On homelessness, Pierce said the governor needs to form a task force of experts who will report daily on the realities on the ground, in each city. The governor must be made aware of efforts like Corvallis, for example, to eliminate homeless camps from city parks. But, he acknowledged, the best way to clean up the camps is to have adequate shelter for the homeless, which he says is sorely lacking in most communities.
“People need to be taken to real shelters,” he said. “And as soon as they are safe and given the necessities of life, we have to start working with them so that they can change in a positive way.”
Programs must include treatment for mental health issues, substance abuse issues, or other conditions that prevent people from being productive members of society, Pierce said. To do that, he believes it will take public and private partnerships, with local businesses filling in the gaps that limited state and federal funding can provide.
On education, he says Oregon needs to offer more options for students. He specifically highlighted Massachusetts, which overhauled its public school system to create more trade schools and technical vocational universities. In K-12 schools, he says the emphasis should be “on the capacity and responsibility of the classroom teacher and not on bureaucracy and tracking numbers.”
In business, he highlighted his own experience as the head of Oregon Oncology Specialists. His business started with six employees when he joined in 1994 and has grown into a large regional provider of chemotherapy treatments. Not only does her company accept patients in its offices, it also provides staffing and chemotherapy services to several hospitals in western Oregon, such as the Corvallis Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center.