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Hunger on the Ballot: Inclusive, Healthy Democracy

Many of the drivers of hunger are addressed through public policy — from government investment in emergency food assistance to the systems that exclude too many of us from essential services and safety nets.

The issues we advance through the legislature and ballot initiatives have a huge impact on our fight to end hunger — and there’s no one better to name solutions than those of us who have experienced food insecurity first-hand. Our Policy Leadership Council is made up entirely of community leaders from rural, urban and suburban communities across the state who draw on lived and professional expertise to determine the best pathways to address food insecurity at its roots.

With the Council’s leadership, we’re shortening the distance between people who experience food insecurity and the decisions that affect us. And the push for a more inclusive and healthy democracy — a system that works for all of us — is among the local ballot initiatives we’re prioritizing this fall.

We can’t end hunger without an inclusive, healthy democracy

At Oregon Food Bank, we know we cannot achieve our mission to eliminate hunger and its root causes without an inclusive democracy that works for all of us. The systemic inequities that drive hunger and poverty are the same inequities that keep voters from the polls and silence our voices in the halls of power — and we need meaningful change to ensure more inclusive, healthy decision-making processes in our communities.

Whether through paralyzing walkouts or outright violence, anti-democratic tactics jeopardize our shared vision and the well-being of millions of Oregonians. From the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to significant anti-democratic action here in Salem and Olympia, there have been steady reminders to all of us in recent years that we must work actively to protect and improve our democratic institutions.

We know Oregon is stronger when we welcome and celebrate the breadth and diversity of our communities. And together, we’re building an Oregon where all of our neighbors can live with dignity and respect — regardless of citizenship status, country of origin, how we worship, or our race, sexual orientation or gender identity. Fortunately, there are several local initiatives on the November ballot that offer the chance to make meaningful progress through improved government transparency and accountability, more effective representation and bringing more diverse community voices in the decisions that impact us.

To move toward an equitable future where no one in our communities knows hunger, we need more effective, representative government. Vote YES on these local measures for a more inclusive, healthy democracy!

Vote YES for a more transparent, inclusive government in Multnomah County

Reform of the Multnomah County Charter will make local government more responsive, accountable and transparent. Community safety and well-being will be prioritized. And thousands more county residents will finally have a direct say in the decisions that affect us.

Among several key reforms to the Multnomah County Charter, the measures will:

  • Remove gender-based exclusionary language from the County Charter (Measure 26-230)

  • Extend voting rights to more local residents who are affected by county policies, including those who hold visas (Measure 26-231)

  • Allow voters to rank candidates in order of preference, helping to ensure those with the broadest community support win (Measure 26-232)

  • Increase health and safety inspections of county jails and facilities, with regular public reports on findings and recommendations (Measure 26-233)

  • Create a county ombudsperson’s office to hold government accountable to the people — paired with timely delivery of public records (Measure 26-234)

  • Improve transparency through more timely, unrestricted reviews of county operations, align with companies and organizations receiving taxpayer funding (Measure 26-235)

  • Deepens community involvement in future Charter reviews through geographic representation and extended time for input (Measure 26-236)

Vote YES for meaningful reform in Portland

Following 18 months of community input and vetting, the combined Measure 26-228 will bring meaningful, comprehensive change to the Portland City Charter — making city government more accountable and responsive to community needs. The reform package will enable more effective city services and offer greater choice in who represents our communities on key issues.

Among several key reforms to the Portland City Charter, this measure will:

  • Create district-based representation with an expanded City Council

  • Establish a Mayor-Council government structure

  • Add professional management of city departments

  • Allow voters to rank candidates in order of their preference

Hunger on the Ballot

These measures aren’t the only ballot priorities that directly affect hunger and poverty in our communities. Legislators pass laws that impact our families’ ability to put food on the table. Governors set budget priorities that determine whether or not our food assistance network has the resources we need. And depending on where you live, you may see initiatives on racial justice, community safety, access to the ballot and more — all tied to food insecurity.

So whether or not you’re able to vote in Oregon, please sign the pledge to address hunger on the ballot this fall. Together we can end hunger at its roots!

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