State’s leading small business group endorses Betsy Close for Senate

Albany, OR – Oregon’s leading small business advocacy group, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, has endorsed Betsy Close (R-Albany/Corvallis) in the race for Senate District 8. The group believes Close will be the strongest advocate for family wage jobs and a healthy business climate.

“Giving small businesses the tools and environment they need to succeed is the best way to create high wage jobs for Oregon families,” said Close. “While regulation and taxes choke out opportunity for Oregon families, I hope to empower entrepreneurs so our community can thrive. I am honored by the support of small businesses, and will continue to work hard on their behalf in the state legislature.”

Close has a track record of support for small businesses. She has been a staunch opponent of new tax increases, and wants to give small businesses the same lower tax rates made available to big corporations. Close has championed public and private partnerships between counties and local employers to help train youth entering the workforce for the first time.

“Betsy Close has proven her willingness and ability to fight for small businesses in Salem,” said Jan Meekcoms, Oregon State Director for NFIB. “Her efforts, and most importantly her voting record, show that she understands the importance of small businesses to our state economy.”

The National Federation of Independent Business is the leading small business association representing small and independent businesses. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of their members to own, operate and grow their businesses.

Starting in 1999, Close served for six years as a State Representative in the Oregon House of Representatives. She was Chairwoman of the House Water & Environment Committee and House Business, Labor, and Consumer Affairs; and Co-Chair of the Joint Natural Resources Committee. She served in leadership as Assistant Majority Leader from 2001 to 2005. She was appointed to the Oregon State Senate in 2012.

Betsy Close has been married to Christopher Close for 40 years. The couple have four grown children.

Former Oregon Statesman of the Year endorses Close

Albany, OR – Former State Senator and long-time community leader Frank Morse has endorsed Senator Betsy Close (R-Albany/Corvallis) as the best candidate to represent Senate District 8.

“Betsy Close has the experience, compassion and perspective to serve our community and help bring prosperity to working families,” said Morse. “She is tenacious and will be a fierce advocate for us. She deserves the trust of voters in Senate District 8.”

Frank Morse was elected to represent Senate District 8 in the State Legislature three times. He served as President and CEO of Morse Bros. Inc, a leading Oregon construction materials company. As a Senator, Morse became known for his willingness to reach across the aisle and find common ground, and to fearlessly tackle the toughest issues facing Oregon. When he left office he was lauded as a humble and pragmatic leader who selflessly helped lead Oregon with common sense and fairness.

The Oregon Business Association honored Morse in 2007 with its prestigious Statesman of the Year award.

“I’m honored to have the support of a leader like Frank Morse,” said Close. “He served in the State Senate with integrity and forthrightness. We share a vision for Oregon that offers opportunity and success for families across the state. I’m proud that he would endorse my candidacy.

Starting in 1999, Close served for six years as a State Representative in the Oregon House of Representatives. She was Chairwoman of the House Water & Environment Committee and House Business, Labor, and Consumer Affairs; and Co-Chair of the Joint Natural Resources Committee. She served in leadership as Assistant Majority Leader from 2001 to 2005. She was appointed to fill Frank Morse’s seat in the Oregon State Senate in 2012.

Accelerated college credit bill headed to Governor

Salem, OR – The House of Representatives unanimously approved Senate Bill 1574A Monday, sending to the Governor a proposal that would give high school freshman and sophomores the chance to pursue college credit.

“I believe this bill will empower young people to pursue a college education,” said Senator Betsy Close (R-Albany). “Students need to know that college is not only attainable, but something they can use to increase their future prosperity. Senate Bill 1574A will help them realize both.”

Research has shown that accelerated access to college credit is an important factor for both high school and college graduation. If signed by the Governor, Senate Bill 1574A would assist high school students who would like to earn college credit for qualifying high school courses. The bill charges the Accelerated Learning Committee with implementing this policy.

Starting in 1999, Close served for six years as a State Representative in the Oregon House of Representatives. She was Chairwoman of the House Water & Environment Committee and House Business, Labor, and Consumer Affairs; and Co-Chair of the Joint Natural Resources Committee. She served in leadership as Assistant Majority Leader from 2001 to 2005. She was appointed to the Oregon State Senate in 2012.

Betsy Close has been married to Christopher Close for 40 years. They have four grown children.

Close education and jobs bills scheduled for hearings

Salem, OR – Two key pieces of legislation introduced by Senator Betsy Close (R-Albany/Corvallis) ahead of February’s legislation session will be considered by legislative committees this week.

“These two bills represent practical ways to get Oregonians back to work and target educational opportunities at community colleges,” said Close. “They are tangible solutions to real problems.”

On Thursday the Senate Interim Committee on Education and Workforce Development will consider a concept for building an Accelerated Student Associates Program. This program would help new students connect general educational curriculum with the technical and vocational curriculum in our community colleges. Research has shown that accelerating the connection between technical education and basic curriculum in the first year greatly enhances the chances of graduating with a degree. This bill intends to help keep students engaged, moving forward, and excited about their progress in their first year and beyond.

“Community college students shouldn’t have to wait two years before they start learning technical and vocational skills that would help them land a job,” said Close. “This bill targets employment needs by region and help new students start on a successful higher education career from day one.”

On Wednesday the Senate Interim Committee on Rural Communities and Economic Development will consider the Youth Employment Act. The proposal would create a public-private partnership between counties and local employers for a training contract to benefit youth entering the workforce for the first time, between the ages of 14 and 19. This is a successful program that is currently operating in Linn County and can be replicated statewide.

Starting in 1999, Close served for six years as a State Representative in the Oregon House of Representatives. She was Chairwoman of the House Water & Environment Committee and House Business, Labor, and Consumer Affairs; and Co-Chair of the Joint Natural Resources Committee. She served in leadership as Assistant Majority Leader from 2001 to 2005. She was appointed to the Oregon State Senate in 2012.

