Rep. Schrader answers questions at town hall in Salem

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Washington, March 10, 2015 | comments

Community members gathered at the Salem Public Library Loucks Auditorium Tuesday evening to voice their concerns to Rep. Kurt Schrader at a town hall meeting.

What was on the public's mind? Education and Trans-Pacific Partnerships.

By: Alexa Armstrong

Community members expressed education concerns about how Oregon is competing globally and how the state accommodates students whose first language is not English.

"We live in a world where education is becoming more and more important to getting a better job," Schrader said. "I'm very worried with our state's education system in the grades we've been getting."

He hopes to improve Oregon's education system at the federal level by encouraging early education, increasing funding for Head Start programs and addressing the standards of education, enabling Oregon students to compete better globally.

Financial concerns were also addressed on behalf of higher education students. Schrader wants to make sure Pell Grants are available for students and he wants to ensure students who want to pursue a trade at a community college can hack it financially.

Community members were curious about where Schrader stood on the Trans-Pacific Partnerships.

The partnership is a proposed regulatory and investment treaty that would facilitate trade between American and the Asia Pacific.

He outlined a few requirements that would have to be included in the agreement in order for him to vote in favor of the partnership.

"It's going to have to be an agreement that makes it so that we are actually exporting more and not importing more," Schrader said.

He said that labor standards would need to be closely looked at.

Additionally, on the manufacturing scene, Schrader wants to ensure that the U.S. could compete fairly with other countries.

Other issues addressed at the meeting included concerns about the Keystone Pipeline, tax breaks and U.S. mail delivery services.

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