House District 38 Precinct Committee Persons Face Difficult Choice

Ann Lininger

When is a difficult choice an easy decision? When all of the choices are good.

That appears to be the situation facing Democratic House District 38 PCPs gathering August 14 to create a list of statute-limited three to five people to replace State Representative Ann Lininger; she was promoted to a Circuit Court judgeship by Governor Kate Brown.

County commissioners from both Clackamas and Multnomah counties will then make the ultimate decision as to which one of those candidates will fill the rest of Rep. Lininger’s term. Her resignation is effective August 15. The appointee must be of the same party — Democratic — as the departing legislator.

Those stepping forward to date include:

  • Joe Buck
  • Alex Josephy
  • Theresa Kohlhoff
  • Daniel Nguyen
  • Moses Ross
  • Andrea Salinas
  • Neil Simon

The real question is: What criteria will the combined 65 precinct committee persons use to distinguish between these qualified candidates?

Some argue electability should be the primary concern. This approach struggles with defining who is electable and who is not, but much like pornography as defined by former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, “I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.”

A subset of this argument is the ability to raise money. Since money is the mother’s milk of politics, the best fundraiser is by definition the most electable.

Others prefer a candidate who leans more “right” or “left” on the issues. They want to know that the candidate will be a strong voice and advocate for core Democratic issues like social justice, fair pay, equal rights, and universal health care. This group believes that if a candidate is a strong advocate for Democratic values they will win.

Yet another group wants a candidate who will focus on their district. In HD 38, as in all house districts, there are issues unique to the district. This group wants affirmation that the representative they elect will be a strong voice for those issues.

Whatever criteria will prevail in the final decision, it is a strong argument for joining a political party.

Voters not registered Democratic will have no voice in this appointment process. They will not have a say in which candidates’ names are sent to the county commissioners. Party volunteers, in this case Democratic Party volunteers elected by their neighbors to be precinct committee persons, will decide. They will then work with whichever candidate is picked by the county commissioners to both hold them accountable to their neighbors and work equally hard to get them elected in 2018.

What these precinct volunteers and Clackamas County neighborhood leaders do is provide personal contacts between the voters and the candidates. This contact is one way to help get big money out of politics.

independents for Progressive Action is sponsoring a candidates forum on August 10th. You’re invited to come and meet the candidates, hear what they have to say, and if you’re an HD38 PCP, decide who will get your support.

iPA Candidates Forum
Thursday, August 10 at 6 – 9 p.m.
Lake Theater & Cafe
106 N State St.
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034
More info: