John Q: The new U.S. representative from Oregon’s 4th District speaks at the Springfield City Club. She praised the students at Reedsport High School. On March 16, Val Hoyle:
[00:00:10] Rep. Val Hoyle: And then we’ve been going all over the district to Lincoln County. We’ve spent a good amount of time there. And then Benton County and Lincoln County, we were just down in Coos County. Everywhere I go, I speak to high school students, and I have got to say the Reedsport students had the best and hardest questions of anyone, anywhere that I’ve appeared, including my campaign debates. They were amazing.
[00:00:32] John Q: Reedsport educator Keith Tymchuk connected us with Gracey, Gesme, Matthew, and Diego, juniors and seniors in Bailey Brown’s U.S. history and civics classes.
[00:00:42] Matthew Santos: I’m Matthew Santos. I think it was really interesting to have someone of that position in just as small as the town as Reedsport is, because around here, there aren’t a lot of large political figures because it is just a small town. And to have the opportunity to ask her a lot of educated questions and for her to answer with such detail was really interesting.
[00:01:12] Gesme Kramer: My name’s Gesme Kramer. I know a lot of kids that were very surprised ’cause when we heard, you know, that she’s a Democrat, we come from a fairly Republican place…and, yeah, I think we had some really good questions.
[00:01:25] Gracey Janiszewski: I’m Gracey Janiszewski. We came up with all the questions and Mr. Tymchuk came in and he just kind of told us how to ask them to her in, like, an appropriate way.
[00:01:36] Diego Diaz-Trujillo: And I am Diego Diaz-Trujillo. The way I did it is, I think to myself: What if I was her? What question do I want to answer? How am I going to do this respectfully? Not like a ‘gotcha’ question, but at the same time, you know, something that can bring out a good answer.
[00:01:51] The way she answered was so well-spoken, well-done, and she made both sides happy and that’s really hard. She would not beat around the bush at all. And that was why I think the way she did was just phenomenal.
[00:02:06] And the questions we asked were gun control and transgender sports and bathroom policies. There were the big ones.
[00:02:13] She say, I don’t think it should be the government that should step in. I think it should be small government. I think it should be community to community to decide, it’s up to you and only you as a community. And I really like that because it’s small government.
[00:02:28] And she did the same thing with transgender bathrooms. She said, ‘We need more gender-neutral bathrooms,’ and ‘Whatever make them feel comfortable.’ And also, ‘It’s up to the community at the end of the day,’ she was saying.
[00:02:38] Gesme Kramer: Like Diego said, it’s really up to the communities and the families in the communities, what is a problem/what isn’t a problem, and that the government, they don’t know what’s happening in Reedsport as Reedsport citizens do.
[00:02:51] We asked her about her opinion on abortions and about transgenders in bathrooms and in sports, what her opinion was.
[00:02:58] And to find that we actually shared a lot of views, about Measure 114. She’s also a gun owner, like me. My parents are gun owners, so we from a very, very young age are taught: Do not mess with guns. Do not ever play with them. Unload them before you put them away. Take care of them. And, you know, we go through Hunter Safety (classes), like, we know how to properly handle a gun and how to handle it safely.
[00:03:22] Yeah. She said that she thought that the measure (114) takes away from our Second Amendment and violates it, in a way.
[00:03:30] John Q: Discussing Rep. Val Hoyle’s visit to Reedsport:
[00:03:35] Diego Diaz-Trujillo: She said that most people that make the rules or the laws, they aren’t gun owners or they never experienced a situation where you need a gun or a firearm. And she said, people here in the local community, most of them carry, and like her, she carries, and she understands that rural gun owners are responsible people and they know what they’re doing for the most part, and that they really don’t need other people that never even maybe touched a gun in their life to make measures that don’t even make sense for the most part.
[00:04:03] John Q: Reedsport teacher Bailey Brown.
[00:04:05] Bailey Brown: And I think to add on to that, she had definitely mentioned that absolutely there needs to be hoops that you have to jump through in order to get those firearms. We should be doing background checks and the red-flag checks. But in the end, that yes, we have a Second Amendment right to own a firearm if we do so choose.
[00:04:25] Along with that, she did touch quite a bit on mental health and a goal of hers was to provide more mental health help to those who need it. And, maybe in doing so, people don’t resort to using firearms irresponsibly.
[00:04:43] John Q: Gracey asked about teaching critical race theory in schools.
[00:04:47] Gracey Janiszewski: The way she answered it, she kind of made me think too about it. And she, she went straight to it. She didn’t try to avoid the question or anything, because I know it can be like a difficult question to ask. And yeah, she made me think. I know she made a couple of the other kids in the audience think too, and it was really great. It was really great.
