Chapters get involved in May elections

One of the most powerful ways for OSEA chapters to effect change in their communities is through the ballot box — whether it’s by supporting labor- and education-friendly school board candidates or local option levies.

Pictured, from left, are Lake Oswego Chapter 12 Vice President Sierra Avila, Political Action Chair Nicolle Landau, President Melissa Siegel, Keep Lake Oswego Schools First Co-Chair John Stirek, Lake Oswego School Board Chair Sarah Howell and School Board member John Wallin.

This May, Lake Oswego Chapter 12 and David Douglas Chapter 40 are supporting candidates they hope will bring fresh voices to their respective school boards.

In Lake Oswego, the chapter has endorsed Sara Pocklington, the director of technology accounting at Nike, and Rob Wagner, associate vice president of college advancement at Portland Community College.

Wagner is running unopposed, but Pocklington has a hard battle ahead of her as she is taking on an incumbent with more than $19,000 in the bank.

“We’re supporting two great candidates,” Lake Oswego President Melissa Siegel said. “Sara, especially, impressed us with her business background and support for issues that are important for classified employees, such as a right to a living wage.”

That is why the chapter asked for help from the Education and Labor Advocacy Fund (ELAF), OSEA’s political action fund which is supported with voluntary member contributions. In turn, OSEA contributed $10,000 to Pocklington’s campaign in order to make the playing field more level.

In addition to endorsing Pocklington and Wagner, the chapter is also supporting a $187 million school improvement bond that will help pay for replacing Lakeridge Junior High School as well as addressing deferred maintenance and much-needed capital repairs. ELAF has contributed $25,000 to the bond campaign.

In David Douglas, the chapter has endorsed Stephanie Stephens, cofounder of the nonprofit Unite Oregon, and Ana del Rocio, policy director for Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, for school board. OSEA has donated $2,000 to each of their respective campaigns.

David Douglas Vice President Darla Black believes Stephens’ and del Rocio’s backgrounds in social justice issues will help make the school board more rounded and better representative of the district’s multicultural communities.

“We need change that will represent our current population as well as classified employees,” Black said. “The interview committee felt both of these candidates would bring a fresh voice to our board.”

Besides Lake Oswego and David Douglas, two other chapters are backing local bond measures: Tillamook Chapter 28 is supporting a $4 million measure to address facility improvements and deferred maintenance, and Hermiston Chapter 10 is backing a $104 million bond that would build a new elementary school and replace two more, as well as provide safety and security upgrades throughout the district. Both chapters have asked for ELAF funds to support these measures. OSEA has donated $1,600 to the Tillamook bond campaign and $5,000 to the Hermiston bond campaign.

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