PORTLAND, OR – Today community leader and activist Charles McGee filed to run for the Multnomah County Board of County Commissioners, District 2. The district includes much of North and Northeast Portland east of the Willamette River and north of I-84.
“Now more than ever we must work locally to protect the values that define us and consider how current actions will affect future generations,” said Charles. “To bring about this better future, what we need is a leader with a passion and understanding for this community, a vision for a better tomorrow, and a proven track record for getting it done for N/NE Portland. I believe – with your support – I can be that leader.”
Charles is focused on building a stronger, more resilient community by:
- Reforming our justice system: The system we use to administer justice is in urgent need of reform. In order to build a more just community—with equitable outcomes for all, we must invest more in restorative justice programs, build on current pilot programs already producing results, and work closely with key members of the Justice System to ensure accountability and positive change.
- Building a County for all: Affordable housing is one of the salient challenges facing our community. We must continue to take aggressive action to increase the affordable housing stock, reinforce existing pathways and build new ladders out of poverty—by reinforcing our anti-poverty system, and focus on humane strategies to get people off our streets.
- Protecting our values: Every day the Trump administration wages war on the people, values, and economy of Multnomah County, our region and our state. I will stand up for every member of our community. We must defend our local laws and push back against the flawed federal approach on immigration, tax reform, climate change, drug laws, and more.
- Strengthening jobs and the economy: Our economy needs to work for everyone. Addressing income inequality requires a multi-faceted approach that includes building deeper relationships with labor and the business community, seeking more apprenticeship opportunities, and strengthening the County’s anti-poverty services. Poverty and income equity must be on the forefront of the County’s work. The working people of District 2 deserve a champion.
- Meeting the needs of older adults: Our elder adults are some of our most valuable community members, but are also our most vulnerable. As our community continues to grow and budgets tighten, we have a real opportunity to invest in the strengths of everyone in our community and we must not leave our elders behind.
If elected Charles McGee will be the first African-American man to serve on the Multnomah County Commission.
What others are saying about Charles:
- “I am supporting Charles for County Commissioner because I know that he is committed to the work of the County for people living in poverty, people in the criminal justice system, and people needing healthcare. He brings to this commitment, compassion, experience and a clear focus on justice and equal opportunity.” – Beverly Stein, Former Multnomah County Chair.
- “Charles brings a deep understanding with a passion and vision for a better future. A perfect combination!” – State Senator Lew Frederick.
- “Charles is a champion of the people, working to give people a safe place to call home and an opportunity at a better life.”—Former Executive Director of Street Roots Israel Bayer
As the youngest of five children, Charles grew up in Northeast Portland attending Portland Public Schools (PPS). Passion for racial and social equity started early for Charles. When he was a sophomore at Franklin High School he presented a petition to the PPS Board with more than 200 signatures calling for race sensitivity training for teachers.
In 2005, as a freshman at Portland State University, Charles ran for the PPS Board. Although he didn’t win, the campaign channeled his drive to create change for Portland’s underrepresented students.
In 2006, Charles co-founded the Black Parent Initiative (BPI), where he continues to serve as executive director. BPI works to help Black parents achieve financial, educational, and spiritual success and advocates for public policy to address educational disparities for young people of color in Portland schools.
Charles is actively engaged in statewide advocacy for laws that support communities of color, encourage police reform, and assist educational equality. Last session, Charles was part of a successful effort to make our justice system more just – Charles lives in values and fights for working people.
As vice-chair of the Black Investment Corporation for Economic Progress, he advocates for economic prosperity without racial barriers. As a founding member of Just Portland, Charles rallies support for political candidates seeking local elected office.
Charles, his wife, and two children live in Northeast Portland near his childhood home.
Visit www.charlesforourcounty.com to learn more and get involved in the campaign. A campaign kick-off event is being planned for early February.