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Hunger on the ballot: What Dr. Julian Bell 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 is responsible for the health of the people of the state, and nutrition is a major health issue. The Governor has a responsibility to address or eliminate hunger if it is within their powers.

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. No doubt there is a component of plain racism, but I think the problems might be better characterized as a mismatch between different BIPOC cultures and corporate American culture.
  2. Greater focus on addressing social determinants of health, including nutritional literacy.
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

Greater focus on affordable health care and housing I think will relieve pressure on household budgets and make it easier to afford food.

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

I'm not familiar enough with designing solutions in any single area to know how to list the differences between designs for multiple areas.

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

This seems to be a problem of basic economics. Good land is the least available resource of land, labor and capital. Many wars are fought over the issue of access to farmland or any land at all, which is not to say that it isn't a valid concern, more that it is not an easy problem to solve.

  1. [No answer]
  2. If there are barriers that can be removed, then I would be happy to help with this project.
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 think the state of Oregon will have to invest in affordable housing. The housing marketplace has no rationale for building affordable housing when it can build unaffordable housing for a much greater return on investment. The people who need affordable housing (voters) are for the most part disenfranchised as individuals but have the potential to organize and advocate for their goals - in the form of elected leaders, for example the Governor of the state, who would at least potentially, if elected by these affordable housing advocates, invest public (voter) money in this very important public service.

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

My main strategies would be to decrease the cost of health care (through standardizing insurance via regulation, and standardizing the cost of health care delivery through free market mechanisms - leading to a quasi-single payer health care system which would be much less expensive than our current system), and decreasing the cost of housing, as described above.

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.

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