Cannon Leaving Legislature to Serve as Governor's Education Advisor

Evan Manvel

Cannon Leaving Legislature to Serve as Governor's Education Advisor

Rep. Ben Cannon (D-Portland), an impressively effective and principled state legislator, has announced he is resigning his seat September 1st to become Education Policy Advisor to Governor Kitzhaber.

From Cannon's newsletter:

Serving Oregon as a State Representative has been the greatest honor of my life. I have relished virtually every aspect of the job: helping constituents, learning from scratch about a huge range of issues, working policy bills through the Legislature, talking with voters and constituents. And the thousands of expressions of support that I have received over the past five years have rewarded me far beyond what I deserve for this work.

Before anything else, I am a teacher and a father. When I ran for the Legislature in 2006, it was because I hoped to help turn the tide on an education system that was strained to the breaking point. The unfortunate reality is that those strains are even greater today. But with his achievements in the first six months of this year, I believe Governor Kitzhaber has helped create a rare window of opportunity for turning the tide. His efforts to establish an integrated 0-20 governance system, invest resources with an eye towards outcomes, and empower educators to respond creatively and flexibly to student needs represent our best chance to change the dynamic around public education in Oregon. As his Education Policy Advisor, I will be in a position to help ensure that his initiatives are developed with wisdom and implemented for success.

What's next? Ben, in his usual thoroughness, explains:

Under Oregon law, the remainder of my term will be filled within 30 days by an appointee of the Multnomah County Commission from a list of nominees supplied by the Democratic Party. Regular primary and general elections will be held in 2012 for the next full term that begins in 2013.

This is, of course, a coveted Portland legislative seat. Expect serious competition, like the five-way primary race back when Cannon was first elected, and the crowded appointment races for what are now Sen. Shields and Rep. Frederick's seats. District 46 is south of I-84 and west of SE 92nd I-205, with the remaining lines a bit of a mess, taking in Mt. Tabor, North Tabor, Montavilla, Laurelhurst, and parts of Foster/Powell (see map).

Rep. Cannon, thank you for your service to the people of Oregon as a legislator. I'm sure your skills will continue to be put to good use in the Governor's office.


Link to the map of the new district (for the 2012 races, not the appointment process), thanks JG.

Link to the Governor's statement- thanks Kari.

And coverage from the The Oregonian.

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    Sad to see Ben leave the Oregon legislature, but clearly this is an excellent pick by the Governor.

    Good luck, Ben!

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    Incidentally, the appointment would be made using the old map - while the 2012 primary and general would be under the new map.

    In other words, the Democratic precinct people that decide are the ones that live in the district now. They'll select from among candidates who live in the district now -- though I suspect that a number of them would consider whether the appointed candidate would be eligible to run next year.

    Unless, of course, they decide to nominate a term-finishing placeholder - and create a wide-open race in 2012. (As happened when Jackie Dingfelder moved up to the Senate, and Joe Smith was appointed to the House.)

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    Do you have a link to the new map I could add to the article?

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      There's a full House map from Moonshadow Mobile here. Be sure to look at "Co-Chairs Proposed House".

      The borders of HD 46 change in very small ways along its western edge. The northern edge remains I-84. It extends a few blocks further south.

      The big change, however, is to the east. Currently, the district border is I-205. Under the new map, it goes a few more blocks east to 102nd from NE Halsey to SE Stark, and a few more blocks east to 112th from SE Market to Holgate.

      Best as I can tell, with the exception of maybe a dozen houses, everyone who lives in the old district would still live in the new district.

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        Aha. One more edit. The northern edge actually does move south somewhat. The area north of Glisan and south of I-84, between 53rd and 94th (and I-205) moves from Cannon's district to Dembrow's.

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    Here's the Governor's statement:

    Governor Kitzhaber Names Representative Ben Cannon as Education Policy Advisor

    (SALEM, Ore.) — Governor Kitzhaber today announced that Representative Ben Cannon will join his staff as Education Policy Advisor. Representative Cannon currently serves as State Representative for House District 46 in Portland and teaches Humanities to middle school students at the Arbor School of Arts and Science.

    “Ben’s passion and expertise on education policy will be a great asset to my office and the state,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “He’ll bring the same dedication he has shown his constituents to implementing an education improvement agenda to ensure better results for Oregon students, more resources for teachers, and a more prosperous future.”

    "Serving as State Representative has been the highest honor I have ever held, and this was an incredibly difficult decision for me. But I am convinced that to advise the Governor on education policy represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a difference on the same issues that drew me to teaching and politics in the first place. The achievements of the Governor and the Legislature this year have created a rare window of opportunity to make important improvements to the Oregon’s public education system.”

    Representative Cannon will replace Nancy Golden, who returned to her position as Springfield Superintendant after the 2011 Legislative session. He holds graduate degrees in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and Comparative and International Education from Oxford University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University. Representative Cannon is a graduate of West Linn High School.

    During the session, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 909, Governor Kitzhaber’s priority bill to develop an efficient and accountable “zero-to-20” education system that integrates early childhood services, K-12, and post-secondary education and training programs. The bill creates the Oregon Education Investment Board whose members will be confirmed by the Senate in September.

    Representative Cannon will start in the Governor’s office on September 6, 2011.

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    Huge loss for the Legislature, huge gain for the Governor (and for education). Talk about mixed emotions...

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    I knew Governor Kitzhaber was a smart man, this is a wonderful confirmation of that fact. Representative Cannon is one of the brightest, hardest working & ethically minded (no PAC money anyone?) thinkers Oregon has to offer. Oregon is lucky to have Ben, no matter his role in public life. All I ask is that the Cannons don't move out of state (unless it's to DC), my husband would be devastated!

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    As a constituent of Mr. Cannon I must say that I have mixed feelings about this for entirely selfish reasons.

    He is an amazing person with a bright political future ahead of him. He is responsive to his constituents in a way rare among even Oregon politicians.

    I will be very sad to lose him as my representative. This district holds some of the more downtrodden of Portland neighborhoods, including my own neighborhood of Lents . His advocacy for our concerns will be sadly missed.

    On the other hand I think he will be an amazing advocate for education in our state and I look forward to seeing what he does.

    I can only hope for someone half as good to continue to represent our district.

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      Sean, I so agree, and I'm in the part of Lents that will be in 46 come 2012!

      Ben has been a model legislator: thoughtful, smart, dedicated and extremely accessible to his constituents.

      Congrats Ben!!

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      I agree as well. Ben was been my representative and I was very pleased to have him. This appointment is a great gain to the state and a loss to the 46th district ... depending, of course, on who fills his shoes.

      I was going to "lose" him no matter what -- I live in that chunk of Montavilla north of Glisan that got shifted into 45 during redistricting. I'll have to start paying more attention to Michael Dembrow from now on, assuming he'll be running again next year.

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    Ben Cannon is the kind of elected leader we all wish to have the opportunity to vote for. He walks the values so many of us aspire to, and calls on our better angels.

    His intelligence, genuine desire to listen, and skill at crafting solutions to complex challenges will be a major asset to the Governor's education plans.

    Oregon students, teachers, parents, and schools will be well served.

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    Cant fault the guy for taking a higher paying public gig. Nice work if you can get it.

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      Higher paying than the lege. Don't know about his teaching job.

      I haven't talked to Ben, but I assume a factor here is that his day job was as a middle school teacher.

      It's one thing to be gone one semester, every other year. But to be gone every spring semester, well, that's probably not a reasonable situation - either for the school's administration, or the students.

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