Healthy children and healthy families make for a healthy community, so I will strive to assure that every person in Multnomah County has access to quality, affordable healthcare and that the county programs that are in place to serve our community's healthcare needs are serving our in the most efficient and effective manner.
I am deeply concerned about lapses in services for the elderly within Multnomah County. To ensure the quality and sufficiency of services to the elderly, as Commissioner, I will call for an audit of all contracts to those most marginal members of our community. We have to build a social dynamic that includes a strong civil and human rights component into our county outreach priorities. The County is the front line provider of health care services to many of the most vulnerable. We must ensure that they are receiving quality and effective health care, so that they can build and maintain healthy lives.
JOBS & THE ECONOMY
As Multnomah County Commissioner, Maria Garcia, plans to expand the current work force program to provide more full time permanent jobs instead of temporary or part time jobs, as well as plans to work with city leaders to broaden employment opportunities for youth and other underemployed communities.
As we transition out of a fossil fuel based economy, it is vital that we bring all of the county residents with us, which means transitioning into a fossil free economy where everyone has access to clean jobs. The plan is to focus on prosperity and to reach out directly to the most marginalized communities to help bridge those opportunities. Multnomah County has made a commitment to move to a 100% renewable energy based economy, and Maria plans to play a strong role in helping achieve that for every one.
When I first immigrated from Mexico, I served in the Mexican Consulate where I gained first-hand experience connecting laborers and farm workers with resources to address their needs." I established relationships with day laborers and farm workers who depend on Oregon's vitality in our agricultural industry. I also helped families get the necessary documentation needed to conduct their daily lives and helped workers receive payment for work they did. As a Multnomah County Commissioner, I will develop partnerships with communities of color, immigrant communities, and underserved communities to help all our families in Multnomah County to be healthy, strong and resilient.
Low income, predominantly minority communities do not have access to political leadership and power. All decisions that affect our everyday lives are made by others with privilege.
We must empower our diverse communities to learn how to participate and engage directly in the development of our district and city so we know how to be involved and bring our voices to every table of conversation where our well-being and future is being decided.
"It is not enough to simply have occasional diversity training for county staff. We need to ensure that minority workers who come from and know the needs of the community they serve are hired into management and leadership positions." Many employees at the county level have been outspoken about unfair and discriminatory treatment. Leaders must be held accountable. This is why I will prioritize the hiring, retention, promotion, and recognition of employees of color.
ELECTIONS AND VOTING
I have made it a priority to lead efforts to ensure all Portland residents register to vote. My work on the City of Portland's New Portlanders board is dedicated to promoting civic engagement, as it is key to developing policy that builds equity in Portland. "As Commissioner I will prioritize the engagement of people of color who are too often left out of the discussion, and promote envolvement in the political processes. New minds have fresh ideas for real change, so we should work together to support the building of outreach for political leadership and steadfastly protect our rights to VOTE."
INSTITUTIONAL RACISM IN MULTNOMAH COUNTY
Systemic Racism has no place in Multnomah County. Any employee and/or recipient of services provided by Multnomah County should not be subjected to racism. No one should be humiliated and undermined in any form due to the color of their skin, gender, sexual orientation, religion or place of origin.
A safe environment is needed and crucial to the development and performance of all individuals that work directly with the public. A toxic work environment affects the delivery of services and performance of employees.
Our communities need real cultural competency. We must enforce the development and execution of the Workforce Equity Plan, together with a strong supportive Community Human Rights Board that will be supportive to employees and public in general.
Safety in the city of Portland is a concern for all civilians. Hate based crimes, police brutality, racial profiling, deportations and harassment on public transportation, in schools and in our daily lives in general have become commonplace.
Enforcement of Sanctuary cities should be demanded. People within our communities should be educated about their rights and responsibilities in regards to immigration and protection programs for documented and undocumented immigrants should be put in place. I will implement and development an immigrant protection force that will be an ombudsman department reporting directly to Commissioner’s office.
A fund for legal aid is needed to help undeserved communities to assure that everyone has access to affordable legal representation we need to address the causes of mass incarceration.
ECONOMIC DISPARITY / LACK OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Media portrays a skewed visual image of homelessness. In reality, homelessness has many faces. There are families with children, military veterans, those suffering from addiction and those who have simply fallen on hard times due to the rising costs of rent and lack of affordable housing and good paying jobs. I want not only face the problem of homelessness, but also the many root causes of homelessness in our city. We need to face this problem head-on and work towards finding a solution.
Social reinvestment is needed in our community including financial, housing, educational and infrastructure. Resources for the homeless and those at risk
of becoming homeless are desperately needed.
We need Support and to form partnerships with founders, community organizers, and members of the community from the private sector to build a multicultural activity center that will help raise cultural awareness, create jobs, educate and teach basic life skills. The center will be available to everyone within the community.
DISPLACEMENT AND GENTRIFICATION OF NEIGHBORHOODS
Gentrification within our district has left our neighborhoods virtually unrecognizable and culturally depleted. Gentrification has also left many people displaced. By giving the community a seat at the table to discuss past and future development, we allow the people to have a say in what happens to their homes and a voice when it comes to changes to their neighborhoods.
SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT AND DEVELOPMENT
Small businesses have a large impact on the economy and provide many benefits to the communities in which they serve.
We need to provide stronger support to local small businesses and partner with community organizations and neighborhoods to provide technical support and resources to foster small business development.
Profitable small businesses create jobs and a stronger economy.
Direct Engagement with residents matters in Multnomah County.
Our community has been deeply impacted by cultural displacement which is causing the number of homeless minors and veterans to be staggering for a city the size of Portland. Among houseless people are mothers trying to shelter their children and people being returned to society from our jails. They need leadership that is approachable and connected to networks with resources to support affordable housing and other resources. Stronger, healthier families make for better neighborhoods. I believe we can make this happen.
As a commissioner, I plan to be at the County libraries and health clinics to meet neighbors and share their experiences with the county board for direct engagement and resolution.
One in every two children in Multnomah County is a person of color, so I feel we have a duty to educate the youth on the racial history of this country, state and county.
Our county has one of the lowest graduation rates in our nation so we need to work together to find innovative ways to create learning environments that are conducive to educational success.
I will collaborate with county leaders to reverse the downward cycle of education and vocational programming access. STEM is here in Oregon and I believe Multnomah County can utilize it as a tool to build community prosperity. Educating families using accreditation tools has been successful in other counties and it is clearly a need here in the United States.
Multnomah County can act as a strong supporter of educational programs that help strengthen at-risk families, help new immigrants adjust to life in America and help those recently released from incarceration to build much needed life and employment skills.