Home | Menu | Sign Up | Donate

Mark's Priorities

"Principles Over Politics"

Restoring Education Funding

My highest priority for the 2019 legislative session is restoring funding to the education system. The future of Oregon’s economy and welfare depends on the education the upcoming generation receives. I want all Oregon kids to have the same opportunities my generation had. In order to make this happen the school system needs stable funding. Stable funding means more than just increasing the percent of the general fund that schools receive next year, though that’s a good start. It also means reforming the tax structure so school districts can plan ahead. As the Chair of the Senate Revenue Committee and member of the Education Committee, I am uniquely positioned to make these goals reality.

Strengthening Early Education

“Yes, the K in K-12 is the most important year on this spectrum, academically.” –Mark Hass carrying full-day kindergarten to passage on the Senate floor

I believe that for students to be successful in both school and life they need strong foundations. In 2011, I authored Senate Bill 248, which requires elementary schools across Oregon to offer full-day kindergarten starting in the fall of 2014. This will ensure that kids are given a strong start. But this is only the beginning; students also need continuity. I am committed to continuing educational reforms and working toward a seamless system that helps us reach our 40-40-20 goal.

Achieving Higher Education

“Higher education may be the key to success in this state, to higher incomes, to higher learning, to a stronger workforce.” –Mark Hass carrying Senate Bill 242 to passage on the Senate floor

A college degree has become close to a necessity for entering the workforce and makes the single biggest difference in the amount one can expect to earn in one’s lifetime. There are very few households in poverty who are headed by someone with a college degree. It is therefore crucial that we make Oregon’s universities accessible to all Oregon students. This means making sure students are prepared for college by the time they finish high school, and that they can afford to attend. In 2011, I authored Senate Bill 242, which gave Oregon’s universities greater flexibility and in return set expectations for higher results. I followed that up by authoring Senate Bill 81, which allows graduates from Oregon high schools to attend community college for free.

In order for Oregon succeed in the future, we need to first graduate more of our students from high school and then have them go on to higher education. The new flexibility given to Oregon's universities and the increased access to community college will help.

Stimulating Economic Development

“Mark is the first person I call in Salem when Beaverton needs help.” –Denny Doyle, Mayor of Beaverton

I believe that stable economic development depends on people finding not only jobs, but good jobs—living wage jobs with health benefits. This is why I feel so strongly that Beaverton will benefit from an enterprise zone. This year I was proud to carry House Bill 4093 on the Senate floor. It passed and Beaverton was recently approved for one of the new enterprise zones that HB 4093 authorized. Beaverton will now be able to offer businesses property tax abatement in exchange for significant investment and job creation.

While new legislation to encourage economic growth is good, I also feel that it is important to create actual results in our community. This is why in May 2011 I was excited to host a job fair in Beaverton. This job fair attracted more than 500 participants and 24 employers, and helped many people find full-time employment.

Defending Our Environment

I grew up in an Oregon where the natural beauty of the state defined who we were and was something to be proud of. I want to protect our natural resources so that my kids and grandkids can also enjoy them. In 2011 the Oregon League of Conservation Voters recognized me as a notable leader and awarded me with their Perseverance Award for my ongoing work to fight pollution and keep Oregon kids safe from toxins. In addition, I was proud to be a chief sponsor House Bill 3145, which revamped Oregon’s famed bottle bill and was recognized by environmentalists as the biggest accomplishment of the 2011 Legislative Session.

Serving Our Veterans

It is important to serve those who have sacrificed themselves for us. In 2008, during my first legislative session as a State Senator, I authored Senate Bill 1066, which provides tuition waivers to Oregon’s universities to the dependents and spouses of deceased and disabled soldiers. Then, in 2012 I introduced Senate Bill 1563, which broadened the tuition waivers to include community colleges. These are small things that our state and universities can do to make a big difference in the lives of those who have given everything.

Advocating for Seniors

“Mark has been a true leader for seniors when it counted. He is responsible for making elder abuse laws in Oregon as strong as they are.” –Dr. Jim Davis, Oregon State Council for Retired Citizens

I believe that every senior has the right to live free from the fear of abuse. Since 2003 I have worked closely with senior groups to strengthen Oregon’s elder abuse laws. This work has continued all the way through the most recent 2012 Legislative Session. I was proud to sponsor House Bill 4084, which increased the statute of limitations for crimes against seniors and gave police more leverage for investigating elder abuse claims.

Keeping Oregon Healthy

All Oregonians deserve to have quality, affordable healthcare. I have been proud to support the historic healthcare reforms of the last two legislative sessions. These bills are implementing a model called for by the Affordable Care Act by establishing coordinated care organizations across the state. These CCOs will make affordable healthcare accessible to all Oregonians while simultaneously saving the state money.

In addition to my legislative support for healthcare reform, I serve on the board of the Northwest Health Foundation, a Portland-based foundation that provides grants and assistance to healthcare projects across the region.

Meet Mark Hass

Mark Hass is an Oregon State Senator from Washington County and Southwest Portland. His priority in the legislature has been the elusive goal of reforming Oregon's tax structure so that it is less volatile and more stable. He is best known as a leader in education policy, authoring Oregon's full day kindergarten bills and the landmark Oregon Promise law (2015), which provides students with up to two years of free community college tuition. Read more.

Connect with Mark

Latest News

The Oregonian: Oregon's higher-ed spending pays off for students and taxpayers June 15, 2018 The Oregonian: As economic expansion pushes into its ninth year in Oregon, state reserves grow May 31, 2018 Bend Bulletin: Oregon Keeps its Promise to High School Graduates May 2, 2018

See all news and updates.