In 2013, the Oregon Department of Human Services and the nonprofit Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC) found 459 children had been identified as sex trafficking victims over four years. While the average age was 15 and a half, the youngest of the identified children was eight years old. One in six of these children had already given birth to a child. About one-fifth came from families with a history of sexual exploitation. Nearly half of those individuals that came forward were somehow connected to a gang. SOURCE
The Oregon Legislature has set aggressive laws in an effort to combat sex trafficking. These laws include proof of age to work in adult entertainment, computer technicians must report child pornography, criminal records for minors charged with prostitution may be expunged, and it is a crime to solicit a minor for sex knowingly or not. These laws are a step in the right direction, but there is still a need for greater awareness and implementation of these laws.
Bud Pierce will be an advocate for victims’ rights. He will ensure these existing laws are enforced and will push for further reform. Having children living on the streets to be preyed upon by sexual predators is simply unacceptable. Bud Pierce wants to ensure safe shelters are available for children living on the streets. Many sexually abused children come from highly dysfunctional families. Therefore, he believes we must work harder to identify children at risk and intervene before abuse occurs. Strong families, with well paying jobs, and supportive neighborhoods will do much to alleviate the scourge of sex trafficking. SOURCE
The federal Violence Against Women Act became the law of the land in September 1994, and we’ve made progress fighting domestic violence in Oregon and elsewhere over the last two decades. And yet, there’s still something to the words that Sen. Joe Biden, the primary sponsor of the act, said at the time of its passage. “Through this process I have become convinced that violence against women reflects as much a failure of our nation’s collective moral imagination as it does a failure of our nation’s laws and regulations,” the Democratic senator from Delaware said. “We are helpless to change the course of this violence unless and until we achieve a national consensus that it deserves our public outrage.”
Bud Pierce believes that continued domestic violence in Oregon deserves our ever-lasting public outrage, but also greater public efforts to combat this often-silent scourge. The stubborn facts of domestic violence in Oregon highlight why we must do more. According to one seven-year review, about one in five homicides in Oregon was related to intimate partner violence. Intimate partners committed 46% of the homicides of females age 15 and older, and about two-thirds of victims who were killed by an intimate partner were living with the perpetrator at the time the incident occurred. The victims of domestic violence are not exclusively women, but they are chiefly women. In 2012, 38 fatal domestic violence incidents occurred in 13 of our 36 counties. Fifty-five men, women and children met their death. Here’s the figure that tells us we can do better: 279 requests for help in Oregon went unmet for lack of funding.
Bud Pierce promises to do more so the cries for help will be heard. He supports increased funding for domestic violence shelters. He supports stepped up training and education in this area for the state’s law enforcement officers and nurses. Bud Pierce wants to increase penalties and give prosecutors more options for punishment. He will ensure Oregon is following best practices with respect to policies and practices related to restraining orders.
Homelessness is a Real Problem
Homelessness is not just a problem in Portland; it’s an issue that plagues our entire state. Despite a pledge made a decade ago to end homelessness in the metro area, an estimated 4000 men, women and children sleep outside on the streets in Multnomah County alone. SOURCE
Since 2007, the number of people who are homeless dropped 11 percent nationally. Unfortunately, when the same numbers were run in Portland, in 2014, the count showed nine additional homeless people compared to 2007. SOURCE
Why aren’t the numbers getting better in Portland?
Housing is a major issue. Portland lacks enough permanent housing and emergency shelter space. By now, you’ve likely heard, “illegal camping is the new normal in Portland.” Bud Pierce believes more can be done. Homelessness cannot become known as the new normal. Mayor Charlie Hales declared a state of emergency in September in an effort to have the city council vote to weaken zoning laws to allow more shelters to be built.
Bud Pierce understands the importance of building affordable public housing and how vital it is for Oregon to ensure that its most vulnerable citizens are looked after.
Truthfully, a variety of factors have led to increased homelessness in Portland and Oregon in general. Untreated mentally ill and drug addicted Oregonians cannot work and unfortunately, many end up living on the streets. An economy that fails to provide well paying jobs forces the working poor to live on the streets. Government has driven up the price of housing by 1) creating a scarcity of buildable land, and 2) having high building fees and cumbersome regulations which make housing unaffordable and ultimately contributes to homelessness. The real answer to decreasing homelessness is to have a happy and healthy workforce; an abundance of well paying jobs; and for government to do all that is possible to decrease the cost of housing construction. Shelters and public housing are absolutely necessary for those individuals who cannot work.
Identity Theft, Fraud and Cyber Crimes
In 2014, Oregon ranked third in the nation for the most identity theft complaints. On average 124.6 per 100,000 Oregonians reported identity theft. Almost a quarter of all fraud complaints in the state involved identity theft, compared to 13% across the country. What’s more is that the number of identity thefts in Oregon more than doubled from 2013 to 2014. SOURCE
Benefits, credit card and bank fraud accounted for most of the 4,946 identity theft complains received in Oregon. SOURCE
Despite Oregon's high ranking for fraud, it does have a low violent crime rate of 243 per 100,000. Oregon ranks the 11th lowest in the country. SOURCE
Bud Pierce will help ensure laws protect Oregonians privacy. Oregonians should be able to use technology without fear of identity theft or other cyber crimes. Reducing these crimes will require the cooperation of the public and private sectors, and the technological prowess on the part of the state. Only a prosperous state, which Oregon must become, will be able to commit the resources necessary to keep Oregonians safe from these crimes.
