2016 Candidate Endorsements
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Gov. Kate Brown’s steady hand could not have come at a better time for our state.
Her path to the governor’s office was unusual to say the least. After her predecessor’s resignation, our state government was in turmoil. Brown was suddenly thrust from secretary of state into the governor’s office. The fact that state operations ran more or less as usual is a testament to Brown’s smart, stable leadership.
Brown can boast of outsized accomplishments in the short time she has been governor. She led the charge to raise education funding by 9 percent, provide sick leave to every working Oregonian and increase the minimum wage. But her dedication to working people and good government stretches back decades.
As secretary of state, Brown championed and implemented the state’s automatic voter registration process, making it easier than ever to exercise our rights while streamlining government in the process. The Audits Division saved taxpayers millions of dollars by cutting waste and making all levels of government more efficient. As Oregon’s chief elections officer, she held elected officials accountable without fear or favor.
Brown started her career as an attorney practicing family and juvenile law. She saw the injustices struggling women and children faced, and she committed herself to making life better for them. Brown put that commitment into action by working to pass the Oregon Family Leave Act, making Oregon one of the first states in the nation to allow parents to stay home with their sick children without fear of losing their jobs. Her colleagues later elected her to be the first female Senate majority leader in Oregon.
We need her continued leadership in the governor’s office.
OSEA has counted on Brad Avakian even before he entered politics, when he served as our workers’ compensation legal consultant. Over the years, as he moved from the Oregon House to the Senate and to the Bureau of Labor and Industries, Avakian has never wavered from his support for working people and high-quality public education.
Avakian’s record speaks for itself. His work in the Legislature from 2003-08 earned him 100 percent voting records from OSEA. As our current labor commissioner, Avakian sent more than $25 million to working Oregonians who were treated unfairly or cheated on their pay, including a record settlement against Daimler Trucks due to racial discrimination and worker harassment. He also reached a worker-friendly agreement with Google’s data center in The Dalles so employees could exercise their rights to meal and rest breaks.
He has strengthened protections for whistleblowers and eliminated an enforcement backlog, ensuring Oregonians have timely access to justice. He has been a strong defender of our rights to organize and bargain over wages and working conditions. He is the candidate of choice for numerous labor unions.
Avakian has had our backs during every step of his career, and he will continue to look out for us as Oregon’s next secretary of state.
As Oregon’s first woman attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum is fulfilling her vow to stand up for the most vulnerable Oregonians. That is why she has been endorsed for reelection by the OSEA Board of Directors.
She has worked to protect victims of campus sexual assault and crimes against children. She oversees the Oregon Department of Justice, which recovers an average of $1 million per day in unpaid child support to Oregon families. Rosenblum’s office also actively works to shut down shady scams targeting students and seniors. Recently she has proposed reforms to the state’s public records laws that will make all levels of Oregon government more transparent.
Rosenblum knows the judicial system through and through, honing her perspective in a small Eugene firm, then as a federal prosecutor and a judge in Multnomah County and on the Oregon Court of Appeals. Through it all, her commitment to working people, children and seniors has never wavered. We need to keep Ellen Rosenblum as our attorney general.
“I am honored to have OSEA’s support in my campaign for Senate District 3. Some of my top priorities are to support working families who need a living wage and to fund education so all Oregonians have access to opportunity. As senator, I will fight for increased funding for our schools, lower class sizes and increased support for educators across the state. I will also work to increase career and technical education so our next generation of educators has the tools needed for success. With OSEA’s support, I look forward to helping build a brighter future for our state.”
“I am thrilled that OSEA is supporting my candidacy for state Senate to represent District 21 (Milwaukie, Oak Grove, inner Southeast Portland and a small portion of Northeast Portland). As the current state representative for House District 41 and as a parent of children in public schools, I know well the dedication and hard work of our school employees. I support and respect all you do on behalf of Oregon’s students. I will fight to protect union rights and worker protections, and I will ensure your voice is heard in Salem.”
