I want to represent House District 43 in the Oregon Legislature.

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.

The Workplace

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:

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.

Thank you.


  • Henry Kraemer (unverified)

    Go, Lew, Go! You're exactly the kind of person I want to see serving in the State House: experienced, independent and deeply tied to the district. I've been honored to work with you as an activist and have you serve on the Bus Project Board of Directors.

    We've got an embarrassment of riches competing for HD 43 and I'd be honored to be represented by many of them, but with 35 years in the district, decades directly serving the community and many election cycles as a tireless activist, it's Lew's time.

  • (Show?)

    This one's a tuffy for sure. Glad I don't live in this district. When these kids (like Karol, and last year Serena Boston) show up on the radar bursting with intelligence, drive, and innovation, I just wanna support 'em. They have been walking their talk for a big portion of their somewhat shorter lives.

    Of course some of us Boomers, like Lew, might be said to have gone through this stage a couple of decades back. Lew's resume coupled with his people skills has to be the deal breaker on this one.

  • (Show?)

    Lew - you've served the community is so many ways for so many years, I wish you luck my friend! HD43 will be lucky to have you as their representative, that's for sure.

  • (Show?)

    I consider you a thoughtful, qualified candidate. I do not live in your district. I am well represented by Representative Jules Bailey. But I have five statewide issue questions that I would ask each of the candidates. These are the five issue I care the most about. I previously asked Karol Collymore four of these questions online. She answered them all. I know this is asking a lot, but I’ll put the questions out there anyway. Answer what you want. I’ve made the questions shorter here.

    1. Would you support statewide measures to get more students fluent in Mandarin? Do you have thoughts on whether more of the students in your district should study Mandarin? Why is there not a Mandarin immersion program in your district?

    2. Would you support legislation, costing no additional state or local dollar, to send high school students to study abroad?

    3. What is your position on the Columbia River Crossing proposal?

    4. For transportation, we are too dependent on foreign oil. Would you support a substantial, revenue-neutral, phased-in gas tax? If not, what would you support? A carbon tax? A cap-and-trade system?

    5. Do you have thoughts on what should happen to the Boardman coal-fired power plant? Should it be closed down? Or upgraded to clean out carbon and other pollutant emissions?

  • LT (unverified)

    Dave and Lew,

    Your efforts (Dave on Mandarin, Lew on elementary schools) are well intentioned. But just talking about them doesn't get there.

    There are programs like AVID which teach "middle" secondary students (the ones with the 2.5 gpa, perhaps in a family which has never had anyone go to college) how to set goals and achieve them, as well as providing intellectual rigor. One main component is a plan--steps to a goal. Have you worked out those steps yet?

    What role do excellent principals and vice principals play in excellent schools? To my mind the best are worth their weight in gold. They are very practical, have good people skills, and can motivate and inspire staff.

    How many Oregonians live in school districts where school board members are willing to engage in dialogue with ordinary folks, in person or by email? How many board members, superintendents, and others in district management have an imperial attitude as if citizens have no right to question them? Do school board members act as the supervisors of the Supt., or as that person's subordinates?

    First, after stating the goal, you need to have the basics in place. Our district had a Chalkboard Project audit which came out very well in many areas. But, what would have been no surprise to many living here, their HR process is a mess. Regardless of whether the position open is certified (teacher, etc.) or classified (classroom or library asst., school secretary, computer expert, etc.), if qualified applicants take the attitude "why on earth would I want to apply there?", how does a school hire the best possible employees?

    For too many years there has been an attitude in this state that the pay packages and job performance of teachers (and other frontline workers) should be a topic of public discussion and microscopic examination.

    Administrators above the principal level, however seem to be exempt from that scrutiny--"gotta pay well to attract good people" approach which sounds like "whatever the market will bear". Management is infallible but front line workers must be watched like hawks? Hardly an atmosphere which rewards education as a profession!

    A local example is this. http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20090929/NEWS/909290328/1001&referrer=NEWSFRONTCAROUSEL

    WESD Supt. fired for, among other things, what look like financial improprieties.

    Do schools have the staff and funding to put your programs into place? I talked with a friend at the end of the summer who said an extra program was offered to the school where she works and staff reaction was "hours of support staff cut but you want us to get excited about a new program?"

    Mentorship is a great program. How many districts currently have that?

    About this: "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."

