There are a lot of great candidates in the race for Portland Mayor. I'm voting for Jefferson Smith because he is the most progressive candidate in the race, but I’m also voting for Jefferson Smith because I have seen him deliver real results as my colleague fighting for justice in the Oregon legislature. I believe that in the race for Portland Mayor, we need to choose someone who can not only hit the ground running, but we need someone who can deliver real results right away. That’s Jefferson Smith.
I've represented N/NE Portland for over seven years. Living-wage jobs, health care, schools and equality are my top priorities. I'm proud to have endorsed Jefferson because he has demonstrated a unique ability to lead during his time in the Oregon Legislature. From working in a split Oregon House in order to balance the state's difficult budget to developing bipartisan legislation to solve tough water issues, Jeff has shown that he has what it takes to collaboratively work through problems.
Back in the 1990’s, the City of Portland had money for big, new projects. But now times are leaner and budgets are tighter. Of the candidates, Jefferson has worked with budget shortfalls to bring them into balance, rather than making them deeper. Portland needs Jefferson's experience. The next mayor will set key financial priorities. Jefferson will be ready to go on day one with the necessary skills to meet the city's needs while being mindful of what we can afford to pay for.
Jeff will also be ready on day one in another key way: he understands how to bring together people who disagree to find common ground and move forward. He co-led the bipartisan landmark effort on budget transparency to put Oregon government spending online. With Democratic Speaker Arnie Roblan and Republicans Kim Thatcher and Gene Whisnant, he helped increase Oregon’s grade for budget transparency.
Jefferson's plan to nurture and grow Portland's homegrown businesses highlights Jeff's ability to bring together those who often disagree. He was the co-Chief sponsor of Grow Oregon legislation, which created a plan for market intelligence for homegrown businesses. He collaborated with Rep. Sal Esquivel (R-Medford), Rep. Vic Gilliam (R-Seattle), Rep. Bill Kennemer (R-Oregon City), Rep. Bob Jenson (R-Pendleton) and Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland), Rep. Greg Matthews (D-Gresham), Rep. Nancy Nathanson (D-Eugene). Together this bipartisan group launched Oregon’s economic gardening plan to grow local business first rather than paying big companies to relocate. Jefferson knows most new jobs come from earlier-stage, homegrown companies. The Small Business Development Centers “Get Growing” program and the new Grow Oregon pilot are helping those companies find new markets and new customers with proven tools normally available only to larger businesses. Harvard’s Kennedy School recently named the concept that inspired the bill a “Top 25 Government Innovation".
Jefferson's experience bridging his work in the legislature with local government and organizations will also serve the city well. Portland's mayor will need to work with Salem to solve municipal problems. Working with District Attorneys, advocacy groups like Oregon Center for Christian Voices and Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel, Jeff brought Republicans on board and passed the Human Trafficking Hotline bill unanimously. He was also Chief Sponsor of HB 4146, which created a special process for expunging adjudications for child sex trafficking victims who were charged with prostitution while being trafficked. This bill passed unanimously.
Due to our city's collaborative mayor/city council system, the mayor must have experience bringing together people that sometimes have strong disagreements. In the Oregon legislature, Jefferson has worked numerous times with conservatives and Republicans to develop and pass good policy at the state level. Most famously, Jefferson worked closely with Republican Bob Jenson to pass the landmark Water Investment Act, creating sustainable jobs in Eastern Oregon and launching a statewide integrated water strategy. As mayor, Jefferson's experience will go a long way toward moving the city forward to solve the difficult problems we face.
When he was elected to represent East Portland in the legislature, Jefferson made a commitment to not only serve, but to complete his term. He believed then, as he does now, that being elected to serve is a public trust. Jefferson's commitment to lead the city of Portland will be the same.
Portland is a wonderful city and a great place to live. But we have serious problems that require the right kind of experience and leadership to solve. Jefferson Smith is the candidate for mayor that brings those skills to the job from day one. That's why he's earned my support.