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Secretary of state to lawmakers: Focus on key issues


Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins released a report Thursday focusing on three key sectors of state government that pose critical challenges to Oregon’s progress, and urged lawmakers working to finish their session to focus on those issues.

“Oregonians need our state to have strong education, infrastructure and finance systems, so we can continue to make economic progress,” Atkins said.

The report was informed by multiple audits conducted by the secretary of state’s office. Atkins, who took office in March as Kate Brown became governor, looked to auditors to put a fresh set of eyes on several years’ worth of auditing to find common themes to help lawmakers and government leaders take Oregon toward greater prosperity.

The three areas are:

Educating Oregon’s Workforce : Oregon must have an education system organized for student success and ensuring that young Oregonians are prepared to enter the workforce. Audits have made multiple recommendations on how Oregon might better educate and train its workforce.

Developing Oregon’s Infrastructure : Oregon faces critical infrastructure needs, including the need to upgrade state information technology systems and to develop stable mechanisms for funding and managing future transportation projects. Audits have identified strategies to address these critical infrastructure needs.

Strengthening Oregon’s Finances : Governments in Oregon face challenging financing issues. Audits have highlighted the financial strain faced by struggling counties and recommended ways to collect more debt owed to the state and build sustainable finances for state government.

The report highlights these challenges because they affect important fundamental roles of state government — workforce education, infrastructure and finances.

The challenges are large and difficult, Atkins noted.

While audits have found some progress and small successes, these critical government sectors need more attention and committed efforts from state leaders.

At this point in the legislative session, she said, we want to remind state leaders of the work that has been done to identify where priority action is needed. More challenges exist and future audits will make additional recommendations to help address those challenges.

Read the report here.

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