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My Priorities

Homelessness, Housing, & Poverty

Every night in Multnomah County, thousands of men, women, and children sleep on our streets. It is one of my top priorities to tackle the complex and interconnected issues of poverty and homelessness by addressing them through holistic, wraparound programs and services. Multnomah County should be a one-stop-shop for residents trying to access housing and social services to take care of themselves and their families.

I believe that we must take a three-prong approach to addressing our homelessness crisis. First, we must prevent people from becoming homeless with tools like rental vouchers; second, we have to get those currently living on our streets off the street and into a safe and stable housing situation; and third, we must invest in permanent supportive housing to provide those with mental health & addiction challenges with the wrap-around services they need to stay housed.

In the Legislature, I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the men and women in our workforce by helping pass a statewide Paid Sick Leave law and I continue to advocate for an increased minimum wage. I will continue to be a leader at the County to ensure that everyone has a fair shot at a successful future.

Kids, Education, & Preschool for All

As a mother of two, I know the value of services that support kids and families. We must develop and fund programs for kids that span from the critical years of early childhood to enrichment programs that happen after the final bell of the school day. When kids are physically, emotionally, and mentally ready to learn they are more successful throughout their academic career and are more productive citizens. In the Legislature, I voted to increase funding for K-12 schools by more than $1 billion -- the biggest increase since the Great Recession. At the County, I will work with stakeholders to support programs like SUN Schools and the Early Kindergarten Transition program as well as implement action plans that ensure kids of all backgrounds and cultures have the tools they need to succeed.

At Multnomah County I have led the Preschool for All Task Force, an initiative bringing together parents, providers, educators, social services, and businesses to develop a plan to provide high quality preschool to every 3 and 4 year old in Multnomah County.

Seniors

As Multnomah County’s population ages, I am committed to addressing their unique needs. That includes supporting senior centers -- especially in underserved communities in East County -- legal aid counseling, long-term care facilities, health education, fraud protection, and other programs that improve the vibrancy and well being of our elders. In the Legislature, I helped to craft budgets that prioritized seniors, including elder abuse protection programs and expanded access to the Senior Property Tax Deferral Program.

Safe Neighborhoods

Part of the foundation of a great community is the freedom to feel secure in our homes and neighborhoods. I have and will continue to work to grow positive relationships between all our diverse communities and our law enforcement officers, people who put their lives on the line protecting our neighborhoods. I was proud to sponsor HB 2002 which banned racial profiling in Oregon and set up a central review committee for profiling complaints.

Building a Safe & Modern Transportation System

As an East Portland resident, I understand how better infrastructure is needed to make safer, more liveable neighborhoods. At Multnomah County I serve as the board liaison for transportation matters and sit on a variety of local and regional decision making bodies, including ODOT’s ACT, Metro’s JPACT, the HB 2017 Transit Advisory Committee, and the Value Pricing Advisory Committee. I have also led the development of Metro’s regional transportation package as the co-chair of the committee developing the measure.

At Multnomah County I lead the effort to invest in a new earthquake-ready Burnside Bridge that can serve as a lifeline for our community after a major seismic event.

In my time in the legislature, I’ve brought home over $20 million for East Portland road safety projects, including sidewalks, crosswalks, and curb-extenders.

Health & Wellness

The County, more so than any other level of government, is responsible for the health of residents. I am proud to be a leader in ensuring access to quality and affordable mental and physical health services for everyone. This includes passing budgets that fund programs for the disabled, survivors of domestic violence, veterans, and those battling drug and alcohol addiction.

Economic Opportunities for All

Hardworking Oregonians and Multnomah County residents deserve all the credit for their resiliency in working through tough times since the economic downtown. In the last few years, our local and state economy has bounced back and I will continue to support policies and budgets that create opportunities for economic growth and infrastructure development.

I am committed to working in partnership with communities of color, labor partners, and our local businesses to develop an agenda that expands real economic opportunities to our east Portland residents who for too long have felt the burdens of growth without the benefits that others have reaped.

The Environment

I am an advocate for environmental justice. In the Legislature, I led the effort to advance Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program, making the air we breathe cleaner, reducing car emissions, and encouraging technological innovations in renewable energy. I also championed the 2016 bill which committed our state to getting coal out of our energy system.

As Commissioner, I have led our community’s efforts to address the climate crisis by championing policies such as the 2017 Multnomah County 100% by 2050 renewable energy commitment, the 2018 Multnomah County Environmental Justice resolution, and the enactment of a clean diesel procurement program. I have also advocated forcefully for a statewide cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

Good Government & Responsible Budgeting

As former Vice Chair of the House Revenue Committee, I am experienced in the intricacies of tax policy and in making tough choices to ensure taxpayers get the highest return on their investment. I use those skills at Multnomah County to exercising transparent and collaborative budgeting strategies in addition to encouraging public-private partnerships and other creative mechanisms to make public dollars stretch further.

Meet Jessica

I am a mother, a business professional, a progressive Democrat, a proud resident of East Portland, and the first Latina elected to the Oregon House of Representatives.

As Multnomah County Commissioner I’ve fought to make sure every member of our community has what they need to succeed. I want to make Multnomah County an even better place to live, work, and raise a family. I'm ready to get to work and I hope you'll join us!

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Latest News

Jessica Vega Pederson: A Coalition Built To WinMay 13, 2020

Jessica Vega Pederson: In My CornerFebruary 28, 2020

Jessica Vega Pederson: In It TogetherFebruary 7, 2020

Jessica Vega Pederson: I'm Here for ThisJanuary 28, 2020

See more news.

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