Multnomah Youth Commissioners hosted a candidate forum May 1 at Franklin High School.
The forum gave youth an opportunity to question candidates in small group discussions and to discuss issues that matter to young people. The non-partisan commission does not endorse candidates, but offers youth an opportunity to vote for their choice of candidate.
Discussions ranged from the role of different elected officials, to the candidates stance on youth having a voice in policymaking, bullying, gay rights, equity for minorities and how to eliminate the school to prison pipeline.
Candidates Jules Bailey, Michael Durrow, Deborah Kafoury, Sharon Maxwell, Aquiles Montas, Steven Reynolds, Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith and Brian Wilson showed up in person. Nick Caleb, Nick Fish and Jim Francesconi sent staff to represent them.
“I was very much impressed and I’m not as worried about our future as I was before,” Durrow said at the end of the event. And other candidates also praised the students for their intelligent questions and ideas.
“It was a great conversation,” said Smith. “Hearing from some of you about your experiences and that you were bullied, I’ve learned I still have more work to do around bullying.”
After more than an hour talking to candidates, youth voted for their preferred candidates. Winning candidates were:
Portland City Council Position 2: Nick Fish
Portland City Council Position 3: Nick Caleb
Multnomah County Chair (Interim) Jim Francesconi
Multnomah County Chair (4-year term) Deborah Kafoury
Multnomah County Commissioner District 1: Tie between Jules Bailey and Brian Wilson
Multnomah County Commissioner District 2: Loretta Smith
(Results of the vote represented only the youth present at the event. The commission is nonpartisan.)
The election will be held May 20.