Community activist Mark White declares candidacy for City Council

Kyle Curtis Facebook

Community activist Mark White declares candidacy for City Council

Photo care of Mark White for Portland's Facebook page

Last week, to little fanfare, longtime community activist Mark White filed his candidacy papers to run for the District 4 City Council seat being vacated by Randy Leonard.

A former Robert L. Liberty Regional Leadership award nominee, the list of organizations Mark has been invovled with runs very long, demonstrating a commitment for civic engagement. Mark is the current president of the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association and is the co-chair of the Portland Charter Commission. He is also a member of the Portland-Multnomah Food Policy Council, was one of the founders and planners of the East Portland Exposition (aka the "EastPo ExPo"), and is actively involved with the East Portland Action Plan.

I could go on, but I'll just let Mark's community resume speak for itself.

For Mark, filing the papers without a big press event or similar to-do made the most sense. "I don't really understand all that," explained Mark. "It kind of sort of seems to me like preaching to the choir. I just feel like I have better things to spend my money on."

Speaking of money, as the 2012 election will be the first one in Portland post-public financing, any viable candidate for public office will need to demonstrate his fundraising ability. Mark has a strategy to ensure he will have enough funds for a campaign:

"There is a $50 tax credit people can provide to those running for political office. I already have a number of supporters willing to donate their credit to me, and I am seeking others during this campaign to make similar donations."

By keeping any campaign donations to such a small amount, Mark hopes to communicate a clear message through his candidacy:

"I think people are becoming aware that it's really important who gets elected. And there needs to be an opportunity for people like me- who have no connections to money, or to power- to be able to run for office."

When asked if he could sum up his campaign in three to five words, Mark kept it simple: "Three words? Easy: Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Two more words? Jobs. And jobs."

Mark joins a crowded field for the District 4 seat, running against former U.S. Senate candidate Steve Novick as well as Jeri Williams, a program manager for the city's Office of Neighborhood Involvement. Those who spend a lot of time on the Interwebs can follow Mark's campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

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