Criminal Justice Reform
As a former police officer and a teacher of criminal justice at Mount Hood Community College, Chris is deeply committed to creating an equitable justice system. As a state representative, he has championed various bills that protect the civil rights of Oregonians, ranging from demilitarising law enforcement to allowing only legally acquired evidence into the courtroom. Most recently, Chris passed legislation that ensured that every police interview of a youth is recorded, to ensure that their rights are not violated. In the future, Chris wants to create a police budget oversight committee, so that communities can be served safely.
Standing Up for Workers
When cuts to the retirements of police officers, firefighters, teachers and other frontline public servants were proposed, and ultimately passed, during the 2019 legislative session, Chris was one of only seven legislators to vote “no” on these cuts. He knew that eliminating benefits would harm frontline workers and their families, an unacceptable outcome. Chris also sponsored legislation that created Oregon’s progressive paid family and medical leave program, so all workers can take the time they need to care for themselves and their families. We can trust Chris to do what is right for hardworking people of Oregon.
We continue to face a housing crisis in East County that is leaving many residents at risk for losing their homes. Chris has worked hard to give renters more security: he passed the first tenant protection bill during the current housing crisis, which does not allow landlords to increase rent in the first year of a month to month tenancy. Chris kept fighting for renters: he pushed hard for the passage of HB 2004, which would have made no-cause evictions illegal. While the bill did not pass, it laid the groundwork for the passage of SB 608.
As a Troutdale city councilor, Chris heard from his constituents that they were not being served by TriMet. Together with other community leaders, then Councilor Gorsek worked to develop a plan that called for a route expansion and the creation of an express line between downtown Portland and Mount Hood Community College. Concerned about service disparities, safety issues and the financial woes of the agency, Chris passed legislation requiring a historic audit of Trimet. Over the years, his advocacy led to the implementation of many of the changes suggested in his original plan. Following the audit, Chris has continued to advocate for the transit dependent sponsoring legislation and supporting appointees that focus on equity.
As a community college educator and a graduate of Oregon’s public school and university system, Chris has a passion for ensuring educational opportunities for Oregonians at every level. He has not only championed efforts to increase school funding, including the historic Student Success Act, but also legislation to limit excessive testing. Chris has sponsored legislation to provide scholarship opportunities for Dreamers, and a bill that requires schools to teach LBGT and BIPOC history. But the work is not done; Chris looks forward to working on legislation to address bullying, and increasing funding for our community colleges.
Chris grew up in a union household where his family enjoyed full medical care benefits, which became extremely important when his father was diagnosed with ALS. This experience shaped his belief that affordable, quality health care is a human right. As a result, Chris has sponsored every bill that would implement universal coverage for everyone in Oregon since he was elected in 2012. Furthermore, having family members that have struggled with chronic pain, he has continued to fight for Oregon’s medical cannabis protections, as well as plans to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Chris also recognizes the importance of behavioral health: he has supported bills that improve the mental health of students, and those that aid individuals struggling with substance abuse.