“I believe children have a right to an educational experience both stimulating and real, and I believe honoring educators for their professionalism, knowledge, skill, judgment and commitment has to be part of that picture. I think this message is finally getting through, and I look forward to carrying it to the Senate. I will also champion safety in our homes and neighborhoods: safety from crime, discrimination, toxins in our air and water, economic victimization. Life may not be fair, but human beings can be fair to each other; fairness is government’s No. 1 job.”
No stranger to public service or public education, Sen. Michael Dembrow is an instructor at Portland Community College (PCC) Cascade campus. He has taught writing and film studies at the college since 1981. As an AFT-Oregon member, he served as the president of the PCC faculty union for 16 years. He was first elected by voters to the state House in 2008 and then appointed to the state Senate in November 2013. Voters elected him to his Senate seat the following year. Dembrow chairs the Senate Workforce Committee. He has partnered with OSEA on many pieces of progressive pro-worker legislation.
“My platform concentrates on education with emphases on improving our graduation rates and further enhancing vocational education to include computer programming and coding. I believe that by entering into a collaborative with unions, private enterprises and public schools, we can create vocational classes that can help students find employment after school and during summer vacation. So after graduating high school, students would be prepared to enter a vocational education school. By investing in vocational education, we can lower the dropout rate, because not everyone wants to attend a four-year college.”
Marsh is a 22-year resident of Oregon, an Ashland City Council member, small business owner and executive director of Ashland Emergency Food Bank. It’s a diverse resume that’s given her a good understanding of the local economy and has shaped her commitment to address the challenges facing families, including early childhood programs, strong schools, investment in our community colleges and university system, and the continuation of health care reform. Pam was appointed by the city council to fill a vacant position in December 2012. Two years later, she won a four-year term, receiving 90 percent of the votes cast.
“As a candidate for state representative, I greatly value the support of OSEA. I share your frustration with efforts to cut jobs and the reduced budgets of our school districts. I served for seven years on the Medford School Budget Committee and eight years on the school board. I worked well with the employees union, and I know we need a better funding method for our vital public education system. Please support my campaign and, when I am serving in Salem, you will be heard.”
Rep. Holvey has been instrumental in career technical education and youth development programs. He continues to support increases in our education budget and to prioritize early childhood programs through higher education. Students need a quality education, and our schools need to have an adequate infrastructure and a safe environment. Holvey will continue to fight for those investments. He is also supporting Measure 97, which will help us realize some of those investments.
“There is no issue more important to the coast (or to Oregon) than making sure our kids and grandkids get the education they deserve. Too many of our students are homeless or hungry. That’s why I sponsored legislation to ensure every qualified child gets free meals at school. And too many are failing to graduate. We’ve passed more money for education, but we still have a long way to go. I’ll continue to fight for proper funding and the commitments we have made to educators and education workers. I’m pleased and proud to have your support.”
“Public education is the bulwark of American democracy and prosperity. I ran for the Oregon Legislature because I believe funding schools adequately and having permanent well-trained staff is absolutely necessary to restore Oregon’s strength and prosperity. That is why I wholeheartedly support Measure 97, because passing it is the only way we’ll be able to ensure a thriving public education system in Oregon. I also believe classified school employees should be able to organize to protect their rights and the rights of the students they work for. I will continue to work hard to defend your rights.”
“Oregon’s economy continues improving overall, yet the benefits are mostly at the top. I will continue working for improved funding for education, health care and social services, and to close the income gap. Providing a healthy start and solid education is our strongest defense against crime, substance abuse and unemployment. We need to fund a quality learning environment at school, including classrooms, nutrition, counseling, libraries, health care, nonacademic activities and everything else that goes into making a fun, safe school that fosters student achievement. I appreciate your support and your part in Oregon’s future!”
“I’m honored to be endorsed by the Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA) in my campaign for state representative. My top priority will always be to make sure the Oregon Legislature fully funds our education system to the Quality Education Model. With full funding, we could make a host of changes that would have a real and substantial impact on our students, teachers and staff, including adequate staffing, a longer school year, career and technical education programs and universal, high-quality early learning programs. I’m looking forward to working with OSEA to increase funding, ensure safe workplaces and support working families.”
