I want to represent district 22 in the Oregon Senate.
I’ve spent my career in public service. I started in politics at 21 in the trenches of campaign work in New Mexico. I worked first for Gore/Lieberman 2000 as African American outreach coordinator, then deputy director at the Democratic Party of New Mexico, development coordinator for Richard Romero for Congress in 2002 and finally at the State Capitol as a bill analyst. When I moved to Oregon, I worked for the American Heart Association, Pro-Choice Oregon, Basic Rights Oregon and Supreme Court Judge Virginia Linder.
I am an activist for my community. I believe that shows through my volunteer work with Basic Rights Oregon, Hands on Greater Portland and my year-long experiment hosting progressive dinner parties for small non-profits. It also shows in my writing at Blue Oregon and my current work for County Commissioner Jeff Cogen.
I threw my name in the ring for this seat because being a senator in Oregon is more than gaining clout, power or street cred, it’s a real responsibility to my community. It will be an honor – and a challenge - to quiet my own voice and to become a vessel for the concerns of my neighbors in North and Northeast Portland. These concerns include gentrification, two failing high schools in North Portland, tentative funding of human services, severe unemployment of people of color and continuing issues of equity around race and class. There are no miracle bills that will fix these issues. If there was, well, the kid I used to ride the bus with from St. Johns wouldn’t have to keep going to school in Woodstock. Solving our state’s complex issues takes the determination of an activist, the heart of a social worker and the brain of a strategist. It also takes the courage to put your ego aside and listen to the thoughts of others in order to make progress. I have what it takes.
I’m running because I want more young people and people of color representing their communities not just in district 22, but at all levels in Oregon. We need to be afforded the opportunities to not only ask for help, but to help ourselves. We need to be able to be role models to our own children and to show once and for all that leadership comes in all colors in Oregon. I would like to think being a representative for my neighbors at the state level is accessible for people like me; people that are young, experienced and willing to dedicate their lives in public service.
I also want to be clear: This is the job I want. For those of you who know me, it should be no surprise that this would be the next step in my career. I filed for this race at a time that may not have been comfortable for opinion makers, but it was entirely comfortable to me. An opportunity to be a senator is not something entered into lightly. I asked for advice from people I trusted, I deliberated and came to my own decision. For me, my best decisions are not made in haste. I did not have the chance to organize folks to come to that Multnomah County Democrats meeting last Thursday, but I walked in and made a case for myself and my neighborhood and made it to the top three.
I would be honored to have the chance to serve the people of District 22 and Oregon.