The Ripon Forum

Volume 55, No. 6

December 2021

Ripon Profile of Jaime Herrera Beutler

By on December 14, 2021

Name: Jaime Herrera Beutler

Occupation: Representative for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District

Favorite holiday tradition: In Southwest Washington, we have a great local small business that offers a “cut-your-own Christmas tree” experience. I love taking my kids there and seeing them run around to pick out the family Christmas tree. Those are memories my husband and I and my kids will always remember and cherish.

Individual(s) who inspired you as a child: Abigail Adams. I named my first-born daughter after her.

Issue facing America that is not getting enough attention: Maternity-related health care, and the lack thereof. Each year, around four million women give birth in the United States. But even though the U.S. spends significantly MORE on childbirth than any other industrialized nation, we continue to rank far behind almost all other developed countries in healthy births. Between 700-900 women die each year in our country from pregnancy-related and pregnancy-associated deaths.

As a mom of three young kids, I’m very familiar with the services and information available to pregnant moms, and my goal is to use this experience and translate it into real, tangible solutions to improve birth outcomes. It’s part of the reason why I co-founded the bipartisan Maternity Care Caucus – the first of its kind in Congress.

As co-chair of the Maternity Care Caucus, we’ve achieved several successes, including passing landmark legislation in Congress – the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act – which was signed into law in 2018 to help reverse this crisis.

We’ve also worked on other solutions to help save lives and lead to better health outcomes for moms and babies. For example, our push from the Maternity Care Caucus led the Food and Drug Administration to allow voluntary addition of folic acid to corn masa flour – a staple in the Hispanic community. The simple addition of this nutrient is proven to reduce deadly and severe birth defects.

And more recently, I introduced the Midwives for MOMS Act, which increases educational opportunities for midwives to give moms increased access to quality maternal care. Years and years of research have shown that midwives provide safe and cost-effective care, but compared to other developed nations, are vastly underused as providers. This bill takes that critical step of investing in midwifery education, which will increase the availability and affordability of maternity care across our country.

My goal is to ensure the best possible health outcome for babies and moms across our country. After all, this issue should matter to everyone because you either are a mom or you’ve got a mom.

Challenge facing your District that you are working hard to address: My top priority in Congress has always been to grow the economy and help create good-paying, family-wage jobs. I’ve never taken my eye off of that goal.

Each year I host a “Jobs Fair” in my district, where we work to match folks who are looking for jobs with hiring employers. I will never forget my first Jobs Fair back in 2011 – the line to get into the fair was out the door, around the building, and down the block. Back then, many of the counties in my district were dealing with double-digit unemployment – people were struggling to find work.

Since then, I’ve worked in Congress to give the tools workers and small businesses need to survive and thrive.

For example, when many of our small mom-and-pop shops were forced to close during the COVID pandemic, they needed the resources and capital to stay afloat and pay their employees. I rolled up my sleeves in Congress and worked on the Paycheck Protection Program, which ended up preserving over 90,000 jobs alone in my district of Southwest Washington. And we’re not through the pandemic yet; I’ll keep up my efforts to help them stay afloat and keep workers employed.

I’m also championing a solution in Congress to give workers the tools they need to access job training programs. The Jumpstarting Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act expands critical Pell Grant eligibility for folks to qualify for short-term job training programs to help them gain access to industry-recognized credentials. With this bill, we’ll ensure we have a workforce that’s able to fill the jobs of today, and that workers can support themselves and their families.

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