Jodi Hickerson: Science Lab Preparator, Eastern Oregon University

“It means a lot to me to be able to live and work in our community and not have to move away for gainful employment. I work in the lab at Eastern Oregon University and I am proud to support the future doctors, researchers, and others who are taking classes here. Because we have a local university, our young people can get the education they need without having to be separated from their families. It’s essential that we have skilled, qualified educators and staff to support them.

In my employment for the lab, I do not earn as much as my counterparts in the private sector, and I will be well past retirement age when I will be able to afford to stop working. That is why the retirement benefits that were promised to me are essential to me. I don’t know what I will do if they are reduced or taken away.

I hope the politicians in Salem take my story into account when they are thinking about the retirements for public employees. The bottom line is that state leaders should honor the deal made with people like me and the teachers, police, firefighters and other public sector retirees and employees. The Oregon Supreme Court agrees. After two lengthy and expensive lawsuits, the courts have made it clear that a deal is a deal. The state legislature should not make the same costly mistakes of the past. They should keep their promises to public employees and retirees.”