HD42: Jules Kopel-Bailey

By Jules Kopel-Bailey of Portland, Oregon. Jules is a candidate for House District 42. Learn more at www.JulesforOregon.com. Yesterday we heard from Teddy Keizer.

JuleskopelbaileyBlue Oregon has invited me to submit a column on my race for State Representative in House District 42. Detailed information on my background, experience, and policy positions is available at www.julesfororegon.com. I want to focus on the enormous opportunity we have to create a new economy for Oregon.

Campaign rhetoric will not be enough to get us there. The process of running for office is warping. The mechanical reiteration of talking points makes new ideas seem stale. The endless chest thumping and answers to the question, “why should I vote for you and not your opponent?” leads candidates to view themselves through the prism of opposition. Fundraising denominates policy priorities in dollars. This is the nature of public process, of the need to make an informed choice. Candidates bend and twist into a brand, a process antithetical to good leadership.

Yet as I’ve engaged in conversations with voters at the doorstep, I have been refreshed at people who care about and understand the issues at stake – and they are looking for leadership from our elected officials. Often a quick conversation turns into a discussion of tax policy, brainstorming on education funding, or sharing stories of struggling with health care. This district is both an opportunity and a responsibility. It is composed of voters who have as much to teach as to learn, and for whom talking points and idealism mean little without the experience and policy to back it up.

Right here in Southeast Portland a group of neighbors is creating a truly innovative and local solution to our energy and education problems. By using renewable energy and ground-source heat to make hot water at Sunnyside School and distribute that thermal energy to 100 homes and businesses, the SunNE project has the potential to provide green power, funding for school infrastructure, a critical teaching tool, and a community solution to energy. I am proud to serve on the Advisory Board, and will bring my economic training to bear to help get this project implemented.

But why stop there? Last week I talked with nurses in our district who are working on expanding school health programs so that schools become the community center for health care and a resource for both parents and children throughout the week. In my graduate work I modeled school completion rates and showed that students that have more connections to their school will go on to complete their education. Why not have schools that are the node for the community, integrating health care, education, energy, and community activity?

When neighbors in Northeast Portland came together to fight a proposed Wal-Mart, I worked with a team of community activists and wrote the economic report that was part of the package that helped keep Wal-Mart out. We have a quality of life in Oregon that is unmatched, and one that we must fight to protect. I worked with community coalitions across Oregon when I worked for Secretary of State Bill Bradbury and know how to build coalitions that will preserve what makes Oregon special and lead us into the future.

This election is an opportunity to elect a progressive who can combine liberalism and economics; to elect someone who can demonstrate why the money spent building prisons is better spent on addiction and mental health treatment; to make the case that tax breaks for corporations are better spent on funding K-12 education, community colleges, and higher education; to have the credibility to build a consensus that climate change is both our greatest challenge and our greatest economic opportunity.

Oregon is facing declining state revenues, crumbling roads, failing schools, health care that is out of reach for far too many, and a global ecosystem dangerously out of balance. The tools to solve these problems exist today and we need only take them up to make ours the state that finally shows the world that investing in our economy means investing in people, and the environment that supports it all. It is an opportunity not only to do what’s right, but to do well by it, too.

We must choose the path for Oregon carefully. Where will our state be in 30 years? Will we have demonstrated our commitment to solving our social, environmental, and economic problems and led by example? Will we have taken risks, innovated, and challenged ourselves and the nation?

I have seen what happens when we take the wrong road. I have looked into the eyes of a child made homeless by two nations fighting over an oil field. I have seen nurses too overworked and desperate to care that they are exposed to HIV every day. I have been to a place where sunrise is greeted by the eerie silence of generations of poisoned songbirds.

I will not choose the road we take. No single person will. It will take a coalition, and this district will lead the way. You must remind whoever is elected that the job of governing is far different from, and even in opposition to, the job of being elected. Your next State Representative must shed the campaign and begin to grow beyond it on May 21st. I would be honored to have that opportunity.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Jules, I think you make many great points. I especially like how you relate the specifics of your experience -- the Sunnyside School project and Wal-Mart -- back to the excellent progressive ideals they represent.

    I can see why the Oregonian endorsed you, saying that you have "the potential to be a key player in a 'freshman revolution' that could accomplish meaningful things in Salem for the entire state, not just Southeast Portland." That, and I always like it when my friends at the OLCV, Oregon Education Association, Sierra Club, and the working familes of many unions think the same way.

    It's an embarrassment of riches for this seat. But I wish wish wish I could come on down to SE Portland and vote for you... although I am still thrilled to be voting for Ben Cannon in the NE!

