by: ,

During elections we hear about a lot of issues - all of which are important. Nationally we hear about the economic downturn. In this state we hear about our quality of life, keeping Oregon green and those who lack access to quality and affordable healthcare. All of these issues are critically important to every Oregonian, but the one concern that must be at the root of every discussion is education.

I remember Bill Clinton's first run for the presidency and his famous phrase 'it's the economy stupid.'

Today in Oregon, we should make that same bold connectivity and say 'it's education,' because every issue facing Oregon is impacted by the quality of education we provide for our citizens.

As we all suffer through a slowing economy, the challenge for Oregonians is to do everything we can to look ahead and keep Oregon strong by building for its future.

We may 'Love Dreamers' here, but as Oregon seeks environmentally responsible, sustainable energy sources and green collar jobs the legislature should be mindful of what other states successfully do. Attracting investments and companies through tax breaks and slogans hasn't been particularly successful.

I believe we can offer them something much greater - we can invest money in a world-class education system. By making this vitally strong investment in Head Start, K-12, community colleges, and universities, we provide companies with highly skilled and educated workers, strong research centers, and an education system that will attract both employees and employers to our great state.

Oregon is poised to become a leader in green technology and energy production, but in order for these cutting-edge companies to locate in Oregon, we must provide a cutting-edge education system beyond what the rest of the country can offer.

In addition to growing our economy and keeping Oregon green, we can find some much needed relief for our healthcare crisis. Access to quality care is something many Oregonians lack, and is a problem which will worsen as our population continues to age. And yet, nursing programs around the state have waiting lists for enrollment due to a lack of facilities and instructors. One of the best ways to convince experienced nurses to leave lucrative practices to teach is by increasing our investment in our education system.

I understand that every discussion about education must involve a realistic look at our funding mechanisms. While there are many concerns about Oregon's unstable revenue system, I believe the real answer lies in strong leadership and clear priorities. Education must be our Oregon's first priority. To meet the long-term expectations of their constituents, our elected officials absolutely must have the determination and the vision to fund our schools to the QEM.

In the meantime, we must make the elimination of the corporate kicker permanent, increase the corporate minimum, and close tax loopholes that give millions of dollars away to corporations.

I moved to Lake Oswego over 20 years ago with my husband and my two children. I have been serving and delivering real results for this community ever since. When I first ran for the Lake Oswego School Board I wanted to give back to the schools that had given my children so much and ensure that every child learned the tools and skills necessary to succeed.

Today as chair, I oversee an $80 million budget, and working with teachers, staff, students, and parents, we have made sure that every school in our district is rated exceptional on the Oregon Department of Education Report Card. I have worked for years to preserve art, music and PE programs in our schools. And I am proud to have earned the support of the Oregon Education Association, Congresswoman Darlene Hooley, and the Oregon School Employees Association, in addition to local teachers and students throughout the district.

While I am proud of my record of delivering real results for my community, I am running for state representative because I believe the lessons I have learned here can make a difference for all of Oregon's schools. No one in the race for House District 38 has delivered more for this community or has the depth of understanding and commitment to make a difference on the one issue that will promote success for all Oregonians: Education.

Linda Brown, Lake Oswego, is chair of the Lake Oswego School Board and is a Democrat candidate for House District 38.

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