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Strengthening education and making college more affordable

I’m a strong proponent of public education. My husband and I attended public schools, and so did our two children. My kids started school a few years after the passage of Measure 5, and as a parent volunteer I saw the devastating consequences of the resulting budget cuts. This experience strengthened my commitment to fighting for great public schools for all children, where educators have the resources and support they need.

I joined parents and community members to rally for school funding on the Capitol steps in Salem, and my passion for public education ultimately led me to serve as a State Representative, a State Senator, and now a Member of Congress.

In Congress, I have the honor of chairing the Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services. I’ve led hearings on pay equity, federal child nutrition programs, child abuse prevention and treatment, LGBTQ equality, runaway and homeless youth, employment discrimination, and protections for pregnant workers.

One of my most significant accomplishments in Congress was when I served in a lead role in the replacement of No Child Left Behind and helped write the final version of The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). I also created the bipartisan Congressional STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Caucus to advocate for the integration of art and design, broadly defined, into STEM education to prepare all students to be creative, critical thinkers who will have the skills they need to solve the problems of tomorrow.

There is a lot more to do to make sure all students have access to an excellent, well-rounded education.

Going forward, I’m focused on:

Opening our schools safely. We all want students to be back in school, but they and the educators and staff need to be safe. I support getting more resources to our schools for testing, ventilation, cleaning supplies, staffing, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Expanding access to high-quality early learning opportunities so every child, regardless of background, family income level, or ability, can start kindergarten prepared to learn.

Addressing resource inequities in K-12 education to make sure states and school districts can provide safe facilities, counseling services, advanced courses, technology, extended learning opportunities, world language learning, rigorous career and technical education programs, and a well-rounded curriculum that includes the arts.

Making college more affordable by protecting and expanding existing federal student aid programs like Pell Grants and Federal Work Study, and striving for debt free college. In the short term, we must keep student loan interest rates low, fix the broken Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and help borrowers better manage student loan debt through easier access to income driven repayment plans. I worked my way through community college, college, and law school, and understand the importance of access and affordability. I’ve been working hard on a overdue update of the Higher Education Act that will make meaningful changes for students, families, and borrowers.

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Meet Suzanne

Suzanne knows what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet. She worked her way through community college, university, and law school. She started her career at Legal Aid and worked as a consumer rights attorney. Throughout her career she’s been a leading advocate for public education, protecting the environment, and civil rights. She’s fighting for a better future for all Oregonians.

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