AMBER Alerts Protect Our Children
Alarmingly, 3 out of 4 abducted children who are taken to be killed are killed within the first three hours. SOURCE
The AMBER Alert Law Enforcement Alerting Portal (LEAP), AmberAlert.com, is the Primary Alerting Partner used by Oregon during AMBER Alert activation to notify the public in a child abduction case. This system has successfully recovered a number of children. SOURCE
Bud Pierce supports the AMBER alert system and will ensure it is properly funded so that it can stay up to date with the ever-changing technology.
Currently, the live data and any updates are disseminated to anyone who registers to receive the AMBER Alert information via E-mail, FAX, text messages and RSS feeds supporting law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, state agencies, federal agencies and other alerting systems such as the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and individual subscribers. SOURCE
Bullying is a real issue that plagues our nation and comes in many manifestations — the adult bullies in politics or business or, yes, medicine — and younger bullies who plague neighborhoods. The Internet has made bullies even bolder and more dangerous. At best, they make school miserable for too many boys and girls, disrupting the education and social experiences at critical times in their young lives. At worst, they make the lives of the vulnerable so miserable that some of our kids end their lives. All this is as tragic as it is needless.
For starters, Bud Pierce will use the power of the Oregon governor’s office to lead a campaign against bullying. He’ll be out in the schools and on the Internet, using his “anti-bully pulpit” to get the message out to Oregon students and parents. He’ll enlist Oregon’s star athletes and coaches – Ducks and Beavers, Blazers, Timbers, Thorns and Winterhawks – as well as other celebrities – in an effort to reduce bullying. Bud Pierce will also ask Oregon’s public schools to fill out standard forms when bullying incidents occur and send it to the state, which will report on bullying incidents annually and reward bully-free schools each year.
Second Amendment Rights and Gun Violence
When tragedy hits home, we tend to react quickly and strongly to ensure it doesn’t happen again. This knee jerk reaction can lead to poor policy decisions or legislation that fails to fix the issue in the future. This is the case when it comes to gun violence. We have over 300 major, and countless minor gun laws in America and in Oregon. There is little evidence that the passage of additional legislation will do much to improve gun violence. Even though it might make us feel better.
In 2013, there were 33,169 deaths in America related to firearms, including 21,175 by suicide and 11,208 by homicide. The homicide rate has decreased approximately 50% since reaching a peak in 1993. Most gun violence occurs in poor urban areas and is frequently associated with gang violence. Mass shootings (defined as 4 or more people shot) account for only a small fraction of gun-related deaths, and this rate fell steadily from 1994-2007. However, between 2007 and 2013, the rate of mass shooting incidents in the US has increased. What can be done to decrease gun violence? SOURCE
The data indicates that the majority or two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides, and up to 90% of people who commit suicide suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. In terms of mass shootings, evidence suggests that mass shooters are often mentally ill and socially marginalized, and in some cases radicalized. There is little evidence additional gun legislation will put a stop to these shootings.
Bud Pierce believes policy should be based on strong evidence rather than emotion. He is a strong supporter of the U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment and gun rights under the Oregon Constitution and is equally committed to addressing gun violence in Oregon.
The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution couldn’t be clearer: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Over the last decade, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment applies to the states and federal enclaves and protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. The Oregon Constitution states it differently, “The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defense of themselves, and the State..,” but shares the same intent.
Bud Pierce believes in upholding Oregonians’ clear constitutional rights and is against signing into law bills that might make us feel better but really do nothing to cut down on gun violence. This is why he opposed the gun control bill the Democrats passed in the 2015 Legislature that Gov. Kate Brown signed into law. He believes the outcome of expanding background checks would mean additional government costs and bureaucracy rather than reduced gun violence. He also opposed Senate Bill 941 due to its emergency clause that denied Oregonians the right to vote on a bill that would impact their constitutional rights. Unlike Kate Brown, Bud Pierce believes that all Oregonians should have the right to be heard on laws—not just career politicians in Salem.
What should be done to curb gun violence? Here’s Bud Pierce’s plan for Oregon:
- Commit more resources to our state’s mental health services to ensure that in-patient and out-patient treatment facilities are adequate and Oregonians struggling with mental illness are not warehoused in our prisons or living on our streets.
- Provide advanced technology, including video surveillance, to better protect our schools.
- Additional monitoring of social media.
- Initiate a robust public service campaign to remind gun owners that with the right of gun ownership comes responsibility – that those who handle weapons must be well-trained and exercise the utmost care and safety procedures, and that those gun owners store weapons in an alternate location if they have individuals in their home who have mental illness.
- Establish a system in which individuals can contact authorities if there is concern that gun violence may occur.
- Give law enforcement the tools to thoroughly investigate situations brought to their attention, including the temporary authority to hold weapons, only if necessary in narrow circumstances based upon evidence that there is an imminent danger to the owner or others, in accordance with protecting their constitutional rights.
- Improve public safety.