I have built my 2013 legislative agenda on the simple premise that all Oregonians deserve their shot at the American dream. It’s a commitment to equity and opportunity for all, secure jobs with upward income mobility, and safe, secure communities where people have a sense of common purpose and commitment to one another.
And if, as I believe, it is the promise of equal opportunity that lies at the heart of the American Dream – the promise that if you work hard you can build a better life for yourself and your family; the promise that each subsequent generation will be better off than the last one – then public education is the vehicle through which the American Dream is most directly fulfilled today.
Yet there are thousands of young Oregonians whose families have brought them here, who attend our schools, who work hard, get good grades, graduate from high school – exactly the kinds of students we want in Oregon’s public universities – who are denied their shot at the American Dream. By putting up roadblocks to their educational opportunities, we are not only turning our back on these young Oregonians – we are walking away from tens of thousands of dollars worth of investment that we have made in these young people through the K-12 system.
Tuition Equity allows us to capitalize on this investment, building Oregon’s economy by supporting and cultivating the incredible talent, entrepreneurship, and skills of all of Oregon’s young people.
I am proud to join this coalition of supporters for a policy change that is long overdue. I want to express particular appreciation to President Courtney for leading on this issue for several sessions, even when it was politically difficult, and to Representative Dembrow for putting together this coalition.. Together, we can create new opportunities for a whole new generation of Oregon students, and help them reach for the American Dream.