OR-1: Avakian gets in

Carla Axtman

OR-1: Avakian gets in

The first of what may be several Democratic challengers to embattled Congressman David Wu declared his candidacy today for the 1st Congressional District. Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian announced his intention to run at a press conference at PCC Willow Creek in Washington County.

Standing alongside Avakian in support were Roy Jay, African American Chamber of Commerce President; Metro President Tom Hughes; Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber Board Member & Wilsonville City Councilor Celia Nunez; NW Natural VP & Chair of Oregon Workforce Investment Board Dave Williams; Stephen Ying, Exec. Dir. Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association; and Jada Pearson, a Beaverton Kindergarten teacher.

Ying's support is especially notable, as Congressman Wu is the only Chinese American in the US Congress. Wu has historically enjoyed support from the Chinese American community around the nation.

“When I heard that Brad was going to run for Congress, I was excited to be able to support him. Brad is someone I greatly respect, and today I’m proud to be standing here with the next Congressman from Oregon,” said Ying. “I appreciate Brad’s commitment to civil rights and creating opportunities for all of Oregon’s communities. Brad is someone we can trust to get the job done for Oregon families.”

(More after the jump)

“I love my current job – helping Oregon businesses succeed and protecting the rights of all Oregonians,” said Avakian. “But these are principles that my district now needs an effective representative to pursue in Congress.” Avakian pledged to fight discrimination and inequity in all forms, protect Social Security and Medicare, work to end dependence on foreign oil and "ensure that all women have the right to full reproductive freedom-and that includes the option of getting their health care from Planned Parenthood."

The event was emceed by African-American Chamber of Commerce President Roy Jay, who kept the event moving with a crowded slate of speakers. Jay himself was eloquent about Avakian's run: "“I respect Brad tremendously. He’s the kind of leader Northwest Oregon needs because he has clear convictions to step up and address the challenges we face."

Avakian announce

Avakian is a civil rights attorney by trade and was a state legislator beginning in 2002 before becoming Labor Commissioner in 2008. Avakian has also been very active in the community, helping to found the Southwest Music School after budget cuts forced Beaverton schools to drop elementary music teaching. He also co-founded the Washington County chapter of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.

His work in the legislature earned Avakian the Oregon AFL-CIO “Working Families Champion” and the Oregon League of Conservation Voters named him “Consensus Builder of the Year” in 2007.

Avakian has done serious work as Labor Commissioner. His priority has been the restoration of career education and job training into schools. His office also eliminated a four-year backlog of worker complaints of civil rights and wage violations resulting in $10 million in claims. He's further debarred contractors who were violating prevailing wage laws and reportedly been able to cut the office's budget by $300,00 through savings and efficiencies.

Avakian grew up in Washington County and is married to his high school sweetheart, Debbie. They have two children.

Besides those supporters who stood next to Avakian at the press conference, his campaign released a list of additional supporters in a press release. Among them the Chairs of the Tillamook and Yamhill County Dems, several state legislators from the district, city councilors from around Washington County, among others.

Comments

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    I really like what Avakian brings to the table. While I am no longer in Washington County (moved to North Portland a year and a half ago) I can easily see getting behind Avakian's candidacy.

    Now the question is, will Wu keep it a non-scorched earth campaign?

    Or will he pull the party apart at the seems on his way to the November balloting?

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    Excellent. It's time for a real primary challenge in the first district. Avakian will offer a very nice contrast for folks to consider.

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    I think Tom Hughes endorsement today was also a good win for Avakian. That endorsement will prove even more valuable in the General election should Brad win the primary.

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    Commissioner Avakian has a rare gift for creating a sense of calm and trust in a conversation or a crowd. It'll be a real pleasure for me to campaign for him...

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    The domino effect effect begins! Who will run for BOLI Commissioner now that Avakian will be vacating? If it is a current elected, who will run for [blank]'s seat, etc ...

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    Brad has been a champion for civil rights! He was instrumental in helping Oregon Muslims, Sikhs and other religious minorities in overturning an 82 year old KKK era law against public school teachers. Looking forward to his campaign!

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    If it comes down to a choice between Brad and Wu, I will support Brad. He is a much stronger candidate and will make a better Congressman. However, I have to wait until the legislative session is over and see who else throws in their hat before I will commit.

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    when asked about Wu by Jeff Mapes, Avakian responded sympathetically but got to the real point -- for his campaign: it's not about what's best for Wu (as a person), it's about what's best for the district. there was zero attempt by Avakian or any other speaker to speak against Wu; it was entirely positive.

    except, of course, to the extent that Avakian primarying a sitting Congressman of his own party speaks to the lack of belief in that incumbent.

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      for his campaign: it's not about what's best for Wu (as a person), it's about what's best for the district. there was zero attempt by Avakian or any other speaker to speak against Wu; it was entirely positive.

      Hopefully that will be the mark of the primary campaign of any and all who throw their hats into the ring.

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    So I get it he isn't the candidate from Trumka, he's the candidate from Mandate Media. I see what you did there with your brand new website and I got the email that you all sent out for him. You might be capitalists after all.

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      Yawn.

      (scroll)

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      I don't know who the "you" is that you're talking about -- since I didn't write this post, nor have I commented on it until now.

      Yes, Brad Avakian is a client of my firm. We built his website. Despite what some would believe, we website guys are not exactly big power players in campaigns.

      I'm proud to be working for Brad Avakian. That's all I've got to say about his campaign right now.

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        Not exactly all you have to say, http://www.kxl.com/Oregon-Labor-Commissioner-Will-Run-for-Congress/9646941

        It looks like you really go the extra mile for your candidates from organizing blogs to correcting others.

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        I built Wu's site for his first congressional campaign and received no $$, no thanks, no NOTHING. To me that was a red flag that he wasn't interested in anything but big buck donations. I haven't seen anything different in the years I've been reluctantly voting for him.

        Brad's accessibility and willingness to listen will be a breath of fresh air in District 1. I'm supporting him!

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    I see on the linked list of people endorsing Avakian the title and name "Oregon National Guard Brigadier General Mike Caldwell." I don't think I've ever seen a serving military office make such a public political endorsement. I wonder?

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    I'm thrilled about Brad entering the race. As a Union Officer at Portland State University I often got email updates from his office and was impressed by his work. Good luck Brad!

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    I have great deal of respect for Brad Avakian, both for his work at BOLI and as my former senator. Cheers to him! He has my support

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    "Bob" Avakian? Really? I haven't heard that name in, like, forever. Or at least since the Berlin Wall fell and crushed his fantasies of Soviet-US MAD and post-apocalyptic revolutionary utopia...

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    John,

    Why the sour grapes? Kari has done nothing wrong and has simply been hired by many progressive candidates because of his knowledge and expertise in website building, etc. Blue Oregon is a blog and Kari speaks for himself, and not directly for any of the campaigns he gets work for.

    Oh, by the way, I'm a Republican. And I can admit when my party gets continually beat on the grassroots-media front. When conservatives start realizing the power of the social networking medium, maybe the party could have it's own "Kari." But instead, party members just like to complain and be bitter.

    Maybe that's why conservatives in this state can't win statewide races.

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    if you want to see the whole speech (it's not long), i've posted it at The Action TAB: http://theactiontab.net/brad-avakian-announces-candidacy-congress

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