As part of his commitment to the state of Oregon, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden visited Western Oregon University on Saturday January 14. Upon being elected Senator Wyden pledged to visit every county in Oregon, every year and as of 2017 has held well over 700 town hall meetings.
The major issues presented at the town hall meeting were environmental protection, vote-by-mail, healthcare and student loans. For the environment, Wyden stated that he believes that it is a group effort, and while legislation may help, the best results would come from communities working together to do their part. On voting, the Senator is pushing the effort for a nationwide approach to vote-by-mail. Although elections take place on a county level, the major issue that Wyden is trying to push is eliminating barriers to voting and creating more accessibility and options for all Americans to get a ballot. For healthcare, Wyden believes that the only solution is a bipartisan agreement, and is fighting to maintain the positive aspects of the Affordable Care Act.
Education is a major priority for the Senator as is reflected in the co-authored Student Right to Know Before You Go Act. The bipartisan legislation focuses on making the cost of college more clear, not only with tuition, but with loans and repayment dependent on majors and career choices. On top of legislation that informs of the costs, Wyden wants to work towards loan repayment options that can be reasonably fulfilled, flexible and renegotiated over time. Some of his ideas include matching career income with a percentage for repayment and employer loan payment matches.
Working at the level of congress, Senator Wyden believes that the majority of political action takes place at the grassroots level. His advice for making a change in politics was to “find one more person to join in the effort.” Many concerns were brought up at the town hall about the next four years, to which the U.S. Senator responded by saying that the “Oregon Way” would prevail through anything. The Oregon Way being a path of fairness, inclusiveness and that Oregonians are at their best “when everyone has opportunities.”
For more information on U.S. Senator Wyden, and to keep up with his efforts and legislation for the state of Oregon, you can visit his website here.