By Stephen Marc Beaudoin of Portland, Oregon. Stephen is the interim managing director of PHAME Academy, an arts nonprofit based in District 2 that provides arts programming for adults with developmental disabilities.
Let me say this about Karol Collymore. She inspires.
I thought about this, this past Sunday night, 7:30 pm. I was tucking into a home-grilled burger with an amazing group of twelve new friends, all in their 20’s and 30’s, all from a range of backgrounds and beliefs and colors and orientations. All gathered, feet-tired but barbecue-sated, because Karol had inspired them, too.
With my new set of friends, I had just completed a second canvass in support of Karol’s campaign for Multnomah CountyCommissioner. It was exactly my second canvass, ever, for a political candidate or cause. The first? Also for Karol, a week before. That first canvass was a follow-up to the very first political rally I’d organized, at Wilshire Park in Northeast Portland. Forty-plus supporters assembled, rain-soaked and happy, to raise our voices in support of Karol Collymore: a passionate progressive, an accomplished leader, a creative thinker and a fresh voice in Portland. A person who inspires.
I’m 30 years old. I’ve never in my life been much concerned with politics, aside from voting in most major-ticket elections or covering Portland politics and issues as a journalist around town. Now I run a small Portland nonprofit, coach college students, and raise my voice as an arts advocate and professional musician. And now Karol Collymore – because of her passion and knowledge and commitment to Multnomah County – has inspired me, and thousands of others, to care about County issues, to connect with others in my community, and to put my passion into action.
Inspiration alone, of course, does not a great County Commissioner make. I want a County Commissioner that understands the issues and has creative solutions to the social and economic disparities in her district. I want a County Commissioner that’s committed to food equity and health disparities, that knows what she does and doesn’t know, and that’s a great listener. I want Karol Collymore as my County Commissioner.
Politics is about promises, and about promise. Not leaders that merely have the right numbers in their cell phone, or want to push through multi-million dollar public infrastructure project just to say “I promise to create jobs.”
But I’m hungry for leaders, especially at this grassroots local level, that inspire, and bring wonderfully diverse communities together around our possibilities and ideas. Citizens in education, labor, healthcare and the arts, in business big or small, in environmental causes, government and the nonprofit sector and more – across every racial, religious, class and sexual orientation – have all lined up behind Karol Collymore for Multnomah County Commissioner.
That’s because Karol Collymore is this leader. I’m fired up for her. I’m inspired. Let’s elect her as our next Multnomah County Commissioner.