HD45: Cyreena Boston

By Cyreena Boston of Portland, Oregon. Cyreena is a candidate for House District 45. Learn more at www.FriendsofCyreena.com. Tomorrow we'll hear from Michael Dembrow.

CyreenabostonMy name is Cyreena Boston, Democratic Candidate for House District 45. I grew up in the Parkrose area of Northeast Portland, and now live in the Sumner neighborhood. I'm thankful to Blue Oregon for providing me this opportunity to reach out to voters and our local progressive community.

I first began a life in service when I was 10 years old – yes, 10 – when I volunteered to knock on doors for the Portland Organizing Project (POP). POP formed in 1990 to find community solutions to the problem of gang crime in Northeast Portland neighborhoods. POP helped create a citywide ordinance that cracked down on absentee landlords. Through POP I became part of a grassroots effort to make NE Portland a better place; and because of POP, I began to self-identify as an activist.

As I grew up, I worked in neighborhood parks organizing food co-ops, summer day camps, and voter registration drives. After attending Spelman College in Atlanta, I made the decision to return home to give back to Oregon, which had given so many great things to me. I took a job in Multnomah County SUN Schools, case managing over 150 children and families in Faubion Elementary, Sabin Elementary, Beaumont, Binnsmead, and HB Lee Middle Schools. A big part of my job in these schools was to coordinate safety net services for health care, rental assistance, and hunger relief. After that, I worked at the Democratic Party of Oregon as its Constituency Director. I reached out to diverse communities from Portland and rural Oregon, trained grassroots activists, and helped take back the House in the 2006. It was a great job, and through it I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of you!

During the 2007 legislative session, I coordinated grassroots lobbying for key bills such as House Bill 2871, which capped the interest rates for pay day loans. I also worked to encourage people to come testify on House Bill 2007 and Senate Bill 2, which extended anti-discrimination protections to the GLBT community and established domestic partnerships to help all families thrive.

And now, I am running to be the next State Representative from Northeast Portland, Maywood Park, and my native Parkrose. Since August, I've gone door-to-door asking voters what issues are important to them. Out of that, I've formulated an upstream platform for the Common Good of our neighborhoods and the future of Oregon.

My biggest priorities are improving the continuum of public education from Early Head Start to college, stabilizing human and health services, environmental sustainability and securing funds for job training and apprenticeship programs. Like most responsible Democratic legislators, I also support raising our outdated corporate minimum and eliminating the corporate kicker.

I will also bring a unique perspective to the debate over health care reform because of my work as a policy analyst for Multnomah County's Health Department. My experience in our schools, and the research I conduct for the county, have convinced me that - in addition to a universal health care system - we need to work to address the social determinants of health such as dirty air, congested roads, unpreserved green spaces, and lack of jobs. A more comprehensive view of what constitutes a health policy will make Oregon a better place, and save us all money in the long run.

Becoming a conscious candidate by thinking critically about the role of the Oregon Legislature has been a remarkable experience. And now, this experience is nearly over.

As we approach the primary election there are two more things I'd like to express. Being in a competitive primary means that voters have the chance to choose between three Democrats, with similar opinions. My background informs my perspective that our legislature needs a lawmaker who has hands-on experience in the communities she seeks to represent. I have a record of making great things happen, by standing in the gap as an organizer, an advocate for children and families, a political staffer, and a policy writer. Good public policy must reflect the real needs of real people.

And, as a younger candidate, a person of color, and a woman I look forward to mobilizing people from all walks of life, bringing them into the legislative process, and owning what belongs to the public - our government. Diversity impacts the magnitude of our laws, their credibility, and their chance to be long lasting and useful. Having citizens from all walks of life in our legislative assembly ensures an opportunity for this to occur.

A vote is not only an honor to be earned, it is an endorsement of similar values, and a belief that the critical future of Oregon lies on the hands of legislators who are present in their community - with the proven energy and skills to move toward a brighter future. I thank you for your consideration; it has been an honor to be your candidate for HD 45. I hope that you, along with the elected, political action, labor, business, and residential communities will support me with a vote on the May 20, 2008 election.



