Oregon House Republicans elect Mark Owens as deputy leader

Committed to ‘all sides of the aisle’
Argus Observer | September 27, 2023

SALEM — Oregon Rep. Mark Owens, R-Crane, has been elected by his colleagues to serve as House Republican Deputy Leader. Owens has represented House District 60 in the Oregon Legislature since January 2020.

“It is an honor to have the trust of my colleagues to serve in this leadership role, and it is a responsibility I take very seriously,’ said Owens in an email on Wednesday. “There is a lot of work to do to find common ground and consensus, but I know it can be done. By working together and prioritizing strong, smart policy over partisan, divisive politics, we can move our state forward towards a better future. I am committed to working with my colleagues on all sides of the aisle and in both chambers to ensure Oregonians have a voice in their legislature.”

During the interim, Owens is serving on several committees.

Owens is an alfalfa farmer, small business owner, Crane School Board Member, and former Harney County Commissioner. House District 60 includes all of Baker, Grant, Harney, Lake and Malheur counties, and a portion of Deschutes County.

Representative Mark Owens Elected as Oregon House Republican Deputy Leader


REPRESENTATIVE MARK OWENS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 27, 2023

CONTACT
Rep. Mark Owens (541) 589-2379

Representative Mark Owens Elected as
Oregon House Republican Deputy Leader

SALEM—Representative Mark Owens (R-Crane) has been elected by his colleagues to serve as House Republican Deputy Leader. Owens has represented House District 60 in the Oregon Legislature since January 2020.

“It is an honor to have the trust of my colleagues to serve in this leadership role, and it is a responsibility I take very seriously,’ said Representative Owens. “There is a lot of work to do to find common ground and consensus, but I know it can be done. By working together and prioritizing strong, smart policy over partisan, divisive politics, we can move our state forward towards a better future. I am committed to working with my colleagues on all sides of the aisle and in both chambers to ensure Oregonians have a voice in their legislature.”

During the interim, Rep. Owens is Vice-Chair of the House Interim Committee On Agriculture, Land Use, Natural Resources, and Water. He also serves on the Joint Interim Committee On Ways and Means, Joint Interim Committee On Ways and Means Subcommittee On Natural Resources, Joint Emergency Board, House Interim Committee On Business and Labor, and on the House Interim Committee On Climate, Energy, and Environment, and as an alternate on the House Interim Committee on Conduct and the Joint Committee On Conduct.

Rep. Owens is an alfalfa farmer, small business owner, Crane School Board Member, and former Harney County Commissioner. House District 60 includes all of Baker, Grant, Harney, Lake and Malheur Counties, and a portion of Deschutes County.

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Learn more about Rep. Owens here.
A photograph of Rep. Owens can be found here. 

Only two House bills in the Oregon Legislature would address COVID-19’s impact on education

OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS
For Immediate Release
Date: April 2, 2021
Contact: Andrew Fromm
Email: andrew.fromm@oregonlegislature.gov

Of more than 100 bills in the House Committee on Education, legislation from Rep. Owens and Rep. Alonso León is one of only two bills related to COVID-19’s negative impact on K-12 education

SALEM, Ore. – Despite the enormous disruption COVID-19 has had on Oregon’s education system, only two bills in the House Committee on Education address the negative effects of COVID-19 on students.

Representative Mark Owens (R-Crane) and Representative Teresa Alonso León (D- Woodburn) are chief sponsors of HB 2962, which would direct a formal evaluation of students’ education needs resulting from COVID-19 closures, a step towards identifying how students can recover from gaps in learning.

“It is critical we identify and address the serious gap in education our students have experienced during the last 12 months because of COVID-19 and government-mandated stay-at-home orders,” said Rep. Owens, who also serves as a member of the Crane School Board. “There is much more we should be doing as lawmakers to address this critical issue for Oregon students, and it is great to see the bipartisan support for this proposal that will hopefully lead to others.”

“We should not be hiding from the truth that virtual learning has seriously harmed our kids’ educational development,” added House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby.) “After Oregon’s education officials announced plans to abandon standardized testing that would measure learning gaps, we need proposals like this more than ever.”

Negative academic effects from distance learning still have not been adequately measured in Oregon, and plans to do so have been delayed.

Even 2020 high school graduation rates are misleading since the Oregon Department of Education drastically altered its graduation standards. As recently as 2017, Oregon had the second-worst graduation rate in the country. The full impact of virtual learning on graduation rates is still not clear.

Miguel Cardona, the Secretary of Education selected by President Joe Biden, affirmed the need for evaluations nationwide when saying that student data obtained from standardized tests is important to help education officials create policy and target resources where they are most needed. “We have to make sure we laser-focused on addressing inequities that have existed for years. … Every bit of data helps,” added Cardona during a legislative conference.

Oregon remains the second to last state for reopened schools according to a tracker from Burbio, a website that aggregates school government, library and community event information and consists of more than 80,000 K-12 school calendars from all fifty states.

Numerous studies have been conducted which indicate a correlation between native mental health impacts for children due to closed schools:

“Beginning in April 2020 the proportion of children’s mental health-related ED visits among all pediatric ED visits increased and remained elevated through October. Compared with 2019, the proportion of mental health-related visits for children aged 5-11 and 12-17 years increased 24 percent and 31 percent respectively.” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 13, 2020.

Additionally, most states in the country have been reopening after a variety of studies point to safe conditions that would allow willing students to attend school in-person with minimal COVID-19 risks:

The CDC guidance, under President Biden, recommends that schools can reopen with successfully implemented mitigation strategies.

“Our data indicate that schools can reopen safely if they develop and adhere to specific SARS-CoV-2 prevention policies.” – American Academy of Pediatrics, January 6, 2021.

“…we see no indication that in-person school reopenings have increased COVID-19 hospitalizations in the counties below 36-44 new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 per week. Neither the levels nor the trends change in any direction when schools open in [counties below 36-44 new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 per week], even as far as 6 weeks after schools reopened. In fact, we often see precise estimates suggesting declines in hospitalizations in these low-baseline COVID-19 counties…” – National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice (REACH), Tulane University, January 4, 2021.

HB 3350 is a second bill that addresses COVID-19’s impact on education.

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