    Exactly how do you hope to provide that? I have worked in YMCA before/after school care. There is tremendous turnover. Tough to find high quality people willing to work at low pay, dealing (at best) with high energy kids who have just gotten out of school, working as an afternoon assistant for just a few hours a day or the before/after shift which amounts to a split shift over roughly a 12 hour period. (arrive at 6:45 AM, leave after school starts, go about 2:30 or so tobring snack from the Y, set up before school gets out, last students go home about 6pm). And that was just snack, homework/quiet time, and then organized playtime indoors or playground time in good weather.

    Some schools are lucky to be walking distance from a Boys and Girls Club, but not all. (There is one in Salem)

    Dave, is there currently a teaching certificate endorsement for Mandarin? Outside of private concerns (like ELCI in Monmouth) how many Mandarin speakers are there in Oregon? Without adequate funding, how many Oregon schools currently teach more than one foreign language?

    Goals are great, but logistics are where the "rubber meets the road".

  • Bob Textor (unverified)

    I am a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology from Stanford University, an Oregonian by choice for 19 years, and a former Member of the Metro Portland Future Vision Commission (1993-95). I am writing in strong support of Lew. I have known him for five years. Since we hang out in the same weekly conversation group, I would estimate that I have had, over those years, perhaps fifty hours of conversation with him. I know him well. I find him to be very well read and well informed on a remarkably wide range of issues, a determinedly dedicated educator, an authentic liberal in his political center of gravity, and a thinker who concentrates on practical ways to get good things done for all Oregonians, short-run and long-run. I don’t live in the 43rd District, so will not try to comment on specific issues there. But, with respect to Lew’s being able to understand, and work for, what’s good for people of Oregon, I find him to be top notch. I strongly support his appointment to the present vacancy, and will support his election thereafter. All Oregonians will be lucky to have him in our Legislature.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    It figures.

    Lew is not in my district, but it shows that the springboard to good Oregon politics somehow starts in the TV newsroom.

    McCall and Metzger come to mind...

  • (Show?)

    @LT Yes, you are right about logistics. That's why there were five bills in the 2009 legislative session to get the state moving on more Mandarin programs, bills to begin to put logistics into place. None passed. That's why what the new representative from District 43 thinks is important.

    Last I knew, and I don't follow this part closely, there was no teaching certificate endorsment for Mandarin.

  • (Show?)

    District 43 will have an over-abundance of great candidates to be their next representative. Lew stands out as a thoughtful, honest broker for his district and for Oregon.

    Usually a campaign is the process where a district has a chance to get to know their representative. As an appointee, this process is short-circuited. However in Lew's case, he already knows the issues of the district and is more than willing to do the work to make sure the district will know and feel connected to him.

    I hope you join me in supporting Lew Fredrick to be the next D43 representative.

  • (Show?)

    I have known Lew since we were broadcasters together in Portland. I was the President of AFTRA while he served on the board representing television news folks. He understood the needs of the broadcasters and served them well in his position.

    I know him to work hard and smart. Oregon school children have a champion in his position on the Oregon School Board. He is an excellent communicator, a visionary, and voters in his district would do well to support him in his quest to be their representative. He works tirelessly and has the qualities to make a great lawmaker.

    This is an exciting race and I am proud to support Lew!

  • (Show?)

    When I originally posted this guest column from Lew, I accidentally had it categorized as if it were from me. Obviously, I'm not a candidate for HD-43 - nor did I write Lew's post. These are Lew's words. I just copy and paste.

    It's now correctly categorized as a guest column. Thanks, Lew!

  • George T. Karnezis (unverified)

    As a largely retired educator but someone still involved in educational issues, I welcome Lew's candidacy and his observations on education.

    I'm concerned about the less than adequate public education available to Portland students. I applaud Lew's caution about "innovations" when we have solid research-based conclusions as to what "works." Reasonable class sizes and teaching loads can help teachers provide the individual attention students crave. I worry that such advantages (including others, eg. early foreign language instruction, physical education, the arts) are unevenly distributed and largely available only to those who can afford a private school or to those who, by chance,get their children into a charter school. Lew's experience as an educator reveals a sensitivity to the necessary conditions for teaching and learning, conditions which have been seriously compromised in the Portland Public Schools.

    The last issue of the NYTimes (9/27)Magazine is devoted to education. It's a good read, and a sidebar mentions programs like EDUCARE in Chicago that are worth emulating. "What works," again, is no secret. The problem is how we can have a revolution in our values so that we truly invest in the education we pretend to "value." I believe Lew is the sort of person capable of carrying such a revolution forward.

