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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Standing and District Committees February Meetings Roundup

We’re pleased to share the highlights below from Standing and District Committee meetings held in February, 2019.
House District 37, co-leaders Ken Chappuis and Mary Shortall
At the well attended February 17th meeting, we discussed the May 21st special election positions that need to be filled and an update regarding our Neighborhood Leaders. We heard from Betty Reynolds, past president of the Oregon School Boards Association, regarding a grassroots campaign to ensure that students throughout our state achieve their full potential, an effort of the non-profit Oregonians for Student Success. Check out the group’s website to learn how you can help with this important work.
Rep. Rachel Prusak (HD 37) and Sen. Rob Wagner (SD19) also spoke, updating us on legislative priorities and bills of particular interest, followed by a Q&A.
Our Sunday, April 7 meeting, 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. at West Linn Police Station, will be an opportunity to hear from Democratic candidates on the May special elections ballot.
House District 38, co-leaders Kathy Gordon and Gary Thompson
Sen. Rob Wagner and Rep. Andrea Salinas joined our meeting and discussed the legislation they are both working on in this session. Top priorities include gun violence, homelessness, and education. They are working on a proposal for a corporate tax that would apply only to major companies doing business in Oregon. Small- and medium-size businesses would be exempt. All the revenue collected from this tax would go toward education, including suicide prevention in youth, which is the number-one cause of death among Oregonians ages 15-24. Oregon ranks first in the whole of the U.S. on youth suicides. 
We also had two school board candidates speak, John Wallin and Kirstin Aird. John is running for re-election and has a conservative Libertarian running against him. Kirstin is new and to date has no opponent. 
Cheri Partain also attended and discussed her job as Director of Adoption Services at Boys and Girls Aid, the oldest child welfare agency in Oregon. 
We also gave an overview of the results of the Neighborhood Leader program from the November election and issued a challenge: Bring in at least one NL each in preparation for the 2020 election. In the November election, we had an astounding 85-90 percent Democratic ballot return in nearly all the ten precincts in HD38. Kate Brown carried nearly all the precincts by double digits with an astounding 24 percent margin in the greater Mountain Park area.
Campaign Committee, Peter Toll, chair
The May special election dominated our February 26th meeting, particularly discussion of efforts to find strong Democratic candidates. Each House District Leader team is responsible for vetting and investigating candidates before putting them forward to the Executive Committee and then the general Central Committee for endorsement. Endorsements need to be presented to the Executive Committee on April 3. 
The Campaign Committee offers these tips to House District Leaders:
  • Help candidates strategize their campaigns — How many votes do they need to win? (Check similar races two years ago on the county clerk website.) How can they most effectively spread their messages? How many volunteers will be needed and by when? Who will cut turf? Who will develop literature around the reasons the candidate is running and what they want to do? It helps to schedule coffees and town hall meetings so voters can meet candidates, contribute funds, and help out in the campaigns. 
  • Create a campaign plan with timelines, tasks, names of people who have agreed to help. The HD leader should provide reliable, measured oversight, management where needed, and follow-up. 
  • Work together — Several HDs can comprise several special districts. For example, HD 39 has more than 26 districts. That means it is important to work with your neighboring HDs where at all possible — divvy up the turf and work together recruiting, too. HD leaders should create their own joint meetings. 
  • Localized training may help — It was suggested we have a specialized local training (much as we did two years ago) for new candidates, new campaigners, and anyone else who is interested in learning the electoral ropes. We’ll look into it and let you know.
Communications Committee, Simon Springall, Chair
Much of the discussion during our February 27 meeting focused on the best way to produce slate cards for the May special election. Since each district has different candidates for a wide variety of offices, we believe the most convenient way to provide slate cards would be electronically, via our website. Luckily, Communications Committee member Jason Rambo has created a central repository for all of Clackamas County’s special district races and filers, which will be invaluable.
We also shared further ideas and plans for our ambitious podcast project and reviewed the positive results of our amplified Twitter strategy.