To identify what issues are the highest priority, Khanh turns to community. From Laurelhurst to Lents, House District 46 represents both what Portland and Oregon are and what they are becoming. With more than 30 racial/ethnic identities in the latest Census, our District is the most diverse in the state. Our community ranges from the lush greenery of Mount Tabor to the unpaved roads surrounding 82nd Avenue. Khanh has spent years listening to and organizing with communities in the heart of her district. The challenges and opportunities faced by the families in her district in many ways mirror what people are encountering across our state. All of this informs how Khanh will fight for the issues that matter most.
Environmental and Climate Justice
Khanh played a lead role in passing the Portland Clean Energy Fund, the nation’s first successful climate justice initiative that raises $50 million a year to fund energy efficiency, renewable energy and job training programs focused on low-income families and communities of color. She is now ready to champion a Green New Deal for Oregon.
The Portland Clean Energy Fund confirms that diverse communities, working together, can create a successful local model for transforming our economy, protecting and restoring our environment, and creating family-wage jobs for underserved people, while holding corporations accountable to paying their fair share. Khanh was a founding leader in the coalition that developed the Portland Clean Energy Fund. She was instrumental in soliciting and incorporating input from our community to ensure that the program was equitable and responsive to the needs of frontline communities. She also helped lead outreach and build one of the largest intersectional coalitions Portland has ever seen, made up of communities of color, social justice and environmental organizations, small businesses, housing and houseless advocates, students, labor unions, faith communities, neighborhood associations and many more. This resulted in voters overwhelmingly approving the Portland Clean Energy Fund ballot measure, despite opposition from powerful large corporate interests.
With Khanh, communities in our district and across the state will have a true and proven movement champion for climate justice and a Green New Deal for Oregon.
Communities across Oregon are struggling. It’s hard to find a living-wage job that can support a family. We have an affordable housing crisis. Meanwhile, a changing and increasingly chaotic climate is hurting our farms, our forests and communities across the state, as well as driving in-migration from other areas. In reaction to these issues, certain reactionary forces want to scapegoat immigrants, poor people, and people of color, and go back to when Oregon was considered a state for whites only. But Khanh is part of a growing inclusive grassroots movement that is drawing the connections between these issues and proposing bold solutions that address racial, economic, and environmental justice.
A top priority for Khanh will be to pass a bold and comprehensive Oregon Green New Deal that creates tens of thousands of good jobs and moves us away from an extractive economy that exploits workers and exacerbates the climate crisis to one that instead helps build thriving, healthy, caring and resilient communities and protects a livable planet for our children.
Khanh envisions an Oregon Green New Deal that will include: a rapid transition to community-controlled 100% renewable energy; moving investments away from mega highway projects and toward affordable or fareless public transit; banning new fossil fuel infrastructure; replace polluting and cruel mega-factory farms with smaller family farms that move us toward a healthy and just food system; and building the resilience of communities already being impacted by the climate crisis. We need to fund this just transition to a renewable energy economy by making polluters and corporations pay their fair share.
We cannot have a functioning democracy without removing big money from politics. Campaign Finance Reform and a Fair Tax System are top priorities for Khanh.
Campaign Finance Reform. Oregon is long overdue for comprehensive campaign finance reform. Our shameful lack of contribution limits allows wealthy individuals and monied interests to donate hundreds-of-thousands or even millions of dollars to campaigns. Democracy can only function when government is in the hands of the people, not wealthy donors. That’s why we must limit campaign contributions from individuals and shady PACs while protecting the rights of working people to pool their resources and support candidates who identify with our values.
Fair Tax System. We cannot have a healthy democracy when corporations and the wealthiest get the largest tax breaks and government subsidies while working families experience housing and food insecurity. The Student Success Act and Portland Clean Energy Fund were steps forward towards greater corporate accountability. Oregon must be bold and act with urgency in addressing income and other economic inequities in our state.
Economic and Social Justice
Khanh brings 20 years of organizing and policymaking experience deeply rooted in community. She will be a powerful advocate for economic and social justice, including healthcare, housing, education, small business, immigrant rights, gun control, transportation and reproductive justice.
Healthcare is a human right. Every Oregonian should have access to universal healthcare, regardless of their health, age, income, race, immigration status, or gender identity. Upstream investments in mental health, public health and access to basic holistic preventative care are key to making Oregonians healthier, safer, and able to thrive. Khanh understands that on a deeper level, addressing health inequities and the social determinants of health is as important as improving access to health care for all.
We need to fundamentally rethink our education system. Our current curriculum is rooted in the distant past, with goals that don’t make sense for the world we face today and definitely not the world that our children are facing in the coming decade.
In addition to modernizing the curriculum so that it is more reflective of the world we face, we should consider crediting students for participating in internships and life experiences. Khanh supports expanding opportunities that allow for earlier high school graduation, together with increased investment in free community college and higher education. We should be investing far more in career pathways that train students to protect and restore our natural and human systems–whether it’s regenerative agriculture, teaching, nursing, or homecare.
We need to make higher education affordable so students can graduate without overwhelming debt, allowing them to choose meaningful careers that align with their values and help us as a society adapt to the rapidly changing world.
Housing is a human right. Oregon must take bold action to ensure there is sufficient affordable housing for our growing population. Houselessness is the most visible symptom of our housing crisis. It is unconscionable that large global private equity firms are allowed to buy up and demolish affordable housing and replace it with luxury housing, while increasingly members of our community are forced to sleep out on the streets. This type of rampant housing speculation, along with gentrification and unprecedented income inequality, has also displaced and forcibly uprooted low- and medium-income families and communities of color from their homes and lives, driving them to the outskirts- away from jobs, good schools, trees, parks and accessible public transit. Everyone deserves safe and stable housing and thriving livable neighborhoods and Khanh will fight for the kind of systemic changes that we need to address this growing crisis.
4). Reproductive Justice
Khanh firmly believes that all people should have access to the full range of reproductive health services, regardless of status, gender, race, or income. She successfully fought for the 2017 Oregon Reproductive Health Equity Act with an incredible coalition of groups and will fight to defend it. In this political moment when reproductive rights are under attack nationally, Khanh will continue to work on protecting and expand reproductive health care access for all Oregonians.
5). Immigrant and Racial Justice:
Khanh comes from a family of refugees. She knows that immigrants are an important part of the United States continuing as a thriving, diverse, and globally aware society. She believes that everyone deserves the rights, resources, and recognition they need to thrive, regardless of status. Drivers licenses is a big first step to allowing people to be able to access jobs and opportunities. Khanh and the Portland Clean Energy Fund coalition collaborated with the No on Measure 105 coalition in their fight to successfully protect Oregon’s sanctuary law from the racist measure that sought to repeal it. Khanh believes this is the kind of powerful intersectional collaboration that can unite us and help us win transformational action across all the core issues facing our communities. Khanh vows to continue to be a champion for human and civil rights and criminal justice reform, in particular for the black and brown communities, immigrants and non-citizens who are most impacted and suffer the gravest consequences of our unjust system.
6). Supporting Small Business and Building our Local Economy:
Small and medium-sized businesses create by far most of our local jobs, strengthen our local economy, bring entrepreneurial innovation and make our communities a better place to work, play and live. Yet the current economic system unfairly favors giant national and multi-national corporations that are contributing to record inequities, a plunging quality of life for most workers and the decimation of our communities and the environment. Khanh believes in rebuilding our local economy by shifting our economic system from one that is unfair, exploitative and creates artificial scarcity to one that shifts economic activity in a way that allows small locally-owned businesses to thrive, treats workers well and creates community abundance, self-reliance, and resilience.