    Go Jules!

  • (Show?)

    We do have an embarrassment of riches in the 42nd--my home district. Jules has knocked on my door twice (no one home either time--sorry, Jules!), and Regan stopped by, caught my wife in and impressed her. It's also painful, too. I hope to see these candidates in politics over the next decade and beyond--and not just the one who ultimately wins in May.

  • Tresa (unverified)
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    Wow.

    Voters in SE are truely blessed to have the opportunity to vote for Jules.

  • Jonathan (unverified)
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    I wish I didn't have to make a choice between such great candidates. After reading all three, I have decided to vote for Jules because his comments addresses the larger, structural issues facing Oregon, along with very real, local solutions. However, I will be proud to be represented by any of the three running for the House seat.

  • PSJackson (unverified)
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    I have been deeply impressed by Jules' broad thinking on the issues. In the time I have spent with him he was always asking deep, hard questions, the kind of questions that the people in Salem should be asking. He is also a homegrown kid who knows a lot about our District. If we send Jules to Salem, we would be making a significant contribution to the governance of this state. Jules, I like your thinking.

    BTW, Jules has been walking so much he has lost over fifteen pounds.

    Shane Jackson District Leader, HD42, Multnomah County Democratic Party

  • Anonymous politico (unverified)
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    I have two areas of concern.

    Beer & Wine Tax?: Big revenue reform is good to push on, but to support schools and more we need to consider other mechanisms, such an increased beer and wine tax, currently among the highest in the nation. Jules has come out against an increased beer and wine tax, hopefully a position that is unrelated to the fact that such folks are his biggest campaign contributors. Jules explained that such taxes were regressive, but can't the same thing said for tobacco taxes? Does he oppose those also? Both activities have social costs and have roughly the same justification for taxation. If we don't have ironclad support for revenue in inner Southeast Portland, how can we expact it in Outer Portland or the rest of Oregon? I hope Jules will reconsider his position on beer & wine taxation.

    A "Dave Hunt Democrat": Also, Jules has described himself as a "Dave Hunt Democrat." Dave Hunt is one of the more conservative/moderate Democrats in the House. A bit concerned about that. This district is one that needs a true progressive, and preferably a very independent progressive. It's the district that gave more votes to Ralph Nader than to Bush in the 2000 election, for heaven's sake. Not sure he is all that independent; his support comes across as pretty much Democratic establishment interest groups. I'll settle for really progressive, but not sure if Jules fits the bill there either.

    Anyhow, Jules is a neat person, and maybe a better swing district candidate, but those are my two areas of concern.

  • (Show?)

    While I work for an organization - the Oregon League of Conservation Voters - and volunteer for another - Bike Walk Vote - that endorsed Jules, I also personally believe he's an amazing candidate.

    All three candidates bring good values, high energy, and dedication.

    But I think Jules will be a champion. Jules' educational and professional background bring a sophistication and depth about policymaking that are rarely seen in citizen legislators. I hope you all get to meet Jules. And even if you don't, I hope you vote for him.

  • PSJackson (unverified)
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    About my OP

    I forgot to say that that posting was not an endorsement. It was just an informed opinion.

    Shane Jackson District Leader, HD42, Multnomah County Democratic Party

  • Eric Stachon (unverified)
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    To "anonymous politico"

    Jules not progressive? independent? Have you met Jules, heard him speak, gone to his web site, read the statement he just posted that you ought to be responding to?

    Get a grip.

    It's true, we have 3 great candidates in HD 42. I am a proud Jules supporter. He has the talent, intellect & passion for helping Oregon address the serious challenges we face.

    I'm with Evan. If you live in Dist 42, I hope you get to meet Jules. When you do, you'll understand why we're so enthusiastic about his candidacy.

  • A (unverified)
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    "Sophistication and depth about policymaking" I have seen little evidence of that. He proposes to go to Salem and enact a carbon tax. How the heck is he going to do that. With 31 Ds there are at most, 26 votes for such a tax. That leaves you at least 10 short. Ds pick up maybe, maybe 2 seats (at best this cycle) How are you going to get Republicans to vote for such a tax when there is little agreement that this is good policy? That is not sophistication, that is naive....

  • Amiel Handelsman (unverified)
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    Let me second Jeff Alworth in saying that I hope all of these candidates stay involved regardless of who wins the primary. We need all the talent and smarts we can find.

    Plus just consider how many famous politicians lost their very first race for office - Abe Lincoln and Bill Clinton (to name two very different people from different time periods) come immediately to mind. If the goal is to have a positive impact over the next 5, 10, 25 years, this great race in 42 is just one step along the way.

