As a third generation Oregonian and second generation COCC student, I am committed to a thriving community college that serves residents in all six counties of the college district. For too many of us, the college is not delivering on its promise. If you live outside of Bend, or if you work full-time, or if you have kids, the barriers to enrollment can seem insurmountable.
COCC has the capacity to tear down those barriers and make it easier for people who want a college education to get one, and it can do so without raising our taxes. Other colleges in rural Oregon communities have done more with less. Klamath Community College offers five entirely online degrees (COCC offers none). Umpqua Community College offers affordable on-site childcare (COCC does not). It’s not the lack of money stopping our own college from delivering – it’s a lack of will.
I know how challenging it can be to attend COCC because I live in rural Deschutes County, I have young kids, and I work. That’s why, as a student leader, I have consistently advocated for rural residents and working parents.
For more than half a century, the citizens of Lake County, Klamath County, and southern Deschutes County have invested in our community college. The time has come for COCC to invest in us.
On May 21, please vote Oliver Tatom for COCC Board.