Gov. Kate Brown adds minimum wage raise, graduation rate to 2016 agenda

Gov. Brown announced her 2016 policy focus Wednesday, with an emphasis on Oregon’s economy and education.

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On the economy, the governor wants to substantially increase the minimum wage. Last week Brown unveiled a legislative plan to raise the minimum wage to $13.50 by 2022. Part of the plan is that Portland would have its own minimum wage set 15 percent higher than the rest of the state, or $15.52. Senate President Peter Courtney and Speaker of the House Tina Kotek, the state’s top Democratic legislators, both pledged their support.

…With education, Brown continues to stand by her “cradle-to-career” plans. She hopes to boost low high school graduation rates by appointing an Education Innovation Officer; at 72 percent, Oregon’s graduation rate ranks in the bottom five states. A council will also be formed to help train and mentor Oregon teachers.

(READ MORE: Statesman Journal)

Republican officials say increasing the minimum wage will cut jobs in rural areas. Republican Representative Mike McLane told the Statesman Journal that Gov. Brown’s education plan will add more bureaucracy.