After the fact: Lew Frederick, Karol Collymore and Eddie Lincoln are the three nominees to be presented to the Multnomah County Commissioners next week; the board will select one of the three to replace Chip Shields as Representative for House District 43. Frederick was the evening’s clear winner, garnering 54 of the 79 votes cast on the first ballot. As Shields was also a decisive selection for the Senate District 22 opening recently, and yet almost did not gain the seat, it’s not clear that being the choice of the nominating convention is sufficient for all the commissioners. We’ll see on October 22nd.
Now for the evening’s events, as they occured (with intermitent editorial comment).
The House District 43 nominating convention is being held at MLK Elementary in NE Portland. Before the Multnomah County Commissioners almost overturned the clear-cut choice fro SD 22, I would have said Lew Frederick was a lock for the seat (and deservedly so). But Karol Collymore’s surprise, but well-deserved, third-place finish at that convention, and then the Commission almost tossing aside the convention’s clear choice, it’s hard to say. Lew may have wrangled the necessary votes; Karol may have grabbed the momentum. She would make a great representative, but, in my view, Lew is far and away the most qualified and most deserving. HD 43 will come out a winner no matter what, but there are wins and then there are wins.
Wayne Kinney is back; this is approximately the 235th nominating convention he has led since the Legislature closed up shop. By my count, there will be 3 incumbents returning for the special session next year. But I think this should be the last of them, unless the governor appoints somebody to a board or commission to get them out of the Legislature (hm, perhaps there’s somewhere to stash Vic Gilliam).
79 PCPs registered to cast votes tonight. Mult Dems Chair KC Hanson got the show rolling, going through the necessary steps to get things official, then turned over the convention to DPO Rules Chair (and DNC member) Wayne Kinney. Wayne pointed out that while this is the second such convention in this district in a month, Malheur County PCPs have not even had a Democratic Representative in 40 years. In other words, count your blessings, local Democrats.
This is the 3rd one of these I’ve sat through; I got to participate in one (HD 16 in 2005, where Sara Gelser was selected). I understand the process pretty well now. A majority wins one of the nominations in that round; votes are cast until someone does get a majority each round, with low votes meaning you’re out of that round.
First business of the meeting was to decide how many to nominate. Fred Stewart argued for 5 (Let the Commissioners sort them out, sort of like gun-owners, criminals and God); Joe Smith argued that as PCPs, it’s their responsibility to make this decision - none of the members of the County Commission even live in HD 43. The convention decided on three nominees, by an overwhelming majority.
Each candidate spoke for five minutes. Here’s the gist (as I was able to capture it) of what they said.
Catherine Thomasson. Health care professional & advocate. Listen to the patient before making a decision, take all variables into account before making a decision. Listen to everyone involved, get their perspective & learn from them. This has prepared me to be a legislator. Need to serve people and not special interests. Free public education made this country great; one of my foremost duties will be to get Tax Fairness measures endorsed in January.
Lew Frederick. We’re all in this together. Working in education, saw what cuts did to education. Got involved with the Bus in 2004 (now on the Board), and despite the disappointment that year, has kept on working in this. Grew up in the South, helping to integrate his high school. Union leader in Portland, 32 years in Irvington before it was a good place to live. Experienced police racial profiling, including gun to his head. Helped make student voice part of the decision-making process. Voter registration in 2004 and 2008. Carried this district when he ran for County Commission. On many civic boards, including State Board of Education. Wants to make Wapato a secure site for mental health treatment of prisoners. Bring parity to all schools. Detailed list of legislation to deal with many issues. Racial equity dealing when dealing with environmental issues.
Brad Perkins. Born & grew up in this neighborhood. This community drew me back. FDR’s first inauguration: getting jobs is a crisis worthy of going to war. We are doing that badly now. Background in design, development, real estate: I can put together deals, have worked on many involving public sector. Wants to use that background, include work in communities and bringing groups together, to develop projects like high speed rail from Vancouver to Portland, negating the need for a big bridge.
Eddie Lincoln. 1 reason to run: to win. And to serve HD 43. Deep roots in community: born, raised, went to school here. Worked for small and big companies, drove TriMet buses. Urban League. His kids went to school here, they’ve gone on to good careers. Everything I’ve done is for my family, 2 jobs at time, education; it’s not been easy. Tried to install good values in family. I’ve served dislocated workers at PCC; helped many people find work over past 12 years. I can remember the way things were, but we can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines. Economic implosion has had destructive results. Middle class has been decimated, and we need a new direction. That begins here in HD 43. I’m a Democrat who will support and fight for progressive policies for the middle class. I’ll depend on your help on setting priorities. Economic equity, social justice and equal rights.
Steve Adamson. Retail business owner, 90% of stock is locally sourced, products aimed at getting people to help themselves. Also works with a local elementary school; fun and helps the kids. Aware of what it takes to develop businesses and grow jobs. Been in the district since 2000, has been involved with several campaigns (anything against Sizemore). Was previously involved in similar organizations in Eugene and Corvallis. Main points: Health care (public option); economic development (Van Jones: green jobs in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, benefits now and beyond the life of the program); access to capital to grow business; trade apprenticeships; youth programs; schools (increase funding, especially take from corrections); equal rights for GLBT (need a champion in Salem for that).
Karol Collymore. Logical next step in her career built on public service. Last 10 years, haven’t done anything that hasn’t been about community. BlueOregon & Cogen. What sets me apart is what I’ve done for Portland: providing food through lands set aside for community to grow; new library in Kenton; new farmers market; 1-stop domestic violence help; increased motor vehicle rental tax; above all, a 30-year old woman with a different perspective. Wants government to be accessible to young people. Need to work for others so everyone can move forward. Equal distribution of education funds. Issues of equity based on race, class, sexual orientation. What matters is what constituents want & how I would represent your concerns in Salem.
(Carlos Richard dropped out before the convention; he decided he could not fulfill the obligations of office at this point in his life.)
Lew had the most detailed platform, and he had the strongest, most assured presentation. Karol had a good body of work; Steve and Eddie also had excellent, unique backgrounds - but they did not have strong presentations. Lew’s background in media and in the public spotlight made a big difference in this forum.
During the vote counting break, appeals to work against the ballot measures in January (vote Yes to keep the tax measures in place). Shirley Minor, Mult Dems District Leader, made a pitch for the PCPs to stay involved, not just come to this sort of special event. Got part way thru her Obama story… then the first round ballots were presented:
Round 1 Ballot 1 - 79 votes cast
Clear winner. On to Round 2.
Shirley continues her story and people start to leave. The moral of Shirley’s story: you might get to meet a future president & you might get to go to the national convention.
Round 2 Ballot 1
No winner; Adamson & Perkins dropped from next ballot.
Round 2 Ballot 2
Still no winner; Thomasson dropped.
Round 2 Ballot 2
Karol is second nominee — barely.
Round 3 Ballot 1
Not surprisingly, after the way Round 2 went, Lincoln wins the third nomination.
The convention for SD 22 went exactly the same way: A clear winner in Round 1, 3 ballots to get the expected Round 2 winner, and then the runner-up from Round 2 an easy Round 3 win.
All six candidates presented great backgrounds, great personal histories of what a life of community activism can be. Each one came from a different place; each has made important contributions. In HD 43, as throughout Oregon, we have more quality leaders than elective offices. I hope they all stay involved and continue to make their contributions in other ways.
Great work from the PCPs of HD 43 who came out tonight to select the nominees for the Commissioners. I hope the latter respects the decision made by these citizens and endorses this process rather than overturning it. We’ll see.