  • Alex Tinker (unverified)

    The 43rd district would be fortunate to have Lew as our advocate in Salem. We know he is committed to our community, having lived here for three decades. We know he has the experience and expertise to advance solutions to our greatest challenges - our health, our schools, our environment and economy - and we demonstrated that confidence in 2006, when the 43rd voted for Lew to be county comissioner.

    There are some solid candidates in this race, and perhaps more to come, but we need an advocate in Salem who is more than up and coming. We need someone who understands the history of N/NE Portland, who has the skills to listen to diverse stakeholders with equally diverse interests, take all those into account, and then go down to Salem and do the righ thing for us, no matter the financial and political pressures.

    The only candidate who I am confident can do that is Lew Ferederick, and that's why he has my full support.

  • LT (unverified)

    Dave, bill numbers please:

    "Yes, you are right about logistics. That's why there were five bills in the 2009 legislative session to get the state moving on more Mandarin programs, bills to begin to put logistics into place."

    And unless things have changed drastically in the last several years, having a majority of the legislature vote on your bills without a certificate endorsement for teaching Mandarin (or Asian languages or whatever) would mean that instruction could not happen until the endorsement existed.

    That was part of what I meant by logistics. That sort of thing doesn't have much of a following, but last I heard someone must be certified with an appropriate endorsement to teach any subject.

  • Steverino (unverified)

    Lew is a hack. Is now, always was. He'd be perfect for the legislature. Total captive of the usual Democrat interest groups who he has sucked up to for years.

  • Christy (unverified)

    with Lew over my years in Oregon politics, I am thrilled that he is running to be my state rep. True, there are other great candidates. But, Lew has decades in the district, decades which he has spent as an advocate with a clear commitment to public service. This matters to me. Having an education expert serve our district (especially our district) matters to me. Having someone familiar with the ins and outs of Salem matters to me. I am torn - as a young woman, I love the idea of another young woman in Salem (we only have one woman under 40, the indefatigable Rep. Sara Gelser) and there is certainly an intelligent, passionate young woman running for this seat. But, Lew's state policy experience matters a little bit more in an appointment process, without the arduous campaign to get to know the issues and the players. So, go Lew! Thank you for stepping up.

  • Christy (unverified)

    Hmm. Not sure what happened to the first few words of my post, but they were "Having met many times..."

  • fbear (unverified)

    Lew would make the Legislature a better place, that's for sure.

  • Jim Robison (unverified)

    Yes! I agree that Lew would be an excellent addition to the legislature, and I am glad he had decided to pursue this position. As a staunch Democrat (and, of course, District 43 is overwhelmingly Democratic) I am thankful to Lew for the tremendous work he has done in organizing in North and Northeast Portland to help get Democrats elected statewide, and to help pursue critical issues important to us in North and Northeast Portland.

    It's important to remember too that Lew has already proven that he has voter support in District 43. When he ran for County Commissioner, even though he was defeated in the larger County Commissioner District, he won the votes in the precincts that make up House District 43.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)

    You know Dave, why the push for Mandarin when the majority of Oregon public school children are failing basic English, Composition and Math?

    Ignorant in your own language will not lead to accomplishment in another language.

  • Jen Lewis (unverified)

    I have known Lew since I was a junior in high school, when I became involved in SUPER-SAC, the Superintendent's Student Advisory Council. Lew was the liaison between the students of Portland Public Schools and the district.

    I could transcribe pages of stories of what Lew has meant to me and how he has impacted my personal and professional lives. More importantly though, I know that Lew has impacted so many other young people in similar ways. Lew simply cares about his community and the people in it.

    I have had the opportunity to learn even more about Lew during the last few months. I have seen first-hand the good work that Lew has done with our students and schools, but it has been a fascinating experience to learn even more about Lew's impact in his local community and in the entire community of Oregon. Take, for example, his experience negotiating a contract for employees of KGW. I never knew that Lew was a union guy, but it doesn't surprise me that he would work so hard to ensure that employees and their families were treated fairly.

    Lew's broad range of skills and experiences set him on an entirely different level than typical political candidates. Lew is experienced and is ready to serve his community and state in this capacity.

    I don't live in HD 43, so I won't get the privilege of voting for Lew. But, I will be offering my evenings and weekends to make sure that we get Lew in the legislature where he belongs.

    Go Lew, Go!

  • (Show?)

    Lew is a very thoughtful person, with a deep commitment to the community and to public policy. While I do not live in his district, I have known Lew since working together in the grassroots in support of Howard Dean in the 2004 primaries, and believe with the depth and breadth of his background, as well as his sharp analytical mind, and honest compassion for others makes him ideally suited for the office he is seeking.

