Jefferson Smith is Running for Mayor

Evan Manvel

Jefferson Smith is Running for Mayor

Jefferson Smith is in.

The Portland mayor's race just got even more fascinating as Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-Portland) announced he's throwing his hat in the ring.

From Smith's announcement letter:

I love our city. Portland shaped me. I was born here. Went to high school here. Made mistakes here. Built a nonprofit here. Learned here. Represented neighbors in the legislature here. Took for granted that it would always be great here.

As a nonprofit entrepreneur and then a state representative from East Portland, I’ve met neighbors struggling to find work or make ends meet, who want safe homes in healthy neighborhoods and don’t have either. I’ve heard about what my neighbors of different stripes are facing and needing: sidewalks, paved roads, a fair chance at real employment, a home that isn’t underwater, safe and efficient transportation, manageable bills, healthy and kind neighborhoods – and a hope for their government to be connected to their reality. And I realized at a deeper level that we can’t afford to take our city for granted.

To decide whether to give up a safe House seat to run for mayor, I started by listening and thinking not merely (or primarily) about whether I wanted to be mayor, or whether I could win an election, but about what we could do as a city together. And I my wife and I -- and some priceless friends -- considered whether I could help. Like a little engine, I think I can.

Thoughts?

Smith's campaign website.

UPDATE: The Portland Tribune has the most substantive article on the announcement thus far, including a reminder that Smith's entry likely means a fall run-off instead of ending the race in May. That means fourteen grueling months of campaigning for the candidates who make it through the primary.

Comments

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    That's really too bad.

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    Pad of butter!!!

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    Pull Buster pull!

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    Prediction: Brady, Smith to runoff in that order. Smith over Brady in November 58-42. He's in late, but with plenty of time to build momentum to November.

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    Anyhow, I'm all in behind Jefferson for the spot. Business experience has become a political fetish in recent years, but I'll back a good analytical and critical thinker with a track record anytime.

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      First of all you cannot vote in this contest, so there! Second, Jefferson has a good sense of what makes good business. so there again!

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    I'm just an outside observer in this race (I live in Tigard). But my impression from the ground over the last few years is that Smith has a HUGE wellspring of ground support that has barely even begun to be activated and that will likely overwhelm the other candidates.

    I'm curious what the big players in this city think of him.

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    I can't remember a time when elections for city positions were more interesting. No one's going to yawn through this one...

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    From my FB post to friends on the subject:

    This guy Jefferson is a good guy. He can be a #$%&, but he is our #$%&. Seriously. Bureaucratic BS in city hall regularly needs a hard a$$ kicking. I trust him to do it in the right way. Like his page if you are so inclined to support a good #$%&. Go Jefferson Smith!

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      People who think they can be an ass-kicker in City Hall quickly learn they can't; or really, they learn the rule of 3. IMHO, Sam's biggest deficit in leadership has been that it's more about Sam than anything else.

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    I will need to hear a lot more than this:

    "I will be an enthusiastic supporter. I believe that this city needs a leader today that can inspire its citizens and make them eager to do great things that we haven't done for 30 years."

    before I can support Rep. Smith. This kind of over the top enthusiasm is precisely what we had a dose of in 2008. Sam Adams was all about inspiration, vision, "big thinking," and now here we are two and a half years later without a lot to show for it.

    I'm looking for someone who can move the city forward on a sustainable track, with good job growth, a solid economic base, and answer the hard questions about making this city livable for parents and families.

    I'd like someone to take a stand on charter reform, ideally supporting a city manager system combined with a districted city council.

    And I'd really, really like someone who knows that a large part of Portland's population lives east of 82nd and is not well-served by the current Council.

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      I would also point to Jeff's consistent support for jobs growth that is "prosperous, sustainable, and fair."

      I dig what you're saying about a manager system. If there's any one of the three major candidates who would think outside the box as far as our democracy goes, it would be Jeff, and I think he has the track record to prove it.

      Full disclosure: I plan to work for Jeff's campaign. I speak only for myself.

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      Jefferson's work in the Leg demonstrates he can work patiently, quietly, effective & across party lines. his bill with Bob Jenson in 2009 to refill the Umatilla-area aquifer so that those lands can continue to prosper is the highlight. so is his Economic Gardening bill. anyone who judges Jefferson by superficial measures -- his personality, the jokes, etc -- is a fool. he's smart, strategic, compassionate & actually cares more about results than getting the credit. that's why he lets the staff at the Bus Project take the ball & run -- and then praises them whenever he ges half-a-chance.

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    A perfect candidate! One of us! YES

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    I'm very excited about his candidacy. One thing worth mentioning is the substantial management experience Jefferson has from founding and being executive director of the Oregon Bus Project. Of course, this in addition to his other qualities.

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    I'm torn on this, for now. I like Brady's business background which I think would be good for jobs. But I'm also an East Portland resident who really feels that Smith would represent my part of town a lot better than it has been in the past.

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