Betsy Close has been married to Christopher Close for 40 years. They have four grown children.

Close will run for Senate seat

Salem, OR - Senator Betsy Close (R-Albany/Corvallis) announced Thursday that she will run for a full term representing District 8 in the Oregon State Senate.  Close was appointed by the Linn and Benton County Commissions to fill a vacancy in the Senate District 8 seat in 2012. Senate District 8 includes Albany, Corvallis, and much of Linn and Benton Counties.

“It has been a great joy to represent the people of Senate District 8,” said Close.  “I’m pleased with what I was able to accomplish in the one year since my appointment, and believe, together, we can continue to do great things for Oregon over the next four years.”

In the 2013 regular session, Close was instrumental in passing key protections for student and employee online privacy and spearheaded tougher penalties for sex traffickers. Close also fought for a historic increase in classroom funding and innovative job-creation strategies.

Betsy Close is working on legislation for the 2014 session that focuses on vocational education and helping Oregonians find family wage jobs. One proposal would replicate a training-wage program funded with Lottery dollars and spearheaded by Linn County and make it available to any county in the state. The program helps first-time employees find entry level jobs.

Another proposal would create an accelerated certificate program that integrates basic-education and literacy instruction with post-secondary career and technical courses. The program would help unemployed and underemployed adults to enter the workforce or obtain better employment through increased education and training.

 “There is a lot of work still left to do,” said Close. “Too many Oregon families need a job, or a better job, that will pay the bills and give them the financial breathing room to grow. I will continue to make my focus giving families economic opportunity through better jobs and educational opportunities.”

Starting in 1999, Betsy Close served for six  years  as a State Representative in the Oregon House of Representatives. She was Chairwoman of the House Water & Environment Committee and House Business, Labor, and Consumer Affairs; and Co-Chair of the Joint Natural Resources Committee. She served in leadership as Assistant Majority Leader from 2001 to 2005. She was appointed to the Oregon State Senate in 2012.

 Betsy Close has been married  to Christopher  Close for 41  years.  The couple have four grown children.

Tax increase proposal hits families of disabled

Salem, OR - While reading through the proposed bills for the special session Monday evening, Senator Betsy Close (R-Albany/Corvallis) discovered that a tax increase under consideration as part of the “Grand Bargain” unfairly affects families with disabled children. Close is calling on the Joint Committee on Special Session to fix this unintended consequence before the bill is passed out of committee.

“The proposal as written removes tax assistance that is provided to families with the most needy and vulnerable children,” said Close. “It may have been unintended, but it is unconscionable to continue considering this proposal without some type of remedy for these families. The committee should act today to fix this.”

House Bill 3601 eliminates the personal tax exemption for some families.  Under current law families with disabled children are allowed to claim an extra exemption to help defray the high costs of caring for children with disabilities. House Bill 3601 would eliminate this basic assistance.

A disabled child could include a child with a hearing impairment, serious emotional disturbance, vision impairment, traumatic brain injury, orthopedic impairment, or intellectual disability.

“There is a simple way to fix this,” said Close. “All it would take is a small amendment that I believe would receive broad support. I’m hopeful a solution can be found before this bill moves forward.”

Starting in 1999, Close served for six years as a State Representative in the Oregon House of Representatives. She was Chairwoman of the House Water & Environment Committee and House Business, Labor, and Consumer Affairs; and Co-Chair of the Joint Natural Resources Committee. She served in leadership as Assistant Majority Leader from 2001 to 2005. She was appointed to the Oregon State Senate in 2012.

Betsy Close has been married to Christopher Close for 41 years. The couple have four grown children.

Oregon lawmakers focus on pair of sex-trafficking bills

By Christian Gaston | Oregonian

SALEM – The Oregon Senate passed a complex bill cracking down on child sex trafficking Tuesday, sending the legislation to the House and marking the bill as the main vehicle for legislation on the issue this year. But the provisions of Senate Bill 673, introduced by Sens. Betsy Close, R-Albany, and Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, are still in flux.

Senate amendments weakened some of the bill's penalties, Close said, which she hopes to restore once the bill reaches the House Judiciary Committee.

"I have faith in those that will be handling the bill," said Close. "It's not just about getting a bill, it's about getting the right bill."

Click here to read the entire article.

Senate Republicans elect caucus leadership

Silverton, OR – The Oregon Senate Republican caucus elected leaders for the 2013 session at a caucus work session Saturday. Senator Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) was elected Caucus Leader for a fifth term.

“Senate Republicans will continue to champion an agenda that gives Oregon families the opportunity to prosper,” said Ferrioli. “We are looking forward to working in a collaborative way to make Oregon stronger.”

Senate Republicans also elected Senator Larry George (R-Sherwood) and Senator Brian Boquist (R-Dallas) to serve as Deputy Caucus Leaders and Senator Alan Olsen (R-Canby) to serve as Caucus Whip. Senator Betsy Close (R-Albany/Corvallis) and Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River) will serve as Assistant Caucus Leaders.

“We have fourteen talented and experienced caucus members who have a vision for what Oregon can become,” said George. “I am looking forward to helping advance that vision during the 2013 session.”

“Oregonians can expect us to bring a solutions oriented approach to the 2013 Legislative session as we work to solve the problems facing our state,” said Olsen. “We share a love for Oregon and a passion for its future with our fellow legislators, and believe we can accomplish great things if we work together this session.”

“I’m excited about what we can accomplish together next year,” said Close. “I am honored to help lead this group of Senators as we work to help Oregon families succeed.”

Senate Republicans are also finalizing the details of their 2013 legislative agenda this weekend.