“As soon as you’re old enough, run for something.” — Frank Zappa, 1986
I set out this year to run for office as a Green, and I had set my sights on Congress. Life, however, has taken a positive twist. I went to Eugene this past weekend seeking the Pacific Green Party’s nomination for Congressional District 3 and left as the nominee for Governor! It is an honor to receive the nomination, and I want to thank George Hutchinson and Dan Pulju for their suggestion and recommendation.
How I got here might be an interesting story, but I am taking this campaign seriously. This is a historic opportunity to challenge our state’s Democratic stronghold from the Left. Oregon’s schools are failing. Our beloved Sanctuary State is witnessing detentions and deportations of our Latinx neighbors. Out of state money is killing Mom & Pop businesses in the cannabis industry. Governor Kate Brown’s political machine has done very little to help our failing schools (especially east of the Cascades), while passing tax cuts for the wealthy and allowing Measure 97 to fail, forcing the people to shoulder a tax burden that should be taken up by corporations.
It is time for a major change in Oregon, and I believe I can help bring about that change.
I live in Portland, and I have experienced this city at its best, worst, and ugliest. It is one of the most fascinating cities in America, but during this time of growth, Portland is also facing a range of issues: a housing crisis, congestion, a broken school system with toxins in the water, bad air quality, systemic and institutional racism, a rise in far-right extremism, and a police bureau that is facing lawsuits by the ACLU and others for their rap sheet of human rights violations. I’ve served my community as an educator, activist, and social servant working with marginalized communities, and I bring with me a spirit of dedicated, selfless service.
As a Green, I am committed to the Four Pillars of the Green Party:
- Sustainability: The state is growing, but we must keep the long view towards sustainability. If elected, I will introduce a Green New Deal to the Legislative Assembly. This program will revolutionize energy, labor, transportation, and infrastructure across the state.
- Grassroots Democracy: We know our current electoral system is in desperate need of reform. In 2016, Benton County Greens led the effort to pass Ranked Choice Voting, a major first, to be rolled out in 2020. In Multnomah County, Greens are aiding in a petition for STAR Voting to get on the ballot. Oregon, let’s have a statewide conversation about these similar, yet different, alternative voting methods.
- Nonviolence: We need criminal justice reform. This starts by breaking the school-to-prison pipeline. I believe in a Restorative Justice model over the punitive, classist, and racist system we currently have in place. There has been a rise in violent political rallies, mostly staged by Vancouver, Washington based Patriot Prayer, which white nationalist and hate groups have used as recruiting events for their cause. While it took strong words from Mayor Ted Wheeler to stop an Anti-Shariah march from happening in Portland, local media continually smears activists who are dedicated in the fight against classism, racism, sexism, nativism, homophobia, transphobia, and religious intolerance. As Oregonians, we must say no to those who believe in hate, while also protecting our rights as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Speech that threatens, menaces, or excludes a targeted individual or group of individuals should not be viewed as protected speech.
- Social Justice: Hand in hand with Nonviolence is the Green Party’s platform for social justice. This includes economic justice, racial justice, and environmental justice, favoring resolutions based on peace and sustainability. The Green New Deal includes an Economic Bill of Rights that would ensure a right to employment, the end of pay-to-play lobbying efforts, union rights, Medicare-for-All, a tuition free public education system from Pre-K through college, affordable housing that is actually affordable, municipally-run utilities (including broadband and banks), and corporate taxation that is fair. We also need to come together and strengthen our communities as Sanctuaries for our immigrant friends by resisting ICE.
Americans are tired of the corrupt duopoly of the Democratic and Republican Parties. They pretend to be opposites, when they are in fact two cheeks on the same rear end when it comes to war, our thirst for oil, and corporate welfare. Greens are tired of seeing Wall Street pull the strings for both parties, and we’re making history in this important election year.
I had received the Pacific Green Party nomination for CD-3, but as our convention wrapped up, our person who was interested in running had withdrawn, so they issued a call for a candidate. This race is important for the Green Party to promote its platform statewide. We discussed drafting Gunnar Gundersen from Salem or Seth Woolley from Portland; both declined, and with some encouragement from my fellow Greens, I chose to step up. I love Oregon, and I also love the Green Party. With this campaign, I am answering a call to serve both.
My goals are to challenge the Democratic establishment in Oregon from the Left, promote the Green New Deal, guarantee a meaningful definition of Sanctuary State (for people, animals, and our natural resources), and to win.
Let’s make history.
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