12-09-2022  3:38 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
 The U.S. Postal Service has begun delivering ballots today, Wednesday, Oct. 19, for Multnomah County’s Nov. 8, 2022, General Election. (Photo/Multnomah County)
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 24 October 2022

This week The Skanner is publishing endorsements. We hope you will vote with us, but if you disagree we still want you to vote like your life depends on it.

Ballots have begun mailing on October 19. All registered voters should receive their ballot by October 27 and anyone who has not should call 503-988-VOTE. Starting this year, if your ballot is postmarked (and signed) by Election Day and received within 7 days after the election, your vote will be counted. If using a dropbox, ballots must be submitted by 8:00 p.m. on Nov. 8. Drop sites are listed here. You can track your ballot here.

Candidates

United States

ron wyden 2022 introU.S. SENATOR, RON WYDEN

Twenty-six years in office has not slowed Wyden’s commitment to holding a yearly town hall in each Oregon county, nor has it slowed his responsiveness to Oregonians’ values writ large on the Congressional stage: Wyden consistently supports reproductive freedom, has actively legislated for common sense gun control legislation, has fought to safeguard our privacy from business interests, and has proven an unflagging advocate for affordable, accessible health care for all. He actively fights soaring prescription drug costs and legislates for Medicaid and Medicare expansion. Wyden has also recently shown that he can be counted on to act fast to meet the needs of those he represents, responding not only to the immediate health and economic needs brought on by the pandemic, but by pushing for serious, committed funding for future pandemic preparedness. In short, Wyden can be counted on to lead the charge for Oregon’s interests.

Vote ✔ YES for WYDEN

suzanne bonamici introU.S. REPRESENTATIVE, 1ST DISTRICT, SUZANNE BONAMICI

Rep. Bonamici has been in her current position for more than a decade and has proven to be a steady and reliable force for Oregon in Congress. At some of the lowest points in the Trump administration–like the inhumane immigration policy and the Jan. 6 insurrection at the nation’s capital–she has been vocal and demonstrative of progressive values. Most recently she has signed on to legislation that would protect workers’ ability to unionize, supported Biden’s college loan debt forgiveness program and voted for both the Infrastructure Bill and the Inflation Reduction Act. At a time when women’s health care is acutely under threat, Bonamici has taken Oregon’s strong support for reproductive health and translated them into a more national framework: by helping pass the Women’s Health Protection Act in the U.S. House, she pushed to codify abortion services and access as federal law, and has done similar work to protect the right to contraception. She has championed Medicare for all, joined survivors of school shootings to push for greater gun control, and has committed to fighting for voters rights in states that do not enjoy an efficient by-mail ballot system like the one we have in Oregon. Oregonians can continue to be proud of her representation.

Vote ✔ YES for SUZANNE BONAMICI

earl blumenauer official 2022 introU.S. REPRESENTATIVE, 3RD DISTRICT, EARL BLUMENAUER

There is a reason Earl Blumenauer has held his current seat since 1996: He is in step with the values of a district that includes much of Portland and Multnomah County. A devout cyclist, he has proven himself a tireless advocate for mass transit; his support of legal cannabis led him to co-found and co-chair on the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, and to support federal forgiveness for those jailed for marijuana possession or use; he is a champion of universal health care and is fervently pro-choice. In representing the city on the congressional level, he recently supported placing a number of landmarks important to Portland’s Black history on the National Register of Historic Places. He points out that abortion protections, marriage equality and lower prescription drug costs hang in the balance this election. Blumenauer has demonstrated that he is a stalwart defender of all three.

Vote ✔ YES for BLUMENAUER

jamie mcleod skinner 2022 introU.S. REPRESENTATIVE, 5TH DISTRICT, JAMIE MCLEOD-SKINNER

Jamie McLeod-Skinner has a robust professional background as an emergency response coordinator and manager of refugee resettlement programs, and she punctuates her approach to climate change crises with a deep understanding of how BIPOC communities are most vulnerable and hardest hit by mounting heat waves and wildfires. She believes that communities of color must be included in emergency plans, and that the state must invest in a 21st-century energy grid. This attention to vulnerable populations in rural communities, from a candidate who herself resides in rural Central Oregon, is long overdue.

Addressing the stunning achievement gap for BIPOC students in Oregon’s already lagging education system, McLeod-Skinner supports career and technical training at the high school level. She is pushing for a “civilian G.I. bill,” which would fund college education for students who then go on to jobs in public service, what she calls a reverse of loan forgiveness programs for teachers.

