‘Buy Oregon’ program supports small businesses

Alan Bates

Sen. Alan Bates

When I have the opportunity for a conversation with my neighbors, or to chat with patients in my medical practice, I often ask them about their priorities. A common theme emerges: Getting Southern Oregon back to work. We can do that by supporting small businesses right here in Southern Oregon.

With job creation top of mind, I was proud to vote last week to build on our state’s “Buy Oregon” law. “Buy Oregon” was voted into law in 2009, allowing agencies to buy agricultural products produced and transported entirely within Oregon as long as the Oregon product costs no more than 10 percent above the lowest bid.

Last week’s bill — which passed with bipartisan support — improves transparency into how much our state spends on those types of contracts, in support of Oregon-made goods and services. Its goal is to highlight the state’s role in developing and growing our local supply chains, which ultimately helps create local jobs and revitalize Oregon’s economy.

We’re taking steps in the right direction toward economic growth, and as our economy slowly recovers, I’ve been a staunch advocate of initiatives that will bring more good jobs and small businesses to Southern Oregon. Proposals being considered in the legislature today would further streamline the process for businesses using enterprise zones, provide additional resources for attracting businesses to our state, and reduce the burden of insurance costs for our small businesses. We’re also building a skilled workforce by encouraging career and technical education grants for Oregon’s universities.

Working across party lines, our Southern Oregon delegation in Salem sent a letter in support of creating an e-commerce zone in our area, and I personally met with Business Oregon. The e-commerce zone was implemented shortly afterward. E-commerce companies have already created many living wage jobs in Jackson County and are getting people back to work, and creating this zone will continue to bring jobs to our county.

Supporting local businesses helps Oregon’s economy and creates jobs, plain and simple. While there is still work to do, expanding “Buy Oregon” and passing many of the other small business-friendly bills this session will help businesses grow and thrive in our community. Let’s get Oregon back to work.

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