By Teddy Keizer of Portland, Oregon. Teddy is a candidate for House District 42. Learn more at www.GoTeddyGo.com. Yesterday we heard from Regan Gray, and tomorrow we'll hear from Jules Kopel-Bailey.
I believe the job of a state representative is straightforward: work every day to uphold the social contract; maintain the highest degree of integrity; and work selflessly and tirelessly to listen to and improve the quality of life for all people.
This campaign isn’t about one issue – be it reforming a dilapidated health care system, the challenges associated with climate change and transitioning to a non-carbon based economy, or funding education. It’s about improving our communities, helping our families, and assisting those struggling with mental illness and homelessness. It’s about electing a person who believes Oregonians deserve good health, who has the experience to understand that education counts, who’ll defend the civil rights of all people, and who will fight to keep Oregon green and protect human health, our water resources, and environment. In short, it’s about tirelessly advocating for the health, safety, and welfare of all people and doing so without being beholden to special interests.
I am running to represent HD42 in the legislature because I love Oregon and believe in the benefits to people and society from promoting progressive values.
My public service inside and outside the legislature gives me the experience necessary to get the job done. As Senator Joanne Verger’s Legislative Assistant, I played a key role in 2005 and 2007 in expanding the Bottle Bill. I also worked with a coalition of public health and school advocates to bring healthy food to our schools. As the State Organizer for Stand for Children, I worked with parents, teachers, and concerned citizens to successfully lobby the legislature for $260 million in additional school funding. I am also the son, brother, and husband of teachers and have worked myself as a teacher, coach, and tutor. Also, I’ve developed a first-hand understanding of issues facing working families as well as for people’s struggles with health care costs, in making ends meet, and the obstacles to upward mobility. Since I have experienced these difficulties myself, I am able to empathize and relate to the struggles that many Portlanders and Oregonians currently face.
Let’s face it, great policy solutions are only part of the equation: we need a representative from HD42 who will build coalitions with elected officials and community leaders throughout the state and understands the values of both rural and urban communities. In pursuing our progressive agenda, Democrats need to be aggressive and diligent. I am the candidate who will bring these skills and this approach to Salem.
At their core, the solutions are simple: we must reduce class sizes, extend the school year, and bring back to our curriculum basics like Art, Music, and PE. We must control health care costs by holding health insurance companies accountable, containing costs, and by adopting a proactive health care ethos that delivers on the promise that Oregonians deserve good health. We have a vital interest in protecting our environment and standing up to those who have a financial interest in destroying and polluting it. Our legislators must exercise the political will to address tough issues like raising the corporate minimum tax, redirecting the kicker into the rainy day fund, and enacting tough reforms and incentives that will move us rapidly toward a sustainable economy.
We must be creative. Landmark legislation like the Bottle Bill, access to public beaches, and land use planning helped Oregon be recognized as one of the best, most beautiful and most progressive states. The current health care and climate change crises give us the opportunity to continue this legacy of progressive policy. A tremendous economic and moral opportunity exists for Oregon to lead in the transition to a low-carbon economy, and I’ll make sure we continue to be a model for the nation. My experience and hard work on the environment, education, and public health make me the best choice to represent HD42 and spearhead these policy solutions.
Getting to know my neighbors has been the most valuable piece of this campaign, and in my eyes is the role of a legislator since I will speak and vote on behalf of the people in our neighborhoods. It has been invigorating discussing issues and concerns raised by the voters. By the time you read this I'll have personally knocked on almost 9,000 doors in HD42, and had conversations with thousands of people.
The people in HD42 know the challenges Oregon faces as well as any of us, and they also know that with hard work, we will overcome them.
Finally, I want to express my deep appreciation for the endorsements of community leaders and supporters. Together, I know we can make Oregon an even better place.
I appreciate your support this May!