REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
Government to Government Summit
December 1, 2020
Thank you, Tribal Chairs, for joining us today, and for your remarks. It is such an honor to once again be here at the Summit with you. I know we’re virtual this year, but it’s so important that we keep this dialogue going.
2020 has been challenging, to say the least. But these challenges present tremendous opportunities for our governments. In particular, this year we have seen incredible, groundbreaking work to center communities made vulnerable by systemic racism and colonialism in our conversations, as we work together to build a safer, stronger, and more equitable Oregon.
COVID-19 and the historic wildfires we experienced have brought our state to a screeching halt. But the good news is that there’s nowhere to go but up from here. So, I’m hoping that, in this upcoming year, we can partner with your tribal governments to make lasting and transformative change.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your crucial work this year, to keep our people safe.
Although your sovereign governments have not been obligated to follow state and county COVID-19 restrictions, your tribes have nonetheless implemented essential public health safeguards, collaborating with us to make a real difference in communities around the state.
I know Chair Brigham brought together local officials to stem the tide of the virus and build community will keep folks safe. Thank you!
A recent Klamath Tribes press statement said it better than I ever could: “We help each other; we will live well.”
During this pandemic, communication has been key. Indeed, one of the silver linings of this challenging year is that I have been in constant communication with all of you. Yes, we are facing down multiple crises. But, in my opinion, our governments are communicating better than ever. Let’s keep that up.
Lastly, I want to highlight a few things that are top-of-mind for me, which will require continued close collaboration between our governments:
First, I want to thank Chief Don Ivy, Brigette McConnville, and Chuck Sams for their work on the Racial Justice Council in recent weeks. This extraordinary moment for racial justice has fundamentally changed the way that my team will be approaching the upcoming legislative session, and the contributions from these members from Oregon’s Tribes will have a lasting impact on our state.
I released my budget this morning. Highlights:
● There are >$250 million in racial justice investments.
● $118 million investment in broadband expansion
● Office of Environmental Justice to focus on wildfires, climate change, and water quantity and quality are some of the complex natural resources priorities that demand action
● Half a billion dollars for wildfires, including funding for preparedness, prevention, and suppression, with $189.5 million to rebuild communities impacted by the fires.
○ I think this is an incredibly important moment to partner and trust tribal methodologies to create healthier landscapes.
○ I’m going to need your help to raise awareness in the legislature for how wildfire is impacting tribal communities. And what you need to be successful.
● $5.4 million investment CTE
● Roughly $1 million for Tribal Learning Hub to increase access to early learning grant opportunities.
○ A permanent Tribal Liaison at ELD to ensure equitable access to early learning programs
● $1.4 million for Indian Managed Care Entity (IMCE) to provide critical care and coordination of services to tribal members on OHP.
● Investments in:
○ Tribal Traditional Health Worker Program to support tribal-based practices.
○ Increases Medicaid funding to support tribal-based practices and tribal behavioral health workforce.
Klamath Dam Removal - This is an incredibly important step forward on the path towards restorative justice for the people of the Klamath Basin, and towards restoring health to the river as well as everyone and everything that depends on it.
Thank you, Chair Gentry for your years and years of dedication and determination on this.
Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women - I know that COVID-19 has made it difficult to continue the important work that you all are collectively doing. I hope to make this a priority moving forward.
Indigenous Peoples Day - I would like to have a conversation before the legislative session about making it a statewide holiday.
I am eager to listen to tribal voices as we move forward with this summit and into the last part of my term as Oregon’s governor. And I’m looking forward to all of our discussions today and tomorrow.
Thank you to:
● Legislative Commission on Indian Services - Danny Santos and Adrienne Fisher
● Don Ivy for Invocation
● From my team - Dustin Buehler, Sarah Weston, Jen Andrew, and Shevaun Gutridge, for planning and putting on this event.
● Tribal chairs, leaders, and staff
● Panelists and moderators
● Oregon’s statewide elected officials who joined us -- Secretary of State Bev Clarno, Treasurer Tobias Read, Attorney General Rosenblum, and Labor Commissioner Hoyle.
● Oregon legislators; agency reps
We cannot continue to look for short-term solutions to long-term problems.
The summit provides an opportunity to renew common purpose toward collective action.
I really enjoyed listening to--and learning from--our panel discussions this year:
● I appreciate the dedication of the state and tribal officials who spoke to our shared Covid-19 / emergency management challenges
● I also appreciate yesterday’s candid and robust tribal gaming discussion. We will be having additional conversations in the weeks ahead.
● The water vision / climate panels really hit home to me--once again--the vital importance of these issues, and our moral obligation to act now.
● And the wildfire and economic development panels gave us a glimpse of the challenges ahead--challenges our governments we will face together in 2021, just as we have done in 2020.
Collaboration making our governments better.
I am enormously grateful for your partnership.