Keep up with the latest news and events from Suzanne's campaign.
One of my top priorities in Congress is to grow our economy and implement policies that create more jobs in Oregon and across the country. I will continue to fight for policies that grow our economy while protecting our most vulnerable citizens and rebuilding a vibrant middle class.
To secure a prosperous economic future, we must:
Invest in infrastructure: It is time to rebuild our economy by rebuilding America. I supported the 5-year transportation package that Congress passed in December 2015,but our work is not done. I will continue to advocate for long-term investments in our infrastructure, which will put Oregonians and Americans back to work building and maintaining roads, bridges, water systems, schools, and electrical grids. By retrofitting buildings and increasing energy efficiency, we create jobs more jobs and save energy and money. I am also committed to building the economy by revitalizing American manufacturing and increasing export opportunities for American made goods.
Increase access to capital for small businesses: My first job was in my Mom’s small business, so I know firsthand how important small businesses are to our economy. For many Americans, owning a successful business is the path to achieving the American Dream. As a state legislator, I introduced and passed legislation to help small businesses access capital so they can grow, create jobs, and increase their bottom line. The federal government can also boost its efforts to support small businesses. In Congress, I have continued to work for legislation like the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, which will expand opportunities for small businesses by increasing access to capital so they can grow and thrive.
Strengthen public education: A strong system of public education is the key to our economic recovery and the heart of our democracy. We must stop seeing education as a budget item that can be cut when times are tough; that is when it is most critical to improve education as a long-term solution to secure our economic future. Schools must be empowered to give our children the education they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy. Click here to read more about my efforts to strengthen education and prepare children for the jobs of tomorrow.
Support workers and rebuild the middle class: We must do more to rebuild and grow the American middle class. Unfortunately the rights of workers, the right to organize, and Davis Bacon have come under attack too many times in recent years. I am committed to workers’ rights and will continue to stand up for those rights in Congress. Preserving the rights of labor unions is an important part of having a thriving middle class in our country.
We also need to take a serious look at our workplace policies, which have not kept pace with our changing workforce. These policies disproportionately affect women, who still act as our nation’s primary caregivers. As a member of Congress and a mom, I am committed to enacting policies that support workers and families and strengthen our economy – for everyone.
Paid Family Leave: In today’s workplace, taking time off work to bond with a new baby or to care for a sick loved one is a luxury few can afford. We are the only industrialized nation that does not require some level of paid family leave, which means far too many parents and caregivers are put in impossible situations of having to choose between a new baby or sick family member and the need to earn a paycheck. I am a proud co-sponsor of the FAMILY Act, which would provide 12 weeks of paid leave for workers to care for a newborn or adopted child or a sick family member, or to recover from an illness. Other countries have paid leave – so can the United States. Paid leave the right thing to do for families and it’s good for business. Employers of all sizes, from Intel to Laughing Planet Cafe, are providing paid leave to their employees. Paid leave and other family-friendly policies help companies with recruitment and retention, and employees are healthier, happier, and more productive.
Affordable childcare: In Oregon, the cost of childcare is the fourth highest in the country for an infant and fifth highest for children under the age of four. We have more children in need of care than the slots available, driving the prices even higher. Childcare consumes a larger share of family income, and we must do more to support working parents. I’ve introduced a resolution calling attention to the challenges we face in Oregon and as a nation, and proposing solutions that will improve the quality of care our children deserve. We need policies that give all Americans the opportunity to create a better life for their children.
Retirement security: For decades, workers achieved retirement security through a combination of employer provided pensions, personal savings, and Social Security. Today, however, significantly fewer employers provide retirement plans to their workers. In fact, there are more than 68 million people in our workforce whose employers do not offer any type of retirement savings plan. Social Security is an essential tool that helps retirees make ends meet, but it is not intended to be anyone’s sole form of income in retirement. We need new ways to provide workers with retirement security, which is why I introduced the American Savings Account Act. Modeled after similar programs in Oregon and California, this legislation would provide every American worker without access to an employer-sponsored savings plan with their own American Savings Account (ASA), a personal, pre-tax retirement savings plan.
Equal pay for equal work: Women make up more than half of the workforce in the U.S., but too often they still earn less than their male colleagues doing the same job. This is an affront to all hard-working American women and it needs to end. It's time for Congress to pass a stronger Equal Pay law that holds employers accountable for systematically paying female employees less. Women deserve equal pay for equal work!
Connect community colleges and workforce training to local business: Our community colleges and workforce training programs should work with local employers so job seekers get the education they need for the jobs that are available. As a member of the Education and Workforce Committee, I introduced legislation to support linking small businesses with workforce development programs and community colleges so workers have the skills that local employers need and value. This concept became a part of the Workforce Opportunity & Innovation Act, which was passed and signed into law by the President in 2014.