Gov. Kotek visits Grants Pass to talk behavioral health, education, housing

GRANTS PASS, Ore.– Governor Tina Kotek visited Grants Pass Wednesday and met with a number of local organizations on her listening tour.

She said there are a handful of programs in Josephine County she wants to expand statewide.

Governor Kotek said, “you listen to what’s going on in every community and every community is unique, and we can all learn from each other.”

Governor Kotek held a listening session at a few different places around Grants Pass, including options for Southern Oregon.

Kotek also spoke with Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman about funding challenges and how the department is taking on behavioral health problems.

“He’s trying new things,” Kotek said, “making sure that people can get connected to services, having folks in the police station that can talk to people, people that aren’t necessarily police.”

Kotek said one of the things she was most impressed with was how Grants Pass is getting people connected with resources for housing.

She said its something she wants to incorporate into her state housing program.

“I went on the website for the City of Grants Pass and they have a brand new section on helping people find housing, construct housing,” Kotek said. “Just a drop-down menu on housing, and that’s what every city needs to be doing.”

Kotek said she also learned about the school resource officer program in Grants Pass.

She wants to see the program in more schools and she hopes to work on that as soon as she gets back to Salem.

“We just saw a recent report that Oregon has a very large number of chronic absentee students,” Kotek said. “Students that aren’t coming back to school, aren’t coming back to class. The school year is starting again, how do we help our districts make sure students are coming in?”

Kotek said one of the goals of her listening tour was also to talk with people who aren’t typically politically engaged.

She said she plans to return to visit Jackson County later this year.

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NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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