Candidates for State Representative District 43

A questionnaire was sent to candidates in the Portland-metro region, and below are the responses in regard to issues that are important to the Alliance and the business community.

* indicates Alliance endorsed candidate.

1. The Allianceís primary focus for the 2016 election cycle will be to support those candidates and ballot measure proponents who clearly and publicly join us in opposing IP 28, the gross receipts tax measure, which will be so detrimental to Oregonís economy. What is your position on IP28?
Roberta Phillip-Robbins The estimated 5-Billion in income from this measure is necessary to pay for social services in our state and I support this initiative petition. From what I know today, I donít believe it will be detrimental to Oregonís economy though I look forward to learning more about potential impacts on Oregonís business community. If PBA representatives are willing to engage with me on this issue, I would welcome that opportunity.
Tawna Sanchez* I have previously indicated my support, but I am increasingly concerned about the impact this will have on low-income Oregonians. I spoke to those concerns in a recent City Club debate.
2. The Portland Business Alliance and its members, have a long history of supporting education. The business community is a critical partner, helping to fundraise and advocate for schools to have adequate and stable funding. Do you support the proposed payroll tax on Portland-metro region employers to help fund Portland State University?
Roberta Phillip-Robbins I am interested in learning more about this. I honestly am undecided regarding this proposal.
Tawna Sanchez* I am concerned about the precedent this sets, spinning off funding parts of the state university system to local revenue sources. We need to invest in our entire higher education system and provide more student aid to students at all our state schools.
3. The Value of Jobs Coalition's 2015 Middle-Income Jobs Report found that Portland-metro, like most of the nation, has seen low- and high-income jobs account for increasingly larger shares of the regionís overall employment base, while middle-income jobs, as a share of the regionís total employment, have dropped from 69 percent in 1980 to 57 percent in 2013. What would you do to increase the number of middle-income jobs in both urban and rural parts of our state?
Roberta Phillip-Robbins I believe in creating a pipeline of local talent by bolstering our stateís educational offerings for K-12. I am a union member and believe in family-wage jobs through Career Technical Education and apprenticeship programs. I aim to make those opportunities more readily accessible to youth and as 2nd-career options in our state.
Tawna Sanchez* We need more opportunities for skilled tradespeople to earn a good wage in industries like construction and manufacturing. The continued growth of the health care sector offers additional opportunities across the state. We know there are positions that go unfilled because we lack workers with needed skills. We must provide students the opportunity to gain skills that will be valuable in the workforce, and better training opportunities for those already in the workforce
4. The same Middle Income Jobs Report found that Portland-metroís housing prices are becoming increasingly out of reach not only for low-income households, but also for middle-income households. The Alliance played a key role in negotiating a deal on the inclusionary zoning legislation that was passed and signed into law in the 2016 session. What would you do to address housing affordability for middle-income residents and do you think this is a state issue or a local issue?
Roberta Phillip-Robbins Part of the role of a legislator is to determine where and how the state can act to support efforts in their district. Inclusionary zoning is an example of this as local jurisdictions now have another tool available to secure affordable housing units. I believe very strongly that state and local authorities should work together to better serve constituents. I intend to build strong relationships with other elected officials and community representatives.
Tawna Sanchez* We need to create real partnerships with the community to ensure housing policies assist the public. That means bringing together community groups, developers and the business community, state and local officials, and other stakeholders to move forward with a shared plan to provide middle-income housing. I believe that I can be an effective partner in this work. Through my work at NAYA I have worked with community partners to offer affordable homeownership opportunities and low-income rental properties that serve victims of domestic violence, elders, and families.
5. The 2015 Economic Impacts of Congestion report shows that the Portland-region and the state of Oregonís competitiveness is largely dependent on efficient transportation. Failure to adequately invest in the system could cost the Portland-metro region $822 million annually by 2040 and close to 6,000 jobs. Do you support a state transportation package? Would you work on a state transportation package in the 2017 legislative session that supports freight movement and removes bottlenecks?
Roberta Phillip-Robbins I support a state transportation package. The financial impact cited above is very concerning and I would like to learn more about how to support freight movement and address bottlenecks.
Tawna Sanchez* Yes. We need to get our economy going again and also anticipate how we can reduce congestion and other bottlenecks that are contributing to air pollution in my district.
6. The Portland-metro regionís geographic location on the Pacific Rim, deep-water and inland port system, international air connections and extensive road and rail infrastructure play a significant role in the growth of Oregon businesses and jobs. Many small, medium, and large businesses throughout the state rely on efficient connections to domestic and international markets. What is your view on the role of trade to our stateís economy and what can the state do to promote traded-sector opportunities?
Roberta Phillip-Robbins I will count on partners including those from the business community to inform me of ways to support traded-sector opportunities and other impacts to our state economy. I intend to make decisions in the legislature as I always have made decisions Ė to seek input from those directly impacted and who have a unique understanding of the issues I need to learn more about. I do believe that we need to support a thriving business economy in our state and can do so while being socially responsible.
Tawna Sanchez* I am a strong believer in working with other nations and bringing shared prosperity to our peoples. Oregon has a great opportunity to offer our services and products worldwide and I would support policies that help us create that shared prosperity across the globe.
7. The Alliance is committed to ensuring an adequate supply of shovel ready industrial lands to support job retention and growth. Manufacturing, in particular, requires industrial land and provides higher wages and better benefits than non-manufacturing jobs, particularly for non-whites and non-English- speaking workers. In a previous session, the Alliance supported a bill that would have allowed the state to provide loans and grants to jurisdictions to make industrial land market ready; the policy passed, but no associated funding was approved. Do you believe the state has a role in helping local jurisdictions promote adequate industrial lands that are shovel ready for development?
Roberta Phillip-Robbins Yes, I believe the state has a role in helping local jurisdictions promote adequate industrial lands that are shovel ready for development.
Tawna Sanchez* Yes. We must be able to support existing businesses and attract new ones that will offer good jobs to working families.