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State now has a more stable footing for education

It felt and looked like autumn last week. The cooler weather recently is a welcome change after the hot, dry weather of the summer months. It is a new school year and a new beginning; opportunities are available for new growth and new goals in school and community activities and work.

There should be some exciting changes in store as a result of this year’s legislative session.

The historic $7.4 billion budget for K-12 schools provides a stable budget, and is helping districts hire teachers, add back school days and pay for a full day of kindergarten. I helped sponsor bills to boost funding for high-cost disability students and English Language Learners. I also took a strong stance on legislation that protects students’ privacy by making sure private corporations aren’t able to buy their personal information gathered through educational apps used in the classroom.

Added together, these improvements will mean a more stable educational foundation for all of the students in our community. Now, I am setting up meetings with many folks in our school systems. We need to hear what needs to be done to safeguard our school buildings from earthquakes and other structural problems.

This is my first interim between legislative sessions, and it is a busy and exciting time. There are the usual requests for help from citizens on a variety of issues. Most of these issues relate to everyday life and topics that embrace activities or interests of groups, individuals and parts of our communities.

Part of my job includes reading emails and articles citizens and groups want to share with me as their state representative. Some can be answered with a simple connection to an agency or expert who specializes in the area of need. Other requests take research and looking into complicated systems or topics of a controversial nature. Regardless of the request, my office and I are here to help! Please don’t hesitate to reach out — if we don’t have the answer, we’ll help work with you to find it.

I’ve also spent the last few weeks traveling through the region and across the state. I’ve visited facilities such as juvenile detention centers and have toured transportation systems in order to better understand the work that needs to be done to improve roads, rail and airport infrastructure.

I am already getting to work and preparing for the coming February session.

Each representative is limited to two priority bills. I am looking at the requests I have gotten from citizens and thinking about whether we need to refine some of the bills we worked on in the 2015 session.

Legislators were back in Salem for committee work at the end of September, and on Oct. 1, the task force on class size issues, research and suggestions met. This task force is the result of another bill I championed this session.

As my grandchildren go to school, and soccer, football and other activities continue their seasons, I will be working and listening to you about your interests, concerns and opinions on ways to improve our schools, access to jobs and other issues in order to make Forest Grove, Cornelius and Hillsboro the best communities they can be!

I am always happy to hear from you at our state office if you have ideas to share with me. You can email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

State Rep. Susan McLain (D-Forest Grove) represents Oregon’s 29th Legislative District.