There will no doubt be a time that everyone will experience hardship. There will be a time in everyone’s life when they will need help in some form. The individualistic nature of the United States boasts self-reliance and being able to pull oneself up by their own boot straps in times of trial. This way of thinking is detrimental to families. Families need help sometimes, too.

Families are important and valued in the United States. The Pew Research Center reports that 94% of citizens in the United States view families as important. It is not uncommon to hear politicians speak highly of and prioritize the importance of families in their campaigns. So, if families are important and valued, why does the United States have no comprehensive policy about paid family and medical leave?

Oregon has the exciting opportunity to adopt a family-oriented policy with HB 3031. This policy would create family and medical leave insurance to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of paid family, military or medical leave, and 26 weeks of maternal/paternal leave. I believe this policy would positively impact families, as it aims to protect, promote, and strengthen them by supporting family function. Families are a fundamental foundation for generating productive workers, and raising caring, committed citizens.

Families in the United States are important and provide invaluable services that contribute to the well-being of society, and I believe this policy will appropriately support them.

Kelli Brown

Albany (May 13)

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