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Hunger on the ballot: What Tim McCloud 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

When zoning development establishes access to non-local, low-quality foods which are often transported from distances outside of our state, this encourages an outdated, non-climate friendly method of food choice. As Governor, I will address food disparities throughout our communities that in part, play a role in limited access to local and healthy food options, and lower life expectancies. Every Oregonian deserves and requires access to nutritious and ethnically desirable quality foods. Supporting resources and policies that help Oregonians grow their own food is essential; subsidization that supports urban agriculture and cultivating partnerships between rural and urban communities, is what will allow greater food access and choice for Oregonians.

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. Historically, neighborhood zoning has impacted the way lower income communities- including People of Color- have access to food and critical services. Regarding areas with higher rates of poverty, the impact of neighborhood zoning development plays a significant role in helping to cause hunger; with consideration and planning for the needs and cultures of others as an afterthought. For instance, grocery stores and other healthy food-related businesses are less likely to be developed in areas of lower income. This often also means restrictions on urban backyard food-growing opportunities through local laws that make growing locally an even greater challenge.
  2. As Governor, I will support policies that encourage new partnerships with organizations and agencies that provide community wrap around services, such as trained volunteers for programs that can coordinate delivery of culturally appropriate foods, offer childcare, provide jobs training, and support mental health. In conjunction with providing tangible food items, I will also support programs that provide long-term results, reduce food waste, and promote food insecurity prevention strategies.
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

As Governor, I will strengthen and protect our local economy by supporting new farming opportunities and pathways. I will work with our local farm groups to find ways to cut product costs in ways that benefit Oregonians. I will work with local communities to open more farmers markets throughout our state and ensure that access to food is increasing at the local levels. I will work with our agricultural industry on environmental policies that allow for traditional methods of field management, according to seasonal practices. And as governor, I will ensure that our SNAP program continues to act as a safety net that allows growers to feed their families.

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

Recognizing the connections between Oregon’s rural, urban, and suburban communities is essential in building sustainable systems that address poverty and hunger. As Governor, I will ensure that Oregonian’s access to hunting and fishing is not affected by policies that seek to eliminate the ability for individuals to live off our lands in a sustainable way. I will advocate for programs that educate the public on issues like urban gardening and increase direct-to-market access between farmers and communities. And as Governor, I will support programs that continue to promote food delivery to seniors and individuals with disabilities, that increase community gardening programs at locations including schools, hospitals, and health centers, and provide consistent access to culturally appropriate foods for Oregon’s diversity of cultures.

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. As Governor I will support farmers that seek to grow foods that are appropriate to their dietary needs and will move against barriers that prevent Oregonians from accessing healthy, low-cost foods, or that create food security. Farming is one of our state’s most important industries and agriculture is a driver of our community’s health and economy.

  2. As Governor, I will expand access to community supported agriculture for millions of Oregonians through expansion of community supported agriculture, farmers markets, and direct farm sales. I will also expand access to student gardening education and increased access to nutritious foods in vulnerable communities.

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

Before and during economic and housing crisis, Oregonians need access to various types of assistance that may include food, medical care, and transitional housing. Oregon is a decade behind on the issues of housing and homelessness, and they are still many of the same issues that pushed my own family out of a home many years ago; even though I was running a small business, attending school online, and raising a young family. Today, it is still the same reality for many of the people on our streets. However, other causes of homelessness today are often complex and at times, will need to be addressed even before housing. As Governor I will work with various organizations to develop more quality and affordable housing throughout Oregon. While housing development is underway, I will also support better community-supported programs and planning to care for young homeless children and their families.

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

As Governor, I will encourage increasing access to lower cost locally grown foods, and programs that support local growers. I will work with communities to increase access to farmers markets throughout our state and ensure that access to healthy foods is available throughout Oregon.

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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