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Wyden Firsts: Building a Strong Economy that Works for Every Oregonian

Technology has become a key Oregon jobs producer with wages in the sector averaging more than double the annual Oregon wage. Ron saw the chance to create more tech jobs by updating federal laws to help Oregon find new industries to supplement wood products. He was the first elected official to recognize that outdated brick and mortar laws would keep the internet from becoming the innovator and job creator it’s become. In particular, the old rules would have limited the opportunity to grow new Oregon startup businesses that could compete against older dominant corporations. Ron wrote the key laws often described as the legal foundation for a free and open internet economy. These include the laws banning online tax discrimination against small businesses and taxes on internet access. Ron also wrote the law that legalized digital signatures. He introduced the first strong net neutrality bill in the United States Senate.

Ron was the first to organize an undercover “sting” operation exposing hundreds of trade cheats who were trying to steal good paying American jobs. His investigation led to the passage of the ENFORCE Act that created new tools to stop rip off artists who try to launder sanctioned equipment and merchandise.

Recognizing that repairing roads, bridges and transportation systems would be a big boost for jobs in construction, equipment, services and other fields, Ron wrote, and passed into law, the first-ever federal transportation bonding program. This helped Oregonians and Americans who were hit hard by the 2008 recession. The program led to more than $180 billion in infrastructure investment in just two years.

Ron wrote the first ever bipartisan legislation in the Senate to legalize hemp, and Congress passed hemp legalization language into law as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. Hundreds of Oregon farmers now see lucrative markets for their hemp crops, as do farmers across the nation.

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Meet Ron Wyden

Ron Wyden & Jeff Merkley at a health care rallyRon Wyden is a champion for our progressive values -- standing up for consumers and the middle class, fighting for digital privacy and an open internet, protecting our planet and Oregon's special places, and always insisting on human rights and equality for all.

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