[00:05:04] John Q: We asked what stood out about the experience.
[00:05:08] Gesme Kramer: It was really nice to see that she wasn’t pressuring people to go into college, ’cause a lot of the guys here don’t want to go to college. They want to get a blue-collar job, apprenticeship, enter the workforce straight out of high school, getting paid to learn. So it was nice to see someone with a big name also get that, you know: College isn’t for everybody. She supported that and not the only way to succeed is through college.
[00:05:33] Gracey Janiszewski: She was really pushing for the port in Coos Bay. And she was talking about how that would help bring a lot of jobs to the area, like good high-paying jobs that we need.
[00:05:46] Matthew Santos: It was really almost a surreal experience for a lot of us that didn’t know that something that could boost our economy and add so many more jobs and things like that was happening almost right next-door to us. And then the person that’s striving for it the most was able to tell us about it herself.
[00:06:11] I really enjoyed the idea of the cleaner energy at the port in Coos Bay, as it could probably bring back, in the future, another economic boom like it was when the lumber mills were open. Because after the lumber mills closed, things were pretty rough in the economy around here.
[00:06:30] And who knows, maybe 10 or 20, 30 years into the future, we can have a large economic area like we did when the lumber mills were open…
[00:06:40] If I remember correctly, she said, she came from a large family and was the only one who graduated (from college). And from that position to become a part of Congress and a part of our government, it really opens the eyes of a lot of people in a similar situation. Anybody can become a person of power in our government.
[00:07:03] Diego Diaz-Trujillo: Someone from Washington D.C., that big, even though she’s at this high point of her life, she still remembers her roots and she still is humble about it and remembers the little guys like us, like our cultural area, our area of a small community, that someone big like that is supporting us. And that’s what I love about it, is that she did not forget where she was from—a small community, and she remembered to help us.
[00:07:32] Like, for example, get more jobs for us and make the economy better for us because those are a big problem right now and we need help with that. And I’m just happy someone big like that is there to help.
[00:07:42] Bailey Brown: And we just really appreciate that she took time out of her busy schedule and to come and chat with us and give us her straight-up answers. So thank you to Val Hoyle and we hope that she’ll come back again and we can ask some more tough questions.
[00:07:58] John Q: Val Hoyle visits Reedsport and praises Bailey Brown’s students. Alerted by the students to the Port of Coos Bay on March 23, we started following HB 3382. On March 24, from the Department of Land Conservation and Development, an update from Alexis Biddle:
[00:08:16] Alexis Biddle: HB 3382 exempts ports from demonstrating land use compliance. The Port of Coos Bay is looking at building a large container facility. The Jordan Cove pipeline litigation…they found that Goal 16 basically makes it very challenging for ports to dredge beyond their existing channels, and they would need to expand the channels for these shipping container facilities. And so we’re working with the bill drafters to change that from an outright exemption to more of like a conditional use …to allow this facility. We’re trying to create a path that would work.
John Q: At the Springfield City Club March 16th, Congresswoman Val Hoyle.
Rep. Val Hoyle: We lost what, 11,000 jobs with the timber industry, right, and have really struggled to bring something in that actually can replace those good-paying jobs. ‘Cause tourism and those type of jobs don’t have the same kind of income benefits that we used to have in the timber industry with the mills.
The Coos Bay container port would create about 9,000 jobs. And these are good-paying permanent jobs… And it’s the right thing for the South Coast where these are good people that want good jobs, that want to have their kids to be able to stay, as opposed to having to leave to go, you know, be able to work and live and succeed elsewhere.
So as I tell people, it’s my number one, two, and three priority because it means so much to this community.
John Q: She said she’ll take every opportunity to promote Coos Bay. Speaking in Springfield March 16, Val Hoyle.
Rep. Val Hoyle: We had a photo op with the president and the vice president and I walked up and I said, ‘Mr. President.’ He said ‘Val!’ Because they told him my name. He doesn’t (laughter) know who I am out of a crowd. So he said “Val!” I said, “Sir, I want to thank you for your support of the Coos Bay Port.’ And he said, ‘I love the Coos Bay port!’ And I said, ‘I know, ‘cause in Portland you said you were going to support it, but we didn’t get the grant. So I really need the investment in this community and we all need it.’
And he leans over and he says to (Vice President) Kamala Harris, he said, ‘Coos Bay port. That’s in Oregon.’ And she said, ‘I know where it is.’ So that was like, it was a photo op, but that was an opportunity.
John Q: State legislators work to bring jobs to the coast, while Val Hoyle champions the project back in Washington D.C. (With thanks to Mr. Tymchuk)