As an elected board member of the Jefferson County Education Service District, she has seen how a high school mentorship program led to Warm Springs having the highest graduation rate of any tribal community across the country, and aims to repeat that success if elected to the 5th district. But she wants to see such investments start earlier, arguing that funding early childhood education is a pennies-on-the-dollar investment that has huge impacts on student success.

Her opponent, Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer, has made censuring school curriculum a cornerstone of her platform, leaning heavily on a popular misconstruing of critical race theory to frighten her base. Chavez-DeRemer falsely equates teaching students honestly about history--that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded throughout American agencies and institutions.

On the issue of homelessness and housing insecurity, Jamie-McLeod argues for a more responsive government and a stronger infrastructure, along with investments in affordable housing, health care and childcare. Chavez-DeRemer’s stance on homelessness in Oregon is a baffling suggestion to build a wall along the country’s southern border to stem the transportation of drugs into the U.S. from Mexico.

The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act placed a price cap on the soaring price of insulin for Medicare participants. Refusing to accept contributions from pharmaceutical PACs, McLeod-Skinner has vowed to fight for additional fair drug pricing at a time when Republicans have pushed back against such common-sense regulation.

Vote ✔ YES for MCLEOD-SKINNER

Oregon State

tina kotek theskanneroffice introGOVERNOR OF OREGON, TINA KOTEK

Tina Kotek, the longest-serving speaker of the house in Oregon history, has proven herself an effective leader with a knack for working both sides of the aisle.

In a race for the open governor seat, Kotek finds herself in an unlikely position: neck and neck with a Republican candidate, Christine Drazan. It may be that Kotek is the victim of bad timing, having been in power when a deadly pandemic exposed gaping holes in state programs. While her policy savvy makes Kotek the most promising fix, unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson is attracting just enough support to undermine Kotek’s base.

Drazan rose to prominence by leading the 2020 Republican walkout that ended the legislative session early, accomplished nothing, and derailed more than 200 bills. Her boilerplate stances are extreme and betray a naivete about what leading the state entails; she tends to favor fiery language over political substance. Kotek, by contrast, is clearly running for Oregon.

Kotek has proven herself adept at handling the unglamorous workings of a functional political system. She rightly criticized Gov. Kate Brown’s lack of focus on the daily operations of state agencies, which has only exacerbated sluggish state systems, like the disastrously inefficient employment department. Kotek’s commanding leadership of the House shows she is better suited to the highest administrative position in the state.

She also has a management style that we find promising. While Drazan has professed a burn-it-to-the-ground approach to governing, Kotek favors innovation in policy-making – and has the stomach for the inevitable missteps and course-correction.

Case in point: She had little patience for her opponents’ hand-wringing and delays around solutions to the homelessness crisis, preferring to expand proven programs like Project Turnkey, which converts motels into temporary housing with service providers on-site.

We are impressed by Kotek’s fluency in how the state is failing its employees of color at every level of government, leading to high rates of turnover even amid the state’s supposed commitment to equity. Kotek sees a mentoring gap throughout state agencies in general.

“I used to work at an affirmative action office, and my question is, are we reflecting the population?” Kotek said. “And it’s not just in hiring, it’s boards and commissions. They should look like the state (and reflect) all those demographic differences. And right now a lot of them don’t. So there’s work to do, for sure.”

Unlike Drazan, Kotek believes public schools can and must do better. Kotek helped pass and fund the African American/Black Student Success Plan, putting greater statewide focus on closing the achievement gaps for BIPOC students under-served by public schools. She supports fully funding career and technical education at the high school level, arguing that it will set students up for rewarding careers and livable wages, while increasing the chances they will complete high school.

Kotek also wants to change the “pipeline of educators,” arguing that far too many students of color go through school without ever having a teacher that looks like them.

Simply put, it is a perilous moment for Oregon. Drazan’s extreme pro-life stance is a danger to the state’s deeply entrenched support for reproductive rights and access to comprehensive health care. Drazan shares her opposition to gun control with Johnson, who has also voted against it. We must have strong gun control laws that protect people. Too many lives have been lost due to gun violence.

Kotek is clearly the best choice for Oregon.

We strongly urge you to vote for Tina Kotek. 

