Lead on Universal Health Care

    By Jennifer Williamson of Portland, Oregon. Jennifer is an attorney running in the Democratic primary for HD 36 in West Portland. Jennifer is endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon and the Oregon Nurses Association. For more information, visit JenniferForOregon.com.

    We hear a lot about rising gas prices, high food prices and, increasingly in Portland, rents that are out of reach. These are critical issues on the minds of my neighbors. But there’s another concern that isn’t getting as much attention as it deserves these days.

    As I’ve knocked on doors over the last four months across House District 36, I continue to hear from voters that they’re worried about rising health care costs. Despite what the national Republican assault on Obamacare would have us believe, the truth is that access to quality care has declined for thousands of Oregonians and health care prices are out of control.

    It’s a story Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum don’t want you to hear. The facts for our citizens are disturbing:

    -Each year, 540 Oregonians die from treatable diseases because they could not afford needed health care.

    -Last year 34,000 Oregonians in 12,000 families endured personal bankruptcies caused by medical crises. Most of these people had health insurance when the medical condition began.

    Every Oregonian deserves health care. But even though Oregonians already spend more than enough to get that health care, too many of us are left out and our families suffer.

    There are health care systems around the world and even in our own country providing better care to more people for less money than we do here in Oregon.

    With the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act now under review by the Supreme Court, it’s more important than ever for Oregon to take the lead for its citizens. It’s time for Oregonians to once again be pioneers. It’s time for Oregon to learn from other countries and other states.

    If we apply successful lessons to a new statewide, publicly-funded health care system, we can ensure every one of our citizens has access to the care we need. The truth is we don’t have to spend more, we just need to spend smarter.

    Oregon is unique. And not everything that works in other systems will work here. But we know we can do better – much, much better.

    It takes courage to change an industry that is consuming nearly 20% of all the money spent in our state, and reform a system that is decades old. It takes courage to create a new health care system that provides for us and our families throughout our lifetimes. But Oregonians are courageous people.

    When I get to Salem, one of my top priorities in the State House will be to work for a publicly funded, publicly accountable universal health care system that will provide quality care for every Oregonian.

    I believe Oregon simply cannot afford to do anything less.

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    Several Executives Leave Komen After Controversy

     March 22, 2012, 08:32 pm ET

    DALLAS (AP) — At least five high-ranking executives with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer charity have resigned in the aftermath of the organization’s decision to eliminate its funding for Planned Parenthood.

    The departures include three officials from Komen’s Dallas headquarters, as well as CEOs of affiliate groups in Oregon and New York City. The chairman of the foundation also stepped down from his post, though he will remain on the board. Although some cited personal reasons, the resignations suggest that Komen is still in turmoil, even after reversing course and restoring the money to Planned Parenthood.

    Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun said she could not speak to individuals’ reasons for leaving but acknowledged the effects of the controversy among supporters.

    “Obviously, we know some folks are upset. We’ve certainly seen that,” Aun said. “We know people have been upset by recent events, but most really do recognize the importance of our work.”

    The resignations began about a month ago. Chris McDonald, executive director and chief executive of the organization’s Oregon and southwest Washington affiliate, announced that she’ll leave at the end of April. She said her decision wasn’t “predicated by any one event,” but that actions by national headquarters affected her thinking.

    “Despite our deep frustration about the distraction that our organization headquarters’ actions caused, I was proud that our affiliate took a strong stand against the politicization of the fight to improve women’s health,” McDonald said in a Feb. 25 statement posted on the organization’s website.

    One board member for McDonald’s affiliate, Portland attorney Jennifer Williamson, rejoined the board after stepping down last month to put pressure on the national organization. She couldn’t walk away from the local Komen work to expand access to women’s health care, she said.

    “As a local affiliate we could push back on them but we couldn’t do anything about it,” said Williamson, who is also on the Planned Parenthood board and is a Democratic candidate for the state Legislature. “I did what I had the ability to do, which was resign from the board. But to support the mission … I rejoined the board.”

    News emerged in late January that Komen had decided to stop giving money to Planned Parenthood for breast-screening services because Planned Parenthood was the focus of a congressional investigation launched at the urging of anti-abortion activists. After a three-day firestorm of criticism, Komen decided to restore the money.

    Some Komen affiliates, including McDonald’s, were among those that publicly opposed the policy change that cut off grants for Planned Parenthood.

    In the days after the reversal, Komen policy chief Karen Handel resigned. She had opposed abortion as a Republican candidate for Georgia governor and had become a target of those angry about the decision to halt funding to Planned Parenthood.

    In Dallas, the three resignations were Katrina McGhee, executive vice president and chief marketing officer; Nancy Macgregor, vice president of global networks; and Joanna Newcomb, director of affiliate strategy and planning.

    McGhee announced in February that she would be leaving May 4 “for personal reasons” and because it was “time to make a change.”

    McGregor will leave in June, and Newcomb departed at the end of February. The Associated Press left messages Thursday for McGhee and Macgregor. Newcomb declined to comment.

    Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr. also will step down from his post as chairman of the foundation’s board of directors as of March 31, but he will remain on the board, Aun said. His decision, which was finalized at a Thursday board meeting, comes as he is “stepping back a bit” from the board due to his responsibilities is his role as provost at Howard University, she said. Leffall did not immediately return messages from the AP.

    Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron, CEO of Komen’s New York City affiliate, said Tuesday that she will leave April 27. Her affiliate was also critical of the Planned Parenthood decision, but she did not cite that in a letter posted on the website, saying only that she wanted to pursue “new career opportunities” and that leaving “was not an easy decision.”

    Vern Calhoun, a spokesman for the New York affiliate, said Richardson-Heron was not speaking to reporters.

    Supporters of the affiliate called, emailed, tweeted and posted updates on Facebook about their concerns during those first days of February. But, Calhoun said, “things have quieted down considerably” since the decision was reversed.

    Nevertheless, the office decided to postpone two spring fundraising events because organizers were not certain of their ability to get donations in the “near term.” In their place, the New York operation planned to hold a free breakfast event for grant recipients, supporters, volunteers and sponsors, Calhoun said.

    Other Komen groups expect to carry on with business as usual.

    The Los Angeles County affiliate will hold its annual race this weekend. Executive Director Mark Pilon said participation numbers are steady.

    “We’re tracking right what we did last year and our corporate sponsorship is up,” said Pilon, who took the job only a month ago.

    Pilon replaced Deb Anthony, who resigned last fall. She told Los Angeles television station KNBC in February that she submitted her resignation notice in December “for a variety of reasons.” She said it was a coincidence that it came around the time Komen was in the spotlight.

    “There are several decisions that Komen has made in the past year that have led me to decide that my skills and talents no longer fit their model,” she said in an email to KCBS television. The AP left a message Thursday seeking comment from Anthony.

    Komen did not publicly announce its decision to halt the grants but conveyed the news to its 100-plus U.S. affiliates. The head of Planned Parenthood has said she was informed of the decision in December.

    Sandra Miniutti, vice president for Charity Navigator, said that the controversy is likely to affect Komen’s ability to raise money. Although Komen is in good financial shape, the charity may have to spend considerably more money to achieve the same amount as in the past.

    Her organization allows people to review charities on its website. Before the controversy erupted, there were fewer than 100 reviews of Komen. But afterward, that number grew to about 700, many of them negative, she said.

    Because of the way the organization “flip-flopped” on its decision, it angered people on both sides of the controversy, she said.

    Aun said the charity’s “donations and our support remain strong.”

    ___

    Associated Press writers Jonathan J. Cooper in Portland, Ore., Robert Jablon in Los Angeles, Russ Bynum in Savannah, Ga., and Jim Fitzgerald in New York City contributed to this report.

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    An important message from Governor Barbara Roberts

    Dear Friends,

    These days there seem to be a lot of folks in politics who say one thing and do another.  They get into office and suddenly they’re not the person we thought they were.

    The people of House District 36 have been fortunate to be represented by a tireless and courageous progressive leader in Mary Nolan. She has done great work in Salem and is a consistent voice on the issues that matter most.

    Now, with Mary running for City Commission, it’s critical that we fill this seat with someone who won’t need on-the-job training.  We need a leader who is ready to hit the ground running and make sure that Oregon doesn’t retreat from the values that make our state special.

    House District 36 deserves a proven progressive in Salem.  That’s why I am proud to endorse Jennifer Williamson for State Representative.

    Jen has done an awful lot before the age of 40! For two decades, she’s been a leader for women’s health and access to all reproductive health care services. That’s why she is the only candidate in HD 36 endorsed by Planned Parenthood. 

    She grew up on a farm in Washington County and believes in the dignity of work and the rights of working people.  That’s why she is the only candidate in HD 36 endorsed by the AFL-CIO and AFSCME.

    Jennifer will protect the programs that are critical for Oregon families.  That’s why she’s earned the support of the Oregon Nurses Association and Oregon Fire Fighters.

    Jen knows we have to work together to create new opportunity for all our citizens and a new economy for Oregon. That’s why she is the choice of the Oregon Business Association.

    House District 36 needs a proven progressive in Salem. We need Jennifer Williamson in the State House.

    For Oregon,

    Governor Barbara Roberts

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    Safety and Justice PAC endorses Jennifer

    The Safety and Justice Political Action Committee (PAC) is proud to endorse Jennifer Williamson in Oregon’s upcoming Primary Election. Jennifer is an attorney and public safety reform leader running in the Democratic primary for House District 36 in West Portland.

    Jennifer understands the issues that matter to people who want smart public safety policy. When she worked for the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, she helped guide the work of the Oregon Coalition for Safety and Savings (of which Partnership for Safety and Justice is a member) and supports the work of the Commission on Public Safety.

    Jennifer understands that Oregon can do better when it comes to spending on corrections and supports policy alternatives to our one-size-fits-all incarceration system and the enormous impact it has had on every other segment of our state’s budget.

     

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    Oregon State Fire Fighters Council endorse Jennifer for House District 36

    ” Oregon’s fire fighters are proud to stand with Jennifer in her effort to become the representative in House District 36, we believe she understands and can quickly deal with the important issues confronting our state.” Said Kelly Bach, President of the Oregon State Fire Fighters Council. “She is experienced and ready to  provide fire fighters with the tools and support necessary to accomplish the critical service they provided to Oregon’s citizens.”

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