Community activist Susheela Jayapal announced this morning her candidacy for the District 2 position of the Multnomah County Commission. The District 2 seat, representing North and Northeast Portland, has been occupied since 2010 by Commissioner Loretta Smith, who is unable to run for the seat again due to term limits outlined in the county charter.
“Our community is growing fast, and with that comes a chance to shape our future for the benefit of all. We can’t leave people behind. We need to focus our limited resources on the growing number of people facing instability in their lives and struggling to keep up,” Susheela said in a statement released this morning.
“I want to help build a Multnomah County in which all people, all families and all children are accepted, are heard and can thrive. And it is at the county where we have the programs and resources through which all of us can come together to create a bigger, better community for all.”
Jayapal is a former corporate attorney for Adidas and Ater Wynne Hewitt Dodson & Skerritt. Her LinkedIn Page lists advocacy work with a long list of progressive organizations: Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, Portland Schools Foundation, All Hands Raised, Literary Arts, Metropolitan Family Service, and the Regional Arts & Culture Council.
She has also evaluated grants for Oregon Community Foundation and has served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in foster care.
Her campaign announcement release includes endorsements from Lee Po Cha, executive director of Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization; Susan Hammer, former chair, Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette; Angela Hult, former chair, Center for Women’s Leadership; Nichole Maher, president and CEO of the Northwest Health Foundation; O'Neill Electric Inc. president Maurice Rahming; state representative Tawna Sanchez (D-Northeast Portland); Portland Public Schools board member Amy Kohnstamm; NAYA executive director Paul Lumley; Debbie Goldberg Menashe, general counsel at Energy Trust of Oregon; Alberto Moreno, executive director of the Latino Health Coalition; transportation planner and advocate Lynn Peterson; MRG Foundation executive director Roberta Phillip-Robbins; Alysa Rose, president and CEO at Relay Resources in Oregon; Wajdi Said, president and co-found of the Muslim Educational Trust; and Judy Strand, CEo of Metropolitan Family Services.
According to the release, Jayapal was born in India, and grew up in Singapore and Indonesia, emigrating to the United States at 16 to attend college. At the age of 16, her parents sent her to the United States to attend college.
She holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Swarthmore College and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. She lives in Northeast Portland and has two grown children; her younger sister, Pramila, represents Washington state in the House of Representatives.
Jayapal is the first to declare candidacy for the District 2 seat.