Media Room

REMARKS AS PREPARED

Governor Kate Brown
Jefferson High School
Wednesday, August 28, 2019​

Good morning everyone!

I want to thank Solam for her inspirational words. Just think: in a few years you can be just like her! 

Summer may be over, but back to school marks a time for new beginnings. A chance for a fresh start.

And you’re already on your way. 

You are living proof that in the face of generational adversity, political turmoil, and orthodontia, hope can still grow. 

And it grows every single day in your classrooms. 

Take, for example, Lavert Robertson. Lavert is a Jefferson Democrat -- and I’m not just talking about his political affiliation! 

GO FIGHTING DEMS!! 

Born and educated in our great state, Lavert has spent his career dedicated to serving Oregon schools just like yours. And most recently, he’s been appointed to be CEO of All Hands Raised -- a nonprofit focused on racial equity and social mobility for Multnomah County schools.

He said: “As a first-generation college graduate, I have been on a path to transform the systems that have historically failed our kids and their families.”

Lavert embodies black excellence, Oregon excellence, and what is possible when we invest in education. And his vision reflects our state goals: generational growth.

With passionate Oregonians like Lavert leading the way, I have great faith in the future of Oregon. Because you all are it! Give yourselves a hand! 

I’m old, guys. I’m really old. I first ran for the legislature in 1992. Were any of you even alive back then? I ran on a platform of stable and adequate funding for education. And guess what? In my final campaign for governor last year, I ran on that same exact platform.

Unfortunately, that’s a generation of students and teachers just like you who have been making do with less.

So I am very excited to report that we are investing an additional $1 billion a year in you and students like you across the state. We know the future of our great state depends on you. And you are worth every penny.

Classrooms around Oregon are changing as we continue to grow. I want to make sure that our educators reflect the growing changes in the faces of Oregon. We want to see representation of lived experiences in our teachers, principals, and superintendents. 

I know that many of you are going through things that no high schooler should have to go through, whether it be domestic violence, addiction, and houselessness. 

We are here for you. 

And your teachers and counselors will now have the resources to help you when you need it most. Reach out! Ask for help when you need it.

Finally, in my role as governor I want to improve our high school graduation rate. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure you have practical, hands-on learning to help you transition from classroom to career. 

That’s what I was so excited to learn -- that all 170 of you will graduate with Middle College degrees. That’s a total of over 4000 college credits!

The Middle College program provides you all with a jumpstart toward a path to success, whatever that means for you. When you see the connections between classroom and career, you are more likely to graduate.

Now that’s what I call a game-changer.

So here it is. You have the resources you need to succeed. Now the rest depends on you. 

Take that risk, find your passion, and become the leader we know you can be.

So let’s hit the books! GO DEMS!!