“Politics has been unbelievably divisive this year. Many people I know are discouraged and unmotivated to vote. Despite this much-publicized divisiveness, however, most of us want the same things — great schools, good jobs, affordable health care and a clean environment. I am committed to these shared values and providing the leadership necessary to get us there. I look forward to continuing our relationship and working with you on important issues such as workers’ rights, family wage jobs and fully funding our education system.”
“Based on my background, I think it is fairly easy to tell what the issues are that I am most passionate about. My service in the military reflects my concern for the needs of our veterans; my work as a director on the Willamette ESD Board demonstrates my commitment to bettering public education; and my experience working with the Marion-Polk Food Share and serving as a statewide chair of the governor’s State Employees Food Drive are both examples of my desire to address the problem of hunger and malnutrition that impacts so many families throughout the state.”
“This election is critical for our nation, state and community. I seek reelection to build upon the work accomplished and fulfill our charge — to move Oregon forward, together. Government exists to facilitate four fundamental duties: (1) to guarantee opportunity — not necessarily success, but opportunity; (2) to protect our most basic rights to live, to think and to love without fear; (3) to provide a safe environment, including safe land, air and water; and (4) our government should provide in the present, as we prepare for the future. Together we can reclaim the promise of Oregon.”
“I’m running to get Salem’s priorities straight. Too many politicians in Salem don’t have the best interests of students, working families and small businesses in mind. We need to put working families first and reduce the influence of big money in government to ensure funding is directed where it’s needed most — investing in public schools, making college more affordable and building strong job training programs so Oregonians can find good jobs to support their families and retire with security. I want to ensure every hard-working Oregonian can achieve their own American Dreams, just like I did.”
“I am a proven problem solver, who believes in checking partisan politics at the door. I served in the Legislature for six years as a Republican who had a record of working across party lines to ensure we were able to tackle the problems Oregon faces. On issues, I primarily focus on health care policy and rural economic development. While on the health care committee, I fought for more accessible points of care to rural areas and ensured that we focused on community and school access to clinical care.”
“Thirty years ago, on a few acres outside Yamhill, we cut down some trees that were growing on our property. With the lumber, I built my family’s home with my own hands. I have worked as a design engineer at Intel and Hewlett-Packard and now own a contracting business. In Salem, I will work to reduce class sizes, increase graduation rates and be a champion for small business and transportation, repairing roads and bridges. I will stand up for working families by improving access to affordable housing, equal pay for equal work and safe communities by being smart on crime.”
“As a father of two boys in public school, nothing is more important to me than investing in their future. I have worked as a union electrician for 14 years and an organizer and contract negotiator for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for four years. Our education system needs stable and adequate funding, and the Legislature must take action. I plan to take my know-how as a negotiator to Salem to identify the best fixes to our education budget gap, our school-to-career pipeline (including expanded career and technical education and apprenticeships after high school) and our overburdened transportation system.”
“I’m running for state representative to take care of Oregon families. As a public health nurse with more than 30 years of experience making home and hospital visits, I know what it takes to keep individuals, families and communities healthy. I care deeply about this place we call home, where I have lived my entire life and raised my three children. I will fight to preserve the things we care about most: healthy schools, a healthy economy and a healthy environment, as well as more access to better health care at a lower cost.”
Rep. Barker is a retired police officer and union leader who understands the power of collective bargaining to improve the lives of working people. He has served Washington County in the Oregon Legislature since 2002 and has earned a reputation as a leading voice on public safety issues, a passionate defender of public education and a strong supporter of women’s health programs. Barker’s top priority next session is to restore support for our schools with smaller class sizes, a well-rounded curriculum and the financial support our educators and students deserve.
“As a teacher in Oregon for 42 years, I’ve seen the positive results of investing in students with time, attention and proper funding for schools. I envision a state where every student, regardless of race, gender, ability or income level has access to a high-quality public education. In order to achieve this, we have to create and maintain a quality workplace where teachers and students feel valued and safe in the classroom. When re-elected, I will make sure stakeholders such as the Oregon School Employees Association have a voice in the conversation about what quality investment in education looks like.”