P.S. To learn more about me, contact my campaign, or sign up to volunteer, please visit my website www.friendsofcyreena.com.

  • David M. (unverified)

    I'm supporting Ms. Boston because her opponent Mr. Coney is too close to "Tax 'em Sam" Adams; I think he wants to hit Portlanders with all sorts of new taxes and fees/higher fees to re-make Portland into another San Francisco.

  • David McDonald (unverified)

    Cyreena, what is your position on disability issues and civil/human rights? What do you think needs to happen for people with disabilities in N.E. to fully participate in their community?

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    I've known Cyreena for several years and know her to be intelligent, thoughtful, and analytical. I believe HD45 is truly fortunate to have her as a candidate. Maybe a bearded carpenter from NE OR doesn't seem real relevant as an endorser, but I do pay close attention to those I associate with and to politics and I'd campaign hard for Cyreena if she were running in my HD.

  • Jenny Greenleaf (unverified)

    I live in District 45, and I am going to be very proud to have Cyreena Boston as my legislator.

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    I first met Cyreena in early 2006 as we worked together on the Celsi Dinner. From there I went to work with her even more through my work as a Mult Dems staffer and in doing web work for the DPO. The more I learned about Cyreena and the more I worked with her, the more impressed I was. She has a great understanding of the community in Portland, especially in her district.

    When she told me last year she was running for the seat, I was very excited. I think she would be an excellent choice to represent the district down in Salem.

    I would say that I wished I lived in the district so I could vote for her, except that I'm highly looking forward to voting for Nick Kahl in just a few days, as well as this November, as we turn HD 49 blue.

    Disclaimer: I built the Friends of Cyreena Boston web site, but I speak only for myself and not the campaign.

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    Cyreena Boston was a highly dynamic and effective leader within the DPO in her former role as Constituency Outreach Director. She worked very actively with the DPO GLBT Caucus, and was a major asset towards helping us get on our feet, organizationally.

    Cyreena is smart, effective, and organized. She will be a great asset to our State, working in Salem, and I hope HD45 gives her that chance.

  • Cyreena Boston (unverified)

    Cyreena, what is your position on disability issues and civil/human rights? What do you think needs to happen for people with disabilities in N.E. to fully participate in their community?


    Thank you for the question. One thing that the Legislature can do to improve the lives of people with disabilities is to help fund Centers for Independent Living in Oregon. Centers for Independent Living are organizations run by people with disabilities, for people with disabilities. These centers help people with disabilities maintain their independence and a meaningful quality of life.

    These centers also have a demonstrated record of cost savings because the services these centers provide help keep people out of institutional environments.

    More information can be found on the DHS website: http://whalespoken.org/DHS/vr/silc/gen-info.pdf

    The legislature can continue to ensure that people with disabilities are accommodated by public transportation, such as creative ride and bus programs, by fully funding Ride Connection and Project Independence.

    As a public health policy writer who looks at ways to improve the lives of people from all walks of live, I look forward to working on these issues in the Oregon House.

    Thank you!

    Cyreena Boston

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    Not to pimp LO, but all you need to know about Cyreena's qualities as a human being comes out in this piece I did on her. I look forward to seeing Ms. Boston take the oath in January!

  • David McDonald (unverified)

    Thanks for your thoughtful answer to my question Cyreena. Thank you also for visiting my blog devoted to disability related issues. I replied to your comment there. Good luck!

  • Dick & C.C. Landis (unverified)
    <h2>My wife C.C. and I owe a lot to Cyreena Boston for what she taught us about constituency building. She was a bright progressive light when it came to openness and the need for diversity at the DPO. Our local organization WOODBURN UNITED was a direct outcome of her encouragement and mentoring. We are a Latino, Russian, and old white guys community in Woodburn and we are coming together behind Barack Obama. I heartily recommend Cyreena to the residents of HD 45 as charismatic uniter who will make you proud as your Representative. This is not the last political office she will hold but you have a chance to make it her first.</h2>
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