Vote ✔ YES for TINA KOTEK

janelle bynum 2022 introSTATE HOUSE DISTRICT 39, JANELLE BYNUM

Janelle Bynum has an impressive record of advancing equity in legislation. A member of Oregon’s BIPOC Caucus, she last year helmed the successful Create a Respectful and Open World (CROWN) Act, which bans discrimination based on hair type, style or texture. She cosponsored a successful bill to compensate those wrongly convicted and imprisoned. In the wake of 2020’s widespread protests against police killings, she chaired the bipartisan House Judiciary's Equitable Policing Subcommittee, which passed a package of bills that included measures to evaluate potential law enforcement hires for bias and racism, better train police to assist with medical emergencies and intervene in medical distress during arrest, and limit the public release of booking photos. We support Bynum’s advocacy for small business, as well as her focus on infrastructure improvements as a way of decreasing traffic deaths and improving neighborhood safety.

Vote ✔ YES for JANELLE BYNUM

tawna sanchez 2022 introSTATE HOUSE DISTRICT 43, TAWNA SANCHEZ

Tawna Sanchez is the only Indigenous member of the state House and has used her position in the past six years to respond to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous people in the region. She brings a background in social work and professional experience in domestic violence intervention to address some of the state’s most pressing issues, like reforming Oregon's criminal justice system, advocating for elderly Oregonians and addressing income equality. As a foster parent, Sanchez has navigated the Oregon Department of Human Services and seen its weaknesses firsthand, and has vowed to make the agency more accountable. Sanchez represents marginalized and under-served communities, and she understands the challenges of working within systems plagued with inherent bias, like law enforcement.

Vote ✔ YES for TAWNA SANCHEZ

travis nelson 2022 introSTATE HOUSE DISTRICT 44, TRAVIS NELSON

Travis Nelson was appointed to finish former House Speaker Tina Kotek’s term in the 44th district as she embarked on her campaign for governor. In less than a year he has demonstrated he deserves another term. Even as a newcomer and one of the younger lawmakers, he has provided much-needed representation on multiple fronts: He is a registered nurse, the first LGBTQA+ Black member of the House, and a union leader who serves as vice president of the Oregon Nurses Association. Nelson provides much-needed, from-the-ground insight into gaps in the health care system and the current nursing shortage. He is running with an attention to air quality, the health impacts of climate change, equity, access to union representation, renter protections, a housing-first approach to public safety, protecting reproductive health care and health care affordability–all issues we support.

Vote ✔ YES for TRAVIS NELSON

andrea salinas 2022 introU.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 6, ANDREA SALINAS

Andrea Salinas has spent the past five years in the state House, acting as House Majority whip and representing some of Portland and Lake Oswego, where her work on workers' rights, access to health care, reproductive freedom and a $15 minimum wage demonstrated she is the best candidate to move to the U.S. House in Oregon’s newly gained sixth Congressional seat. She enjoys a litany of endorsements from progressive Oregon and U.S. Congressional legislators including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as well as from Planned Parenthood, NARAL and major unions–votes of confidence that prove she is far preferable to Republican candidate Mike Erickson, whose pro-life, law-and-order platforms have been undermined by accusations from a former partner that he paid for her abortion, and by his own legal record, which includes a DUI in 2016 alongside charges for possession of oxycodone that was not prescribed to him.

Vote ✔ YES for ANDREA SALINAS

mark meek 2022 introSTATE SENATE DISTRICT 20, MARK MEEK 

Mark Meek, currently representing House District 40, has spent his legislative career trying to advance equity in the housing market. He is a realtor who has combined his professional knowledge with his personal history growing up housing-insecure, working effectively as a member of the state’s Joint Interim Task Force on Addressing Racial Disparities in Home Ownership and pushing back against former campaign financier the Oregon Association of Realtors when the group declined to support a bill banning no-cause evictions. In the Senate, he has vowed to continue his party's fight to lower prescription drug prices and health care costs, and to invest in affordable childcare.

Vote ✔ YES for MARK MEEK

kayse jama 2022 introSTATE SENATE DISTRICT 24, KAYSE JAMA

When Kayse Jama was appointed to his current seat to replace current Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, he became the first Muslim state senator in Oregon history and almost immediately helped create Oregon's Office of Immigrant and Refugee Advancement, a reflection of his own experience fleeing wartime Somalia in 1998. Jama earned a degree from Marylhurst, then co-founded Unite Oregon, a multifaceted nonprofit that has been prominent in recent drug decriminalization efforts and police reform efforts, and he has proven himself a tireless proponent of affordable housing. As chair of the state's Senate Committee on Housing and Development, Jama worked alongside House Committee on Housing chair Rep. Julie Fahey (D-Eugene) to extend safe harbor protections for tenants at risk of pending evictions from the pandemic. Jama has quickly proven himself a compassionate politician and an inclusive leader, and going forward, has outlined workable plans to speed up construction of new housing in the state.

