Oh, it’s just so hard to be a Democrat in Southeast Portland. Often, our choices are between one great Democrat and gee, another great Democrat. Such is the case with the race to replace Representative Diane Rosenbaum, who, in a case of Oregon legislative shuffle, is running for Kate Brown’s seat, who is running for Secretary of State.
Regan Gray is a young, very energetic candidate who has been Diane Rosenbaum’s chief of staff. She knows the Salem scene in and out, and has worked diligently in pursuit of a broad legislative agenda. She has made a name for herself working for progressive social issues, like Paid Family Leave and GLBT rights – it seemed that I got e-mails from her in the very, very late night hours about these issues. She’s been endorsed by, oh let’s see, Basic Rights Oregon, Planned Parenthood, Oregon NARAL, AFSME and SEIU. Two legislators who I always, always agree with, Tina Kotek and Chip Sheilds, have also endorsed her, along with Rosenbaum, of course. Seems like a no-brainer, right?
Well, not so much. The person running against her, Jules Kopel-Bailey, is also very impressive. He’s another young, very energetic candidate whose got environmental issues down pat and has a solid background in economics. He’s currently an Economist and a Sustainable Development Specialist at the consulting firm ECONorthwest. He’s worked on issues like carbon taxes, fighting WalMart, and has strong credentials on any number of other progressive issues – GLBT rights, funding for education, etc. His endorsers include John Kitzhaber, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, the Oregon Educational Association, the Sierra Club and an assortment of unions. He’s also been endorsed by two Metro leaders who I greatly respect, Robert Liberty and Rex Burkholder.
Whew. That should be enough of a choice, right? No, we still have Teddy Keizer, yet another young, very energetic guy. He’s an organizer for Stand for Children and has worked for Coos Bay State Senator Joanne Verger. He worked on Tom Potter and John Kerry’s campaign, as well as the No on 36 effort. He lists only three issues as his top priorities, health care, the environment, and education, but that’s a good list, right? He’s been endorsed by a shorter list of organizations, but has the support of folks like Mike Houck and Dan Saltzman (he also lists Rex Burkholder as an endorser -- Rex, who is it going to be?).
Repeat candidate Gordon Hillesland is running as well. His list progressive credentials does not seem to be as long, but he’s still a solid Democrat.
So, what’s a progressive Democrat to do? Any ideas, BlueOregon readers?