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Hunger on the ballot: What Michael Trimble stands for

The priorities of our elected officials can make a major difference in the day-to-day lives of Oregon families and communities. Below they answer our questions and share their vision to end hunger and its root causes.

The Governor's responsibility to ensuring food access

Question 1

More than a million Oregonians, from every single county in the state, accessed food assistance through the Oregon Food Bank Network in 2021. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 702,000 Oregonians have participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP, sometimes referred to as “food stamps”). What are the responsibilities of the Governor to ensure that our communities have consistent access to nutritious, culturally-appropriate food?

Answer

The governor must lead the way to Increase access to affordable, healthy and culturally appropriate foods for BIPOC-AI/AN and low-income communities and maximize investments and collaboration for food-related interventions. Building a resilient food system that provides access to healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate food for all communities recognizes the connections we have to food, which go beyond nutrition and strengthen our connections to our families, cultures, and environments. Access to foods that matter to people helps recognize and empower our communities and can even strengthen the food.

Systemic racism and hunger

Question 2

Community members who are Black, Indigenous or People of Color face significantly higher rates of poverty and food insecurity than White Oregonians.

  1. What role, if any, do you believe systemic racism plays in causing hunger?

  2. What policies and programs would you support to reduce poverty and food insecurity in these communities?

Answer

  1. When you have concentrated poverty or racial segregation, resources are limited at the community level. Food access is one of those things that’s limited. When you look at race, it’s not only low-income people who live in communities that don’t have resources – it’s middle-income people who live in communities that don’t have resources.

    People forget that it affects people who even have higher wages, who are considered working class, like a bus driver. You might think, why would a bus driver end up food insecure? Because of a history of discrimination. They may have a stable wage but haven’t had the opportunities and infrastructure to accumulate wealth. They are more vulnerable than a bus driver who’s coming from a family with a history of wealth.
  2. As governor, I will support the Oregon Food Bank Network which brings together 21 regional food banks and more than 1,400 food assistance sites to provide free food to anyone and everyone. Obviously we must establish more food banks and food assistance sites. In addition, I will double the EBT spending power of those who elect to purchase fruits and vegetables over unhealthy food. To help reduce poverty, I will raise minimum wage to $15 an hour in my first 100 days, and I will lower rents to 30% of low income renters’ income. I will also expand Oregon health plan to all Oregonians capping their monthly premiums as well as their healthcare costs/expenditures. All of these measures will help housing/food insecure Oregonians keep more of their hard earned money.
Essential food workers and food insecurity

Question 3

From the fields to the grocery store, our food industry is anchored by essential workers who are immigrants. Yet the workers who keep food on our tables are among the lowest paid in Oregon. As governor, what would you do to ensure that the people who grow, process and serve our food do not experience food insecurity themselves?

Answer

In addition to raising minimum wage to $15 an hour and expanding OHP to all residents, I will make all immigrants, regardless if their immigration status, state residents giving them full rights and benefits including ballot access. Under my governorship, Oregon will be the most welcoming sanctuary state in the nation.

Food insecurity in rural, urban and suburban communities

Question 4

From Ontario, to Portland, to Tillamook, rates of poverty and food insecurity are relatively similar. As governor, how would you design solutions to poverty and hunger across rural, urban and suburban communities?

Answer

Boosting EBT spending power is a first start. Ensuring there are healthy options in every county is imperative, as too many rural, urban, and yes even suburban communities are food deserts without access to vegetables, fruit, milk, eggs, etc. it is beyond critical to establish more food banks and food assistance sites. Regarding poverty, I have addressed this in previous answers.

Barriers to BIPOC farming

Question 5

Of the state’s 67,595 farm producers, only 64 were Black in 2017. Black, Indigenous and People of Color have long experienced barriers in access to land, infrastructure and markets to support farming — negatively impacting both food production and economic development in communities.

  1. Does the governor have any responsibilities to remove barriers to farming for Oregonians who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color?

  2. If yes, what policies and programs would you support?

Answer

  1. YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES
  2. I will guarantee socially disadvantaged farmers have the same access to credit as white farmers along with debt relief/forgiveness. Reparations are definitely in order here due to the decades of discrimination and bias experience by black, indigenous, and people of color. Had they had the same access as white farmers, they would be in a much better position today with so much more wealth to pass down to their children.
Affordable housing

Question 6

Oregon faces a crisis of affordable housing. People who request food assistance consistently cite the cost of housing as a primary reason for seeking help — and renters are more than six times more likely to experience hunger than homeowners. As governor, what will you do to move us toward an Oregon in which everyone has safe, affordable and healthy housing?

Answer

I will lower rents of middle-to-low-income by at least $100 at multi-unit apartment properties in my first 100 days while I work with the legislature to ultimately cap rents of middle-to-low-income to 30% of their income in my first term. I will ban all rent related nonrefundable fees including application and pet fees, as well as criminalize vacancies longer than 45 days. If a vacancy can't be filled after 45 days, the government will give that unit to a tenant on the waiting list. There is no reason for vacancies with so many people looking for housing. Where I live, there have been vacant units sitting unoccupied for months because the property management company refuses to rent at below market value. All that will end as your governor.

I will mandate Section 8 be accepted by all landlords/property managers and work to cut the obscenely egregious waiting lists/times to under 100 days. I will seize all vacant buildings/properties under eminent domain and give them to nonprofits/organizations/agencies ready to convert them into housing. I will overhaul zoning to discourage single unit only dwellings to expand multi unit/shared dwellings.

RENT/HOUSING IS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT NOT A PRIVILEGE OR A LUXURY

Caregivers and food insecurity

Question 7

The work of caring for one another is disproportionately shouldered by women. While the labor of caring for children, the elderly and people with disabilities is often unpaid, professions of childcare and home healthcare are among the lowest paid in Oregon. Single mothers and caregivers are over three times more likely to experience hunger than the general population. As governor, what will you do to ensure that the people providing care in our communities do not experience food insecurity?

Answer

  • Raise minimum wage to $15 an hour (giving caregivers hazard pay for working with at health risk patients)

  • Expand Oregon Health Plan to all especially our caregivers capping premiums/expenditures

  • Expand food bank/assistance programs footprint to cover all of Oregon ensuring access to healthy food

  • Cap rents to 30% of income

Hear from each candidate

Read everything the candidates had to say on anti-hunger policies by clicking on their photo below.

* Questions were sent to candidates who will appear on the primary ballot. We will be sending questions to other independent candidates who qualify for the ballot in the November general election and provide their full answers at that time.

Michael Cross

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