Vote ✔ YES for KAYSE JAMA

christina stephenson introLABOR COMMISSIONER: CHRISTINA STEPHENSON

Christina Stephenson, an established workers rights attorney who has also served on the state legislative workgroup on lowering prescription drug prices, is the clear choice to lead the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industry. She is not only armed with a deep understanding of state employment law and the workings of this agency, she has deep insight into the weaknesses of BOLI enforcement. Case in point, she wants to amp up the agency’s wage theft enforcement. She has stated that underpaying employees, failing to pay overtime and miscategorizing employees for the purposes of keeping them at a lower pay rate are all stunningly common practices. But she has also demonstrated how she will come to the position with a support for business owners, in part by increasing the pool of qualified job candidates with expanded job training programs, particularly in industries suffering from critical staff shortages: education and healthcare. Stephenson’s opponent, Cheri Helt, lacks the industry experience of her opponent and has cited gubernatorial candidates Christine Drazan and Betsy Johnson as inspiration in her campaign for the nonpartisan position. Stephenson is endorsed by the Oregon Nurses Association, Oregon State Police Officers’ Association, Pro-Choice Oregon PAC, SEIU Oregon and Oregon AFL-CIO, among others. 

Vote ✔ YES for CHRISTINA STEPHENSON

Multnomah County

jessica vega pederson introMULTNOMAH COUNTY CHAIR (RUN-OFF), JESSICA VEGA PEDERSON

In a run-off to replace Deborah Kafoury in the highest elected county position, we were impressed by both Sharon Meieran, an emergency room physician and attorney, and Jessica Vega Pederson, a former state legislator. Both have proven effective county commissioners. But we feel Vega Pederson’s successful development of and push for the countywide Preschool For All program last election demonstrates the energy and vision the county needs from its next leader. While the program’s launch has not been without hiccups, guaranteed early education for the county’s children was a measure long overdue. Addressing the region's housing crisis, Vega Pederson has proposed expanding on proven programs, like motel conversions and activating empty apartment units by collaborating with landlords and social services--an approach advanced by the 3000 Challenge PDX. She is endorsed by Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, former House Speaker and current gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek, former Oregon governor Barbara Roberts, State Sen. Kayse Jama, as well as organizations including Imagine Black, Pro-Choice Oregon, the Working Families Party, East County Rising and the NW Oregon Labor Council.

Vote ✔ YES for JESSICA VEGA PEDERSON

City of Portland

jo ann hardesty 2022 introCITY OF PORTLAND, COMMISSIONER POSITION 3 (RUN-OFF), JO ANN HARDESTY

Jo Ann Hardesty has unwaveringly kept a focus on racial equity and better community safety alternatives. In the wake of 2020’s massive Portland protests against police brutality, she launched an overwhelmingly successful ballot measure for stronger police oversight and discipline. Acknowledging the growing mental health crisis in the city, Hardesty spearheaded the growth of the now-citywide Portland Street Response, which involves unarmed behavioral health professionals in mental health emergencies that would be otherwise handled by law enforcement.

It has not been an easy term for Hardesty. A vocal critic of the Portland Police Bureau, she was falsely implicated in a hit-and-run traffic incident by the then-head of the police union, who has since been fired from the force. She has been accused, like so many other self-assured Black women in positions of leadership, of at times being disagreeable or abrasive during city council sessions. While we acknowledge Hardesty has made mistakes during her time at city hall, we are impressed by the way she listens to her constituents and continues to be effective even while defending herself and having to be vigilant about her every move.

Hardesty continues to carry strong endorsements from prominent progressive leaders like U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, U.S. Reps Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer, and organizations including Pro-Choice Oregon, Basic Rights Equality PAC, the Oregon Sierra Club and the Portland Association of Teachers, among others.