    I support Lew Frederick.

    Mitchell Gore Washington County Democratic Party Precinct Committee Person, precinct 417

    (former Multnomah County Democratic Party District Leader, District 24)

  • (Show?)

    It's about damn time you ran for the legislature. I'm with Mitchell Gore -- you've got my support! I tried for it back in '06 in a very Republican-dominated district. I know what you've decided to get yourself into so my hat's off to you!

    Lee Coleman WashcoDems PCP

  • JoeSmith (unverified)

    Reasons to support someone for the legislature: 1. Bright 2. Caring 3. Knowledgable -- both in general, and on issues affecting his or her constituents and the district 4. Straight (I refer to character, not orientation) 5. Progressive 6. Hard working 7. In touch with constituents 8. Free from control by any single issue group or orga- nization 9. Open to new ideas 10. Works well in groups 11. Courageous 12. Articulate That's a partial list...and I could go on. Lew comes up a ten on each one of those. It also is worth noting that in his run for the County board he knocked on over 2000 doors in District 43, and actually carried district 43 against Cogan, which gives him a huge head start in knowing and understanding me and my neighbors. (Yes, I live in 43.) He also isn't a ____-come-lately to supporting the Democratic Party, as an organiztion, and it is that organization whose support candidates now seek. He's an ideal choice.

  • chris #12 (unverified)

    I'm in 43. Who else is running, and who is the most progressive? There has to be someone to the left of Lew...

  • Alex Tinker (unverified)

    I believe Lew actually lost count around 3214 doors when he was getting out to talk with people during the '06 race - which translates to more than three pairs of shoes!

    When I was a canvasser, I'd be very pleased to hit 100 doors in a shift.

    Lew's commitment to hearing people out shows through in everything he does - whether it's the way he ran his campaign, the way he operated at PPS, his work on the school board, or anything Lew's been involved with - when he's on a team, you can rest assured that everyone's view will be taken into account, and he'll help the team find the best path forward.

    That's what we need in Salem.

  • Gary Marschke (unverified)

    Lew has long been an effective advocate and spokesperson for the district. Informed, engaged, inclusive, and insightful - the 'go-to' guy for perspective and advise. We need someone like him in the legislature.

  • (Show?)

    "Ignorant in your own language will not lead to accomplishment in another language."

    Your grammatical errors as just to emphasize your point, right, Kurt? ; )

  • (Show?)

    I’ve had the good fortune to work with Lew Frederick on many occasions during the last six years because of our involvement together in the Democratic Party of Oregon and the local Obama, Kerry, and Dean presidential campaigns.

    Lew is an exceptional leader and well respected in House District 43 because of his service as a teacher, reporter, and Democratic party activist. He also knows his way around Salem and will hit the ground running immediately in the legislature. I strongly urge my fellow PCPs to nominate Lew for state representative.

    Mac Prichard PCP – HD 42

  • Laura Westwood (unverified)

    Having been a lifelong resident of NE Portland myself, I am proudly supporting Lew for HD43. He has lived in N/NE Portland for over 35 years and knows the people and their issues intimately. As others have noted before, Lew carried HD43 during his run for county commissioner in 2006. As a PCP in 43, I look forward to giving Lew my vote this month!

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  • Fireslayer (unverified)

    Lew is good.

    When it came to the serious barricades and trench warfare in Oregon politics Lew was always there.

    He handles himself quite well and I doubt anyone will run against him with half the resume.

    Good luck!

  • Teri Mills (unverified)

    Thank you Lew for throwing your hat into the ring. Your tenacity, your energy, your compassion, your knowledge and your skill set will all be assets to the Oregon State Legislature. You have a way of looking at all sides of an issue, and you are never too busy to help others out when they are in need. I am proud to call you my friend, and I hope that you will be successful in this race.

  • Alex Tinker (unverified)

    Interested in learning more about Lew Frederick? Visit his new site.

  • Mark Kimbrell (unverified)

    "If we are going to be effective, it is time we address the 80% of inmates in our criminal justice system who suffer from mental illness and drug-related problems."

    "Improving public safety means a lot more than hiring more police officers – it demands that we change the way police relate to the community." --From Lew's website - http://www.lewfrederick.org/

    Lew's sentiments here are spot on! Oregon's poor, disenfranchised, mentally ill, incarcerated, and young people need Lew's voice in Salem. Everyone, let's get out there and show our support for this champion of human rights, and Oregon prosperity!

    In Solidarity, Mark Kimbrell

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