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Monday, January 24, 2022

Local senator wins national award for oversight of state’s foster care program

Sara Gelser Blouin
Sara Gelser Blouin (Photo courtesy of OregonLegislature.gov)

Sen. Sara Gelser Blouin (D-Corvallis) was selected to receive this year’s Carl Levin Award for Effective Oversight, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan announced. Gelser Blouin represents District 8 in the State Legislature, which includes Philomath.

Fagan nominated Gelser Blouin “for her extensive and meaningful work on the Oregon foster care program, including returning Oregon children who’d been placed in for-profit out-of-state programs.”

According to a press release, Gelser Blouin’s commitment to fact-based, bipartisan oversight and her role in leading colleagues in Oregon and other states were key reasons for the Levin Center at Wayne Law’s selection.

“Sen. Gelser Blouin protected Oregon’s most vulnerable kids. Period. Her courage and strength to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves deserves recognition,” Fagan said in the release.

The Carl Levin Award is a national award established to promote bipartisan, fact-based oversight and to recognize those legislators who conduct it. Past award recipients include North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr and Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner who were recognized for their leadership in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections. South Carolina Republican State Representative Weston J. Newton has also been recognized.

Gelser Blouin thanked Fagan for the nomination and said it was an honor to receive the award. She also recognized colleagues on both sides of the aisle for working together on the issue.

“Investigating challenges within our child welfare system and uncovering abuse and exploitation across multiple states from for-profit residential programs has become a life passion for me,” she said. “Our work in Oregon has driven policy change across several states and helped shut down some dangerous facilities. Yet, there is so much work left to do and so many kids’ voices to lift up.”

Gelser Blouin also thanked the Levin Center at Wayne Law for the award and for its leadership in improving the oversight role of the legislative branch.

“Used properly, effective oversight can drive even more meaningful change than legislation,” she said. “The team at the Levin Center honors Congressman Levin’s legacy by empowering more legislators and members of Congress to exercise this role.”

Gelser Blouin was to officially receive the award at a virtual ceremony on Friday.


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