Media Room

PREPARED REMARKS
2016 Agenda & Priorities 
January 20, 2016 

Good morning. I’m pleased to be able to share with you my 2016 policy agenda. 
Over the course of this year, I will be working to build healthy, vibrant 
communities – communities that offer opportunities for all Oregonians to reach their full potential. A thriving Oregon must also be resilient. It must be able to sustain the well-being of current and future generations. 
This is the vision that, working together, we will bring to life, starting with my four areas of focus for 2016: 
I will continue to work toward a seamless education system from cradle to career that delivers better outcomes – closes the opportunity gap, improves Oregon’s high school graduation rate, prepares students for careers, and delivers the workforce Oregon businesses need. 
To make sure that all Oregonians may benefit from our recovering economy, I will continue efforts to achieve racial, gender and economic equity. Although our economy is getting stronger, wages have not kept up with the rising costs of child care, food, and housing. I will work to raise the minimum wage and find ways to make housing more affordable for working families struggling to make ends meet. 
In addition to making state government more accountable and transparent, I will work to make sure state government adds value to Oregon’s overall economic enterprise. Sometimes this means just getting out of the way – particularly for Oregon’s small businesses. Our small businesses should have more black ink, less red tape. 
And lastly, in 2016, I will focus on preparedness. Through the work of the School Safety Task Force and my new campus safety working group, we will assess and strengthen the safety of Oregon schools and college campuses. I will also expand planning and preparation to improve our state’s resiliency to seismic events, and to the effects of climate change. 
Education, economy, equity, and preparedness: these are my priorities for this year. I will use my executive authority to achieve some elements; others will require legislative action in the short session in February. 
Additionally, I plan seek funds in the February session to offset costs incurred during the unlawful occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Harney 
County. 
State officials, including me, have been asked by federal authorities to limit our public comments to avoid escalating the situation, and I have complied. I would not want to do or say anything that might compromise their efforts to resolve it. 
But I will say this: 
I have been paying very close attention to this situation, and I have been in regular contact with local officials in Burns. 
The situation is intolerable and must be resolved immediately – the very fabric of this community is being ripped apart. 
The residents of Harney County have been overlooked and underserved by federal officials’ response thus far. 
I have conveyed these grave concerns directly to leaders at the highest levels of our government – to the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House. 
Federal authorities must move quickly to end the occupation and hold all wrongdoers accountable. 
This spectacle of lawlessness must end. And until Harney County is free of it, I will not stop insisting that federal officials enforce the law. 
Thank you.