By Regan Gray of Portland, Oregon. Regan is a candidate for House District 42. Learn more at www.ReganGray.com. Yesterday we heard from Gordon Hillesland, and tomorrow we'll hear from Teddy Keizer.
One of the reasons Portland is such a wonderful and progressive place to live is because of the very people who call this city home. Working in Representative Diane Rosenbaum's office for the past six years, I have had the privilege of interacting with the citizens of House District 42 on a daily basis, and through this process, I have met many incredible people.
For most of the time I worked in Salem, Republicans were in control of the House. And while it was obviously difficult to pass progressive legislation under those circumstances, it was not impossible.
In 2003 Amy came to Representative Rosenbaum's office in a desperate situation. Amy had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and during her course of treatment, she and her doctor had decided on the type of breast reconstruction post-mastectomy that was most appropriate for Amy. Unfortunately, as is too often the case, Amy's insurance company decided they knew more about Amy's medical care than her own doctor did and refused to cover the procedure.
Amy and I spent countless months trying to reach a compromise with the insurance company, but they still refused to cover any part of the procedure.
Although I was exceptionally frustrated by Amy's story, I was inspired by her courage; and together we wrote a law that would protect other cancer patients from having to go through what Amy did. Amy's law, which was passed in 2003, requires insurance companies to cover the type of breast reconstruction decided upon by a woman and her doctor.
This is Amy's story, but it represents the story of other Oregonians throughout our state – those who need help and go to their elected officials to get it. Whether it's granting medical visitation rights to same sex couples, ensuring that all rape victims have access to emergency contraception on a statewide level, or providing affordable housing and rights to neighborhood associations in the cities – there is a fundamental level of service owed to all of us as Oregonians.
It is people like Amy who can inspire all of us to take action and contact our legislators. Oregonians deserve a government that serves them on all levels – city, county, state and federal. This primary, and in the fall, as voters we have an incredible opportunity to select officeholders that will keep their doors open to the voices of those they represent. I have worked hard to meet everyone in this district, listen to your stories and incorporate your input into legislation. I will continue to fight for fairness, inclusion and government that works for the people. And most of all, I will continue to stand up for those left out.