REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
Racial Justice Council (RJC)
November 25, 2020
I’m so glad you all could make time for this short meeting before the holiday weekend.
Next week, we are beginning to roll out the 2021-23 Governor’s Recommended Budget. Even as we close on the most challenging year of our lifetimes, I’m just delighted with what we’ve been able to come up with for the 2021 session.
I consider the Governor’s Recommended Budget to be our state’s North Star. It guides and defines our state’s legislative priorities and serves as a touchstone for us in the middle of a cacophony of a session.
One of the visions of the Racial Justice Council is to dismantle structural racism in Oregon state government, and by doing so, have resounding impacts on the communities of our great state.
To do this, we committed to centering and uplifting the voices of Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, and Tribal communities – from this council and beyond.
We prioritized racial equity, seeking to close opportunity gaps so that race can no longer predict outcomes.
In short: we want to build a more equitable Oregon where all communities can thrive and feel safe.
And we are resolute in our mission for transformative, lasting change.
We knew that change would take time – through multiple budget cycles, and probably a few governors. But, dammit, we’ve waited long enough.
We’ve been saying Black Lives Matter long before George Floyd’s death. We’ve been concerned with the rising cost of healthcare long before we were struck by a global pandemic. And we’ve been planning for the future of our planet long before Portland students walked out of their classrooms to demand climate justice.
This is not the budget we hoped to have in 2019. But even with that said, this budget seeks to:
● $10 billion total - Increase access to quality, affordable childcare for 8,000 more kids. And build our investments in Oregon schools – prioritizing career and technical ed and building anti-racist classrooms.
● Invest substantially in behavioral health. $10 million - expand health coverage to adults regardless of their immigration status and Oregonians without insurance
● Reform our criminal justice system to center racial equity and deemphasize mass incarceration
● $74 million - in wildfire prevention, suppression, and recovery
● More than $20 million - Ensure that all Oregonians have a warm, safe, dry, affordable, and accessible place to call home – including building out more BIPOC homeownership.
● Roughly $7 million - reduce Oregon’s carbon emissions, and build green energy practices so that communities of color and tribal communities can access clean air, fertile soil, and drinkable water.
Not too shabby for a pandemic budget.
It is an incredible first step toward a more equitable Oregon for all. Thank you all for your work in building it.
I can’t wait to hear your feedback.