U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D.-Ore.) on a March 23 Zoom hosted by NAMM stated that she is currently working on a bill in the House of Representatives to expand music and arts education, especially for those in underserved communities.
“I know I will be working hard to get it across the finish line,” she said.
In addition to making this statement, Bonamici described why music and arts are so important to her. She recalled growing up in a household where her mother was a piano teacher and her father a drummer. She added she often listens to music with Motown and classical two of her favorite genres and that music soothes her, something all too important today.
“We know arts help us understand different people and cultures,” she said. “I grew up with an appreciation of arts and education.”
Bonamici, who serves on the U.S. House’s Committee on Education and Labor, added that every student benefits from music and arts. “I have always supported the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act),” she said. “Music and arts improve student engagement and inspires creativity. Employers look for creative people who can innovate.”
Oregon’s First Congressional District representative also championed the recently passed federal Rescue Plan, which has earmarked $130 billion to safely reopen schools. But she added that the post-pandemic period for education should strive to be even better than before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“We can and should do better than return to the status quo,” she said. “I will continue to fight for arts and education.”
Bonamici added that she is especially impressed when hearing stories about how music and arts improves the lives of students and the communities they live in. “I see the joy and passion on students’ faces who are involved in music and arts,” she said. “I hear students’ voices about what music and arts mean to [them].
“They are future leaders,” she continued. “The world is looking for new ways to solve problems.”
A post-pandemic world could be exciting and enjoyable in many ways, but Bonamici said she looks forward to the future of arts. “To see artists and musicians get back to work will have a tremendous impact on communities,” she concluded.
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