Salem, Ore. – The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Oregon Chapter congratulates Gov. Kate Brown on her inauguration as Oregon’s governor. In her inaugural address, Gov. Brown reaffirmed her longstanding commitment to serving all Oregonians, “especially those who haven’t had a fair shot or who have been left behind.”
Gov. Brown’s address highlighted many of the issues that are front-and-center among NASW’s legislative priorities:
- Education—Gov. Brown’s remarks celebrated accomplishments in the 2015 session just after she was sworn in as governor following Gov. Kitzhaber’s resignation. “We invested in a seamless system of public education from cradle to career, including early childhood education, all-day kindergarten, and our community college access program, the Oregon Promise,” Gov. Brown said on Monday. However, “Our schools continue to be among the nation’s leaders in all the wrong categories—the largest class size, the shortest school year, and the highest dropout rate.” NASW advocates increasing the number of school social workers in Oregon schools. This will help improve student outcomes like the graduation rate, which Gov. Brown said is her highest priority.
- Working families—Gov. Brown noted several accomplishments to support Oregon families, including paid sick leave and raising the minimum wage, which were strongly supported by NASW Oregon Chapter. “No one working full time should be living in poverty,” Brown said. Regarding health care, “We should not and cannot stop until every Oregonian is covered.” NASW is committed to ensuring Oregonians have access to health care, including undocumented children who currently lack coverage.
- Environment—A major pillar of NASW’s legislative agenda is maintaining a healthy environment. Gov. Brown commended Oregon for leading on environmental stewardship by passing the nation’s first coal-to-clean law, which will eliminate coal-fired power from the state’s electricity sources.
- Civil rights—Speaking in defiance of the 2016 election and the rise of Donald Trump, Gov. Brown declared “We must not allow the rights of any one person or class of people to be degraded in any way.” She called for continued respect for Oregon’s nine sovereign Tribal nations, women’s rights, veterans and LGBTQ Oregonians.
Regarding Oregon’s $1.7 billion budget deficit, Gov. Brown implored the assembled legislators to follow the advice of Gov. McCall in his inaugural address 50 years ago: “To work in partnership, rather than partisanship.” She called for efficient use of state resources, reform of the state’s tax structure and addressing the public pension system known as PERS.
NASW Oregon commends Brown on her commitment to the vulnerable members of society and those who have historically been underrepresented in the political process. The organization looks forward to working with Gov. Brown and the Oregon legislature on these issues in the 2017 Legislative Session.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), founded October 1, 1955, is the largest and most recognized membership organization of Professional social workers in the world. Representing more than 130,000 members from 55 chapters in the United States and abroad, the Association promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its work and advocacy.
The NASW Oregon Chapter is a state chapter of the NASW. It was founded in 1971 and now has 1,500 members. To learn more, visit http://nasworegon.org/.!