By Seth Prickett of Portland, Oregon. Seth is a political organizer, renewable energy activist, and the founder of Framework International, a Portland-based nonprofit that builds elementary schools in West Africa.
The qualifying deadline for Portland's voter-owned election draws near and 1 big question looms: Will any of the candidates vying for Portland City Commissioner qualify for campaign matching funds?
I am fearful of the possibility that the answer is NO. If none of the seven candidates qualify it would be an unfortunate missed opportunity for Portlanders this election cycle. Portlanders would be deprived of a newly energized civic conversation about our collective future.
The public campaign finance fund gives us real choices when it comes to our next elected city leaders; an option that we deserve after a decade of stagnation. Portland has always been a leader in progressive politics – recognized nationwide for it's green innovations – and it is vital to move Portland forward that we stay ahead of the curve.
We accomplish this by ensuring we have a strong and healthy public discourse, including a broad spectrum of ideas that can only be afforded by fair elections. It is unhealthy for our democracy to give politicians a pass when it comes to elections. The people should never subscribe to the idea that an elected official deserves to be rubber stamped by the voters.
Elections are the political marketplace of ideas. It is our civic duty to keep our leaders accountable by having a competitive election. Portland is hungry for innovative policies. Now is the time that we must foster debate and no longer be complacent in the same old dialog. The Portland 7 want to start a fresh conversation, and Portlanders are ready to ask the tough questions.
Friday's deadline is about more than any particular candidate. It is about whether or not Portland is able to move forward and have the conversation at all.
Be sure to help the following candidates reach their qualifying requirements of 1000 signatures and matching $5 donations.
We can afford $5 for democracy.