Standing and District Committees April Meeting Roundup

We’re pleased to share the highlights below from Standing and District Committee meetings held in April.

Campaign Committee, chaired by Peter Toll

For the first time in a long time, Clackamas County has Democratic candidates in every legislative and local race in the 2018 primary election. In some cases we have more than one candidate vying for same office. Some examples:

  • Kasye Jama, of SE Portland, and Shemia Fagan, of Happy Valley, are challenging incumbent Democratic State Senator Rod Monroe , Portland, in SD24. With no Republican in the primary, the Democratic winner will face no GOP opponent in November.
  • In the House, Democrats Doug Culver and Barry Shapiro, both of Silverton, are doing their best to unseat freshly appointed Rep. Rick Lewis, also from Silverton, in HD18.
  • Louise Lopes, of Mulino, and Peter Winter, of Oak Grove, are trying to wrest a county commission seat from incumbent Paul Savas, of Oak Grove. Savas is a registered Republican.
  • Sonya Fischer is unopposed for re-election in the other commission slot this year.
  • Metro has four contenders for the District 2 seat which covers most of the northern part of the county; three of them are Democrats. They are recent appointee Betty Dominguez, of Oak Grove; Joe Buck, of Lake Oswego; and Christine Lewis, of West Linn. Like the commission and county clerk races, these are nonpartisan roles.
  • Democrats Sherry Healy, of Clackamas, and Pamela White, of Oregon City, are campaigning to replace County Clerk Sherry Hall. If none of the three candidates musters a majority in the primary, then the top two will run off in November.

One more heavily contested seat, in HD52, finds Democrat Anna Williamson, of Hood River, running against recently appointed State Rep. Jeffrey Helfrich, also of Hood River. And in HD39, which includes much of rural Oregon City down into Estacada and Canby, incumbent Republican Rep. Bill Kennemer is not seeking re-election. Elizabeth Graser-Lindsey, of Beavercreek, is carrying the Democratic banner.

Two state senate races are drawing particular attention. Democrat Charles Gallia, of Carver, is going after GOP State Sen. Alan Olsen, of Canby, in SD20. Also defending his seat is State Sen. Chuck Thomsen, Republican, of Hood River. His opponent is Chrissy Hall Reitz, also of Hood River.

An unexpected guest, Gov. Kate Brown, led a campaign kickoff rally for Neighborhood Leaders and candidates at the Northwest Carpenters union hall in Oregon City on May 5. That Saturday and the next day were especially warm and sunny — excellent canvassing conditions.

Voter turnout is expected to be modest, probably in the area of 30 to 35 percent statewide. Clackamas County is mounting more than 500 Neighborhood Leaders, and where they toil door-to-door the numbers of Democrats voting are expected to reach closer to 50 percent.

Voting ends at 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 15. See the full list of races here.

Labor Committee, report submitted by Daniel Cortez

I have spoken at length with organizers from the New Seasons organizing campaign who are hoping to find a New Seasons worker, ideally from the Happy Valley store, to come and talk with the Labor Committee about their efforts to organize and the obstacles they are facing.

Teacher Appreciation week is May 7-11, 2018, with May 8 being Teacher Appreciation day. I have a resolution honoring teachers that I hope to put before the Central Committee for consideration and adoption, but with the “whereas” section deliberately omitted. My hope is that we can have an interactive post on the website whose purpose would be to encourage unique and individual “whereas” submissions that fit with the resolution.

While I was in Washington, D.C., I had productive meetings with Senator Merkley and Representative Blumenauer. I gave them the good wishes of the Clackamas County Party and was asked by each to convey their good wishes in return. My meetings with Senator Wyden and Congressman Schrader had to be cancelled due to scheduling conflicts.

I am working with Labor’s Community Services Agency, a non-profit NGO, to host a summertime social event/fundraiser for the agency. Union members and allies will be invited; details to follow.

Meanwhile, I have spoken with several people about being on the Labor Committee and urge anyone interested in joining the Labor Committee to contact me at <>

In closing this report, I offer this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, in remembrance of his assassination 50 years ago on April 4, 1968: “And when we have our march, you need to be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike. But either we go up together, or we go down together.”

House District 38; co-leaders Gary Thompson and Kathy Gordon

In advance of the May 15 Primary Election, HD38 held our Candidate Forum with 11 candidates participating. We also worked hard at connecting with and organizing our more than 100 Neighborhood Leaders, in particular putting together the information they needed, including their slate cards and candidate information. We also focused on training the new Neighborhood Leaders.

House District 52 Meeting; co-leaders Jan Lee and Dennis Ghelfi

The Oregon Trail Democrats held a candidate forum on the evening of April 9th in Sandy, sponsored by the Sandy Chamber of Commerce. Many members of OTD were in attendance and heard presentations and participated in the Q&A with candidates for HD52, SD26, county clerk, and county commission offices.

Joint Meeting of House District 39; co-leaders Naella Tesch and Katie Wynne; and House District 40; co-leaders Faith Leith and Bill Street

On Sunday, April 15, more than 50 people attended the joint HD39 and 40 meeting. They heard brief presentations from 14 speakers, most of whom are candidates in the May 15 primary, including Charles Gallia (SD20), Elizabeth Graser-Lindsey (HD39), and Rep Mark Meek (HD40). A lively Q&A followed.

During the meeting Commissioner Ken Humberston spoke about the Neighborhood Leader Program, noting: “I won my election by 2,247 votes. You guys make the difference.”

That was an inspiring comment for the dozen who stayed for Bill’s famous Neighborhood Leader training, featuring his dynamic PowerPoint and role-playing.