Candidate for US House of Representatives – District 4
Question One – People with lived experience of mental illness, addiction, alcoholism, and or trauma are under-represented in public office. What is your personal experience with these illnesses?
My mother committed suicide when I was 12, my half-brother has schizophrenia and I am his most proximal relative, my nephew has autism, and three of my closest friends struggle with alcoholism. My life has been impacted since I can remember, and I know that our services are shockingly insufficient to care for people who have these struggles.
Question Two – Oregon ranks at the bottom of states in a well-regarded national survey of access to public treatment services for mental illness, addiction and alcoholism. What can you in office do to change this?
Work every day to get the resources in place so that the homeless, who are mostly suffering from mental illness and drug abuse, are cared for, with shelter, food, and services. As a nation we are spending $1,700,000,000,000 ($1.7 Trillion) on the F-35 fighter program. We have the funds to have excellent mental health care. This is unconscionable in the face of the human suffering in our state and country.
Question Three – In that same national survey, Oregon ranks at the top for prevalence of mental illness, addiction and alcoholism. What can you in office do to change this?
Same as above, noting that even with nearly no support that 70% of opioid addicts recover. We can save literally millions of lives by providing open-door access to wholistic, professional treatment for drug use and mental illness.
Question Four – A natural consequence of lack of access to treatments and high prevalence of mental illness, addiction and alcoholism is chronic homelessness. Why isn’t Portland’s strategy to reduce homelessness working and what could you do in office to change that?
We can’t go cheap on this, but rather must respond to the need. 1. Being homeless makes people crazy. 2. Being hopeless sends people to drugs. That’s right: we provide free housing, free treatment, and placement in long-term care for those unable to care for themselves. We need to do this at a state, and moreover nation, scale– leaving it to towns and cities disincentivizes response as people think they will attract further need.
Question Five – In 2015 the US DOJ found the Portland Police Bureau has a pattern and practice of harming people with mental illness. There’s little data to show that pattern and practice has changed, and no data to show other metro area police bureaus are any different. How would you in office engage with this problem?
We need a model like CAHOOTS – my brother lived in Eugene, and CAHOOTS worked for him when he had mental breakdowns. He is terrified of the police, but accepted help from CAHOOTS. Police should not be the first responders to homelessness, drug use, mental health crises.