Samuel C. Wheeler Freedom Award
Tawna Sanchez, Oregon State Representative
Representative Tawna Sanchez has spent her life working to strengthen our community. Tawna is Shoshone-Bannock, Ute and Carrizo and grew up in Portland, and for many years has been a leader fighting for the rights of women, indigenous people, and the most vulnerable. As the Director of Family Services at the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), Tawna helped create the Early College Academy, expanded early childhood services, affordable housing development, elder support, and assisted in building a nationally recognized domestic violence wrap-around service model. Over time, Tawna has helped raise 18 foster kids, and has been active in state policy making – serving on the Family Services Review Commission and the Child Welfare Advisory Committee.
As a state representative, Tawna remains committed to standing up for social justice on the side of the oppressed, and pushing to make our systems more equitable.
The Samuel C. Wheeler Freedom Award is an honor given to those who help battle the stigma of addiction by sharing their story of recovery and giving back to the community in meaningful ways.
Spirit of Recovery Advocacy Award
Kate Lieber, Oregon State Senator
Senator Kate Lieber represents Senate District 14, which includes Beaverton, Aloha, and portions of Washington and Multnomah County. Kate is a mother of two, a breast cancer survivor, a community college instructor, and an attorney. She is deeply invested in improving our communities and understands, as a State Senator, that having power means using it wisely and justly. Serving on the Senate Committees on Human Services, Labor and Business, and as the chair of Energy and Environment gives Senator Lieber the ability to advocate for policies that benefit workers and vulnerable Oregonians, and her role on the Joint Ways and Means Committee, and as co-chair of the subcommittee on Human Services Budget has enabled her to ensure that Oregon’s budget matches its values. In her first year in the Senate, she secured the largest investment in behavioral health in decades, directing funds to make long term improvements in residential capacity, development and diversification of the behavioral health workforce, and increased alignment of funding and services throughout the system.
Rob Nosse, Oregon State Representative
Rob Nosse is currently the state representative for HD 42 which consists of inner SE and a little sliver of NE Portland. He has been the state representative for this area of Portland since 2014. He currently services on the Ways and Means Committee where he is the sub-committee co-chair for human services and he also serves as Vice Chair of the House Behavioral Health Care Committee. With those two roles Representative Nosse was able to steer and over $350 million into a series of behavioral health bills and budgets one of the largest investments in behavioral and mental health in decades during the 2021 legislative session.
The Advocacy Award honors those who help foster healthy communities by demonstrating outspoken support for addiction treatment access and quality.