Meet the Democrats: David Edwards

DavidedwardsElected this November, David Edwards will represent HD 30 (map) in northern Washington County. Previously, his district was held by Republican Derrick Kitts.

Edwards grew up in Hillsboro and is the founder of a market research company. Previously, he worked as a legislative analyst for the Oregon Economic Development Department. Learn more at

We asked Representative-elect Edwards a few questions:

What was the best job you've had that didn't involve politics?

Teaching Freshman Writing at the University of Southern California

What's the most important issue facing Oregon? What's the long-term solution, and what can be done in the short term?

The most pressing issue facing our state is improving our public schools. In order to create the jobs of the future, we need to invest wisely in our public schools, with more resources for the classroom and reforms to ensure our children can compete and win in the global economy.

My initial goals in this area include: guaranteeing a full school year, fully-funding Head Start, ensuring a full-day of Kindergarten and lowering class sizes, starting in Kindergarten through third-grade.

A long-term solution involves developing a unified, transparent budget that cuts across the full spectrum of education from Kindergarten through higher education, so lawmakers better understand the trade-offs involved in funding quality programs and invest in those that yield the greatest return for our tax dollars.

If you found yourself alone with an entire day all to yourself, how would you spend it?

Re-reading Immanual Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysic of Morals; I seldom have sufficient time to reflect on grand philosophical issues outside of those associated with public service.

What books have you read lately?

Martin Amis, The War Against Cliché Gordon S. Wood, The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin E. O. Wilson, On Human Nature

Name one Oregonian, past or present, who inspires you - and tell us why.

The Oregon politician I admire most is our 30th governor, Tom McCall (governor from 1967 to 1975). I admire his principled commitment to conservation and land-use planning in the face of a skeptical public.

Under Gov. McCall, we passed the country's first 'bottle bill,' cleaned up the Willamette River, extended public ownership of the state's beaches, and created the first statewide land-use planning system. Unlike many of today's politicians, Gov. McCall consistently put people above politics.

Ducks or Beavers?

Ducks! (I'm a U of O grad)

Tell us one thing that no one knows about you.

How about something only one person knows about me? When we were dating, I wrote embarrassingly bad poetry for my wife.

As a first-term legislator, what do you hope to accomplish?

Simply put, I hope to work across the aisle to pass legislation that will have a meaningful, positive impact on the everyday lives of my fellow Oregonians. As part of a new Democratic majority, I want to regain the public's trust in state government, in part, by making good on my campaign promises, and at the same time, lay the groundwork for future, critical reforms like universal health care.

This session, I believe we should focus on a limited, but substantive agenda that ensures good governance, regardless of which party is in the majority or controls the governorship.

Why do you live in Oregon?

I grew up in Hillsboro and married my high school sweetheart. Given our network of immediate and extended family, my wife and I determined our home town would be the best place to raise our children.

Name three favorite movies.

As a former student in the University of Southern California's Filmic Writing (screenwriting) program, it's nearly impossible to limit my choices to three, but here goes (in no particular order): Wings of Desire, Citizen Kane, Raging Bull

What did you learn on the campaign trail that you didn't know before - about yourself, about your district, and about Oregon?

I was deeply touched by the spontaneous generosity of many constituents--folks like Andrew Rich, who hosted a wonderful house party for me after only one meeting at his doorstep.
  • Dave Porter (unverified)

    Congratulations on winning!!!!

    A question for you on China, the big issue that Thomas Friedman says will divide Democrats over the next two years.

    Robert D. Kaplan in his The Atlantic Monthly article (6/05) “How We Would Fight China,” subtitled “The Middle East is just a blip. The American military contest with China in the Pacific will define the twenty-first century. And China will be a more formidable adversary than Russia ever was.” writes “Pulsing with consumer and martial energy, and boasting a peasantry that, unlike others in history, is overwhelmingly literate, China constitutes the principal conventional threat to America’s liberal imperium.”

    Do you think if more Oregon students learned Mandarin and spent time in China that the possibilities for war with China could be reduced? If yes, what does that mean for educational policies at the state level in Oregon where currently less than one percent of high school graduates have had two years or more of Mandarin?

    Good luck, David!!!!!

  • Brion Lutz (unverified)

    Good focus on education. Nice to see a lot of pro-education taxes pass this time.

    On the full school year...I see a lot of my friends struggling with day care...I don't but I'd pay for public schools to include day care. For working parents, knowing the kids had state certified program for their kids from pre to 12.

    Reading about how if you don't help kids early they are often lost by the time they hit kindergarten, wonder if doing a public school day care program wouldn't reduce costs and increase effectiveness of the rest of the kid's K-12 schooling?

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)

    Q: If you found yourself alone with an entire day all to yourself, how would you spend it?

    Dave Edwards: Re-reading Immanual Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysic of Morals; I seldom have sufficient time to reflect on grand philosophical issues outside of those associated with public service.

    Bob Tiernan: Oooh, how pretentious. Try David Chandler's "The Campaigns of Napoleon".

    Bob Tiernan

  • David Edwards (unverified)

    Thanks for the congratulatory notes. I'm honored to have this opportunity to represent my hometown and the surrounding area in Salem. I'll work hard to ensure we have an exceptionally productive session on the issues that matter most, including public education, health care and public safety. We--meaning the Legislative Assembly--have been given an historic chance to set state government on the proper foundations for good governance for the long-term.

    Bob, it appears you've confused personal passion for pretention. I've always had an affinity for moral philosophy. At USC, I studied with one of the world's foremost Kantian scholars. I endeavor to re-read Kant's introduction to his moral (or practical) philosophy each year because I've found it an especially powerful treatise on moral duty-something conservatives used to be well-versed in. Besides, if I were truly pretentious, I would've described reading the work in the original German.

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