Lane County has the opportunity to appoint one of the strongest progressives I know.
In my travels around the state, I've had the opportunity to meet and work with Val Hoyle on several different campaign efforts. Val is a vocal progressive who also has a strong business background and the ability build coalitions to get things done. These skills will serve the Democrats in Salem well. She's served as the Chair of the Lane County Democrats and is even a member of Emerge Oregon's inaugural class.
House District 14 is not a traditional Eugene district. Although there is a 9% Democratic edge, the district is a mix of blue collar and rural voters who value more populist and traditional Democrats that will fight for working people. Val has the depth of experience and an ability to communicate with people at all levels.
Perhaps fortuitously, Val decided to work for State Senator Floyd Prozanski during the last legislative session, where she got hands on experience with the legislative process which can be invaluable for an incoming legislator.
Val has worked or volunteered on countless campaigns and progressive causes for decades. Not that I subscribe to the belief that one needs to earn their opportunity to be an elected official or need a ton of experience to prove their mettle, but if you do, I hope you will agree that Val truly fits that bill.
From working for Mo Udall and Jimmy Carter's presidential campaigns in New Hampshire to volunteering with Stand for Children here in Oregon, Val has been working hard and I know her support is valuable because since the day I met her, she's inspired me to get involved with what she's working on. Most recently, Val was a key factor in making sure that the progressive Kitty Piercy was able to remain mayor of Eugene despite a tough challenge.
Val currently spends her day working for the United Way of Lane County 100% Access Health Care Initiative, so she is gaining valuable insight on a debate that will unfortunately continue on until all Oregonians have health care.
The other candidate that is seeking the seat, Carol Horne Dennis, is also a solid progressive who is a Lane ESD board member and long time GLBT activist. If Val Hoyle wasn't in this race, she may also be a great opportunity.
So is Val going to seek the appointment? It sure sounds like it and I hope she does. I couldn't think of a better fit. Val: it's your turn!