“As a school board member, I know the importance of a strong education system, and I believe we need to address the issue of class sizes and the rising costs of higher education. As a volunteer in our local schools and throughout our community for more than 20 years, a member of the Hillsboro School Board and the proud mom of two graduates of our local public schools, I will bring a strong commitment to public education with me to Salem. If elected, I will vote in favor of increasing and stabilizing revenue for our public schools, so our students, teachers and school employees have what they need for success.”
“I am honored to represent House District 31. I will continue to work closely with our community leaders and individual citizens to provide an effective voice in the Oregon Legislature. I want to ensure that Oregon’s urban majority does not drown out rural voices in handling such issues as sustainable development, creating more profitable businesses and family wage jobs, and being responsible stewards of our natural resources.”
“Since I was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2004, I have been a tireless advocate for seniors, veterans, children and families. I will continue to work to advance legislation that benefits all Oregonians by supporting policies and services that ensure healthy families, veterans and seniors, safe communities and a strong education system.”
“I appreciate my OSEA endorsement. I will continue to work hard to improve the lives of my union brothers and sisters — and all of the people of Oregon — as I look forward to my eighth term in the Oregon House of Representatives.”
“As the current state representative for House District 34, I serve the City of Beaverton and the neighborhoods of West Haven, Cedar Hills and Rock Creek. Among my committee appointments, I am on the Energy and Environment Committee, the Revenue Committee and the Rural Communities, Land Use and Water Committee. I live in Beaverton with my wife and family, and I am honored to represent District 34 in the Oregon Legislature.”
Rep. Doherty has been a longtime advocate for working families. A former public school teacher and Oregon Education Association consultant, Doherty is dedicated to making sure the rights of workers are protected in the Capitol. In her time in the Legislature, she has passed bills to protect workers’ social media privacy and to increase funding of public schools.
“As a fourth generation Oregonian, this state has made me who I am. I’m honored to be a progressive voice for my neighbors in Portland and to lead the House Democrats as the majority leader. Side by side with my fellow Democrats, I’m fighting hard for a vibrant economy built on family wage jobs; standing up for a strong public education system, from early childhood through college; pushing to continue our state’s groundbreaking work to protect the environment; leading the fight to protect every woman’s right to choose; and safeguarding the hard-won equal treatment of LGBT Oregonians.”
“I am a proud graduate of Clackamas Community College and a strong supporter of our public schools. I’m running to represent our communities in Salem because I believe it’s time to put public education and working Oregonians first. As a fresh voice in the Legislature, I will move Oregon forward by ensuring our schools are properly funded, working to modernize our infrastructure and fighting for equal pay for equal work. As the only candidate in this campaign refusing to take contributions from out-of-state corporations, you can count on me to put the needs of our community first.”
“My family has attended Oregon public schools for five generations, and my own kids are in ninth and 12th grade at our local high school. I know that a strong public education helps Oregonians succeed, and I’m working to ensure that all Oregon kids have access to one. I also want to create more opportunity for Oregonians by investing in our transportation system, growing Oregon’s agriculture economy and supporting innovation in our technology and clean energy sectors. Finally, I’m standing up for fairer workplace policies so working parents can earn a living and still care for their loved ones.”
On education, Meek believes too many politicians in Salem have the wrong priorities — laying off teachers and cutting vital services while giving tax breaks to out-of-state corporations. He will work to increase funding for local schools so they can hire more teachers, reduce class sizes and increase graduation rates. Growing up, Meek’s family needed government assistance to put food on the table. He will be a strong voice for working families. He’ll champion paid family and medical leave so workers can afford to care for a new baby or a family member who is seriously ill.
“As a first-time candidate and new mom, I am honored to have OSEA’s endorsement. Your work on behalf of our schools and communities is invaluable. You are the ones who feed and get our kids to school, who serve essential roles in our education system and who make our public places shine. While I am seeking to represent House District 41, I’m looking forward to working on behalf of all of you.”
