By Lew Frederick of Portland, Oregon. Lew is a longtime community activist, journalist, and former BlueOregon contributor.
HD 43 deserves a representative who is ready, who knows the issues, who understands the process and who knows the personalities in N/NE Portland, in Salem and across our state, a representative who is prepared to make vital decisions that will have lasting impacts on our community and our state.
I bring a combination of experience, expertise and vision for the future, all of which are essential to making the right things happen.
I’ve seen our education system as a teacher, an active parent, a reporter, a Public Information Officer and a member of the State Board of Education. We know a lot about what works. Sometimes I think that calls for “innovation” and experimental programs are merely attempts to avoid the obvious: that preparing our kids for the future is going to require more resources than we are currently providing.
- Structure elementary schools to provide individual attention to make sure that every student learns to read and write, gets a solid foundation in math, science and civics, and experiences expanded horizons in arts, music and culture.
- Address the fact that a significant part of the “achievement gap” can be traced to a “gap” in opportunities outside of school. This means committing to access to preschool programs, after school programs that extend the learning day, homework assistance and summer opportunities. It means making the internet accessible even to our poorest students, outside of school. It means removing barriers to participation in sports, music, and other after school activities that engage students.
- Support aspiring teachers with meaningful mentorship as they learn their craft. Recognize our best teachers with compensation for teaching the next generation of professionals.
I was an AFT member. As the shop steward for KGW-TV News and a Board member for AFTRA I negotiated the contract for Channel 8 that stands today. In that initial contract, of the 33 issues we brought to the table, we won 32. It is the only local television station in Portland with a union.
I have been a champion for working families, and those who wish they were working, throughout my life, even when it meant political and personal financial risk in meetings behind closed doors. Sometimes I won. Sometimes I lost. But always I made sure the views of working people were in front of decision makers.
In North and Northeast Portland we need to see:
- Project contracts made accessible to small and medium sized contractors, so that they can build capacity and keep resources in the local economy.
- Access to small business loans and other assistance.
- Development of a diverse business mix that includes small manufacturing.
- Clean-up of small contaminated sites (brownfields) so that the 1500+ such sites in North and Northeast Portland can be returned to productive use.
We are not going to solve our environmental challenges unless we figure out how to solve them for poor people. That means paying attention to things like improving air quality near freeways, cleaning up lead paint in homes, decontaminating small brownfields in neighborhoods and developing a local economy that minimizes the need for car travel.
I want to address problems that may not be flashy but affect lots of people, issues that require knowledge of education, science, health, jobs, housing and historical context, issues that require a vision of what sort of Portland, and Oregon, we want to be in the future.
My experience is both broad and deep, reflecting both my curiosity and my love for the people around me and the world we live in. My resumé touches Science, Community Relations, Media, Education, Mediation, Health care, Civil Rights, and Organizing. I’ve worked on Boards as varied as the National PTA and the OSU College of Science Board of Visitors, OMSI and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I have worked in Television, Radio, Teaching and even bucking hay and chopping thistles. As the Public Information Director for the Portland Schools I dealt with crises and I facilitated communication both directions, between the community and leadership of the school district.
But awhile ago I had a wake up call. A prostate cancer diagnosis clears the mind of distractions, and it reminded me of two stark realities: Physical health is fragile, and so is financial health. Even with medical insurance, I’ll likely be paying off the cost of the surgery and treatments for the rest of my life. No one should be sick because they can’t afford health care and no one should go broke because they get sick.
I’ve been actively listening to your concerns and dreams, and building strategies to make these happen. I know I can do that for the people in District #43. I hope you will help me be that champion.