After repeated complaints from Multnomah County Commissioners about the difficulty of choosing from among its three candidates for appointment to Oregon House Seat 43, commissioners Thursday morning voted 3 to 2 for Lew Frederick, who edged out Karol Collymore in a tie-breaking vote cast by Chair Ted Wheeler.
A former TV reporter, Portland Public Schools spokesperson, currently a state Board of Education member and political consultant who has lived in District 43 since the 1970s, Frederick fought back tears after the final vote.
Commissioners Jeff Cogen, who currently employs Collymore on his staff, and Deborah Kafoury, who herself held the District 43 seat for three terms, cited Collymore's youthful energy and vision – as well as the fact that the legislature needs more women – in casting their votes for her.
In voting for Frederick, Wheeler and Commissioners Judy Shiprack and Diane McKeel listed his decades of local experience in educational issues, his plan for job creation and small business development, and his deep roots in the district, which is widely considered to be the most racially and economically diverse house district in the state.
The third candidate, Portland Community College faculty union president Eddie Lincoln, reaped kudos for his dedication in earning the support of Portland Democrats who were charged with recruiting the slate of contenders for consideration.
While the vote was split, there was not a trace of ill feeling, as Cogan made the motion to officially appoint Frederick and Kafoury seconded it.
Frederick will now serve out the term of office formerly held by now-Sen. Chip Shields, who was appointed by the Multnomah County Commissioners through a similar process after Sen. Margaret Carter retired this past summer.
The Commissioners' public questioning of the three candidates and their voting deliberations during Thursday's regular county commission meeting highlighted a few of the grave issues facing Oregon in general, and North and Northeast Portland in particular, including poverty, as well as disparities in economic development, education and health care.