“I am honored to have the support of the members of the Oregon School Employees Association. The work your members do is important and makes a difference in the lives of children and young people. I got my start in politics promoting access to public higher education. When the Legislature is not in session, I work as a union representative for the Oregon Nurses Association. I am also a member of Teamsters Local 223. I worked on many pro-labor issues in the 2015 and 2016 session. I proudly support Ballot Measure 97.”
“OSEA members are a critical segment of our state’s educational backbone. I am currently the family services director at the Native American Youth and Family Center, where I’ve worked for nearly 20 years. Our educational programs serve students from early childhood all the way through high school. The work our teachers do in the classroom is supported and enhanced by the work of a wide network of classified employees, each of whom is an invaluable part of our team and our student’s educational success. I look forward to working with OSEA in the Legislature to fight for good working conditions that better empower your membership to play a leading role in improving Oregon’s education system.”
Prior to being elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2006, Rep. Kotek was an advocate and champion for children and needy families. That passion comes through in the priorities she works for in the Legislature, including fighting to improve nutrition standards for the food served to students and ensuring the neediest families have access to temporary assistance. As speaker of the House, Kotek has led the way on increasing the minimum wage, guaranteeing earned sick time for every worker and expanding child care options for working parents.
“As a longtime labor educator and activist, I am honored to receive the endorsement of OSEA. Working together since 2014, we have achieved significant victories for working Oregonians, such as the largest-ever K-12 school budget, paid sick leave and an increased minimum wage. There’s more to be done on fair scheduling, paid family leave and other shared priorities. I ask you to join me in voting yes on Measure 97 so we can make large and out-of-state corporations pay their fair share of taxes, as well as provide desperately needed revenue for education, health care and senior services.”
Rep. Keny-Guyer has spent decades working to eliminate poverty, promote cross-cultural understanding, invest in youth and build a sustainable economy that works for all. Keny-Guyer and her husband, Neal, moved to Portland in 1994, where they raised their three children. She has devoted her time to the schools, community and state. Keny-Guyer has represented House District 46, (parts of Southeast and Northeast Portland) since 2011. She chairs the House Human Services and Housing Committee and serves on the House Health Care Committee and the Ways and Means Joint Subcommittee on Human Services.
“I am proud to receive OSEA’s endorsement for the November 2016 election. Having been a school board member for 10 years and a teacher for 16 years, I understand the critical contributions that OSEA members make to help every child be successful. I will always work to maintain the hiring and retention of employees in districts, and improve their working conditions. I have been proudly representing District 48 since 2013, and I am excited to continue working for our community.”
“As a parent and educator, I support holding big corporations accountable so our schools have proper funding and we can stay true to our obligations to retirees. I am also concerned about soaring housing costs. That is why I was the chief sponsor of legislation that prohibited rent hikes in the first year of a tenancy and created stricter rules around providing notice. I’ll continue to work on this issue because working people have to struggle too much to pay for basic needs. With your support, I can continue to focus on issues that are important to us all.”
Rep. Piluso worked as a police officer in Gresham for 30 years, where she was the first woman to be promoted to every rank she attained, including Gresham police chief. She currently serves as the chair of the Gresham-Barlow School Board, chair of the Human Solutions Board of Directors and as state representative for House District 50. Piluso has a proven record of advocating for investments in education, leveling the playing field for small businesses and working families, and ensuring we keep our communities strong and safe. She is still Gresham’s best choice for state representative.
“My parents were both teachers, and they instilled in me the value of a public education and serving your community. As a mother of four school-age children, an African-American woman and a small business owner, I’ve worked hard to pass the opportunity that education provides on to my own sons and daughters, to my community and to my employees through scholarships to continue in school. I’m excited to bring my voice and perspective with me to Salem. I will work with OSEA to fight for Oregon’s public education at every level.”
“I have spent my career making a difference in my community by bringing people together to find common ground on tough issues. That is exactly the kind of leadership we need right now. I’m running to get Salem’s priorities straight by focusing on what matters to Bend: making big corporations pay their fair share to fund our schools and supporting policies such as paid sick days, family leave and affordable housing that support working families. I think it’s time for a state representative who will be on the side of Bend’s hard working families, not big corporations.”