Building safe communities goes far beyond law enforcement and the criminal legal system. We’ve seen progress on police accountability, but it’s time to seriously invest in addressing the underlying systemic issues that result in behavior that hurts our community.
Kayse has been one of the foremost leaders in our state to reimagine public safety, and he has worked to forward policies and ballot measures that help keep every Oregonian safe and treated with dignity. This year, we saw the passage of long-overdue police accountability measures. These are important first steps to ensure the rights and safety of our community members, but there is much more to be done. In 2017, Kayse was a key figure in Oregon's landmark law to end racial profiling.
Reenvisioning community safety means rethinking how we respond to emergencies in our community. Mental health and drug issues that are non-violent in nature should be handled by trained treatment providers, not armed law enforcement. Kayse was a leader in this year’s campaign for Measure 110 to treat drug use as a public health issue and get people treatment instead of jail time. As the state legislature begins implementation of this measure, we need Kayse in the Senate to lead on this new approach to health and safety.
Community safety is also about knowing you are welcome. Our district is home to many DREAMers, as well as hardworking immigrants and refugees, many of whom are in families with mixed immigration status or are believers of diverse faiths. While we have built strong community ties here in Oregon Senate District 24, the rise of extremist threats and hate incidents means we need to come together and protect our Black, Indigenous, people of color, LGBTQ+, and disability communities. In the last long session, Kayse did just that as he worked to pass a bill to modernize the state’s outdated definition of hate crimes and how we respond to them to provide support to survivors of hate incidents. With a new federal administration, Oregon can continue to be a leader on immigrant and refugee rights.
Community safety also includes the physical makeup of our neighborhoods. Senate District 24 has some of the most dangerous traffic intersections in the state, putting our kids and elders at risk. Other challenges include poor air quality, a lack of sidewalks, and safe street crossings. Investments in our infrastructure and transportation system will ensure we can all get where we need to go conveniently and safely.