On the right track

Last week, a group of Ashland High School students from Ashland Youth Climate Action testified in Salem before a joint hearing of the House and Senate environment committees. They spoke on behalf of capping greenhouse gases and investing in renewable energy through Senate Bill 557.

The young people are on the right track. Oregon has a growing renewable energy industry with potential for creating more living-wage jobs in local communities. Renewable energy creates three times the number of jobs that fossil fuels create for each unit of electricity generated. That’s because most of the money spent on renewables goes to wages while most money spent on producing fossil fuels goes to land and machines.

Increasing energy production through renewables means we don’t have to choose between jobs and the environment. Both are important to me because my own young adult children are native Oregonians and expect to live and work in Oregon for a long time.

Let’s urge our legislators to support SB 557, the Clean Energy and Jobs Bill. It will limit greenhouse gas pollution and provide investment in clean energy jobs, not just in Portland, but in small towns and rural communities like ours.

Caren Caldwell

Ashland

Support higher ed funding

According to the article “SOU tuition could rise 12 percent,” SOU will have to increase its tuition in order to prevent another $7 million to $8 million in cuts. This means Oregon students will be paying an extra $1,300 a year to keep receiving the same education that they were already getting.

Students will drown in debt if decision makers don’t support the Oregon Student Association's budget asks: $765 million for universities, $636 million for community colleges and $155 million for the Oregon Opportunity Grant.

At SOU, majors have been cut and department budgets have gotten slashed. Having this budgeting shortfall could put the university into another devastating retrenchment. I’m concluding my third year, and will owe over $80,000 when I graduate in 2018. Being so deep in debt makes me reconsider my dream of obtaining a master's. Students like me want to achieve great things, but it’s becoming less attainable.

It is the responsibility of our local decision makers Sen. Alan DeBoer, Rep. Sal Esquivel and Rep. Pam Marsh to support the Oregon Student Association's budget asks so the students of the Rogue Valley have hope at obtaining an affordable education.

Matthew Soloway, student, ASSOU vice speaker of the Senate and senator of business, communications and environmental sciences

Ashland