  • (Show?)

    Gee, another HD42 thread, another chickenshit anonymous poster slamming Jules for an opinion he's explained numerous times. Sigh...

  • Anonymous politico (unverified)
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    Eric, I've met Jules and heard him speak. I don't think he's a bad guy or some hidden right-winger. Maybe just not quite as progressive or as independent as that district deserves. And I stuck to specifics to make that case.

    Honestly, I'm not in the pocket of any other candidate, nor have I fully made up my mind. I think I'm leaning towards Teddy. Regan seems like she will be a bit more beholden to the lobby, particularly to labor, and some of her corporate and lobby donations make me nervous. If Teddy wins, it will be entirely on the shoulders of his Herculean walking efforts. That is laudable and gives hope that he will have a foundation for independent judgment. We are going to have a very young legislature, no offense to young people out there, and Teddy's few added years of experience might help.

    I hope that I have not hurt Teddy by saying nice things about him here. This shouldn't be a negative campaign, all three are fine people, and I don't want to tear anyone down. I like Jules's energetic ambition, but I have a few concerns about him.

  • Anonymous politico (unverified)
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    I admit in this case that I am pretty chickenshit in this case. Sorry. I don't want to take away from the discourse, only add to it.

    I know Jules has explained the tax position. That did not explain it away though.

    Also, his recent Dave Hunt analogy, combined with that tax position, makes me nervous.

    Explanations about the kind of Democrat he will be would be helpful. Truly a Dave Hunt Democrat or will he fit more of a mold of some of the nearby legislators?
    ++ Chip Shields? (hard-and-full-support for anything pushed by liberal interest group and with expertise on an area. In Chip's case prison reform)
    ++ Diane Rosenbaum? (taking almost all cues from labor leaders) ++ Ben Cannon? (good government progressive) ++ Jackie Dingfelder? (progressive focused on enviro issues, and women's issues too) ++ Dave Hunt? (smart guy looking for chances to mollify the AOI and business leaders but still keeping the D team together)

    Jules will carve his own path, of course, but a Dave Hunt Democrat is very different from a Rosenbaum, Shields, Cannon, or Dingfelder Democrat. Dave Hunt is a fine person, but I don't know that his brand of Democrat fits the district as well.

    I do not intend to litter this thread by posting again. I am sure others have important things to write as well.

  • (Show?)

    I'm confident in Jules' progressive cred, and your anonymous sniping doesn't do anything to change that.

  • (Show?)

    At the risk of treating anonymous attacks seriously:

    There's widespread agreement among economists and environmentalists that we need both cap and trade and a carbon tax.

    The House Democrats may add up to five seats this November, or they may stay even - it's up to the voters. Nor is global warming solely a partisan issue.

    We may not get to a carbon tax. But that doesn't mean it's naive to talk about its benefits and try to get there. It means it's treating our generation's largest challenge seriously, instead of caving in to start.

    And that's why I think Jules is needed.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    I don't understand why candidates don't chime in in the comments of these threads.

  • anonymous politico Jr. (unverified)
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    James X--

    Candidates don't chime in because their consultants tell them not to. Also, they've got many more important things to do in the final weeks of a heated campaign.

  • (Show?)

    Well, as a political consultant who advises on internet strategy, my advice is that YES, candidates should chime in.

    A bit more detail: I recommend that they answer respectful questions posed honestly -- while ignoring attacks from anonymous jerks.

    Also, keep in mind that commenting on a blog can easily be done late at night, when you can't knock on doors, dial for dollars, meet with voters, or talk to the media. So, don't be surprised if you're not seeing a lot of mid-day chatter from candidates.

  • Ole Barn (unverified)
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    I have two comments: 1.) I have had the privilege of working with Jules on political activities during the last presidential election cycle. I found him to be a hard worker and far above average in intelligence. However, I am not supporting him in this race. The citizens of his district will be well served if he wins, or if Reagan wins.

    2.) Dave Hunt is my legislator. Democratic Party activists may consider him to be conservative because most of them are quite liberal. After working with Dave over the last six years, I have found him to be a thoughtful moderate. His integrity and principles are beyond reproach. He is respectful of all positions he encounters during the political process and will change his stance given a sound reason to do so.

  • Zach (unverified)
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    <h2>Anonymous Politico, why would you suggest that Jules represent a 'swing district' instead of the one in which he grew up, and actually lives? He is the only candidate in this race who has the background and experience needed to actually create some real policy reform in Salem - as opposed to simple well-meaning bandaid solutions.</h2>
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