Opponent Rene Gonzalez is an inexperienced politician with an unsophisticated platform. Campaigning on vague platitudes, one of his primary strengths is the simple fact he has not been in office these past two tumultuous years. But his brazen disregard for the safety and representation of LGBTQ citizens is what we find immediately disqualifying: In 2021 and with pandemic numbers high, Gonzalez founded the ED300 advocacy group with the stated mission of opposing comprehensive sex education in schools, marriage equality and immediately returning students to schools without a mask mandate. Of the 28 school board candidates ED300 supported last year, 17 also earned the support of far-right organizations including groups that are focused on limiting the rights of trans people.

Gonzalez has since been unapologetic about his support for prejudiced school board candidates, saying he endorsed those who shared his desire for quick school openings. He is not the person we want on our city council. We need someone who will fight for the rights of all citizens. Jo Ann Hardesty is that person.

Vote ✔ YES for JO ANN HARDESTY

Ballot Measures

STATEWIDE:

✔ YES

MEASURE 111: Establishing Health Care as a Fundamental Right in Oregon - Ninety-four percent of Oregonians have some form of health insurance, and the state is on track to expand its Medicaid and Medicare coverage to further cover young children and vulnerable populations. Measure 111 is not a change to policy, but rather an amendment to the state constitution that formalizes Oregon’s commitment to affordable health care access. What may seem to be merely a gesture, then, would require the state to continue on this course, even through changing administrations. 

✔ YES

MEASURE 112: Ending Involuntary Servitude in Prisons - In 2021, Sen. Jeff Merkley cosponsored the Abolition Amendment to close “the slavery loophole” in the U.S. Constitution – the 14 words in the 13th amendment that outlaw slavery except for those who are imprisoned. Very similar wording exists in the state constitution, which in the prison system has allowed often unsafe labor, like fighting wildfires and performing hospital laundry services at the height of the pandemic–always with pay far below minimum wage. It is a human rights violation that harms everyone: Parolees who held jobs while in prison still re-enter society with minimal financial resources, outstanding fines and difficulty securing a job, setting them up for failure and repeat incarceration. Taking into account that Black Oregonians are imprisoned at nearly four times the rate of the white population, we support ending an exploitative prison labor system that is worth more than $1 billion nationally. Voting yes for Measure 112 removes the clause in Oregon’s state constitution that still allows slavery as punishment for a crime. 

✘ NO

MEASURE 113: Punishment for Legislators with 10 or More Unexcused Absences - In 2020, the state’s legislative agenda was twice derailed by Republican lawmakers fleeing the capital in protest of a bill to lower greenhouse emissions. We are in favor of ending weaponized absenteeism. But Measure 113 proposes a solution with little weight: Any Oregon state senators or representatives who have missed 10 or more floor sessions in a single legislative session, without the approval of the House speaker or Senate president, would be barred from holding office in the next term. We doubt that such delayed punishment will do much good in preventing future walkouts, and we are concerned at the subjectivity of “excused absence” and its potential misuse. 

✔ YES

MEASURE 114: Permit to Acquire Firearms, Police-Maintained Firearm Database - On paper, there is nothing revolutionary about this bill, which codifies common-sense regulation of gun ownership: Anyone wishing to purchase a firearm would need to obtain a permit issued by law enforcement, and would need to complete a gun safety course, pay a fee and be fingerprinted. The measure would also restrict the purchase and sales of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, reducing the risk of mass shootings. Violating the law would be a misdemeanor, upgraded to a felony if the violator has any prior criminal convictions. Measure 114, launched by the interfaith group Lift Every Voice Oregon, would be foundational in preventing future gun violence, and in lowering the soaring gun violence plaguing our state.

LOCAL:

Multnomah County

✔ YES

MEASURE 26-230: Gender-Neutral Terms in County Charter

✔ YES

MEASURE 26-231: Voting Rights in County Elections Extended to Noncitizens - This measure would change the county charter to allow noncitizens to vote in county-level elections. We agree that all residents, many of whom pay taxes, deserve representation. But we are recommending a yes vote with reservations: Although this measure enjoys support from a number of culturally specific and immigrant rights organizations, we are concerned that the voter registration process for noncitizens could prove dangerous, making new voters more vulnerable to over-zealous immigration policies like those we experienced during the previous presidential administration. Nothing in the measure addresses this, and supporters of the bill admitted this would be a question to be addressed further down the road

✔ YES

MEASURE 26-232: Ranked Choice Voting in County Officials Races

✔ YES

MEASURE 26-233: Annual Jail Inspections by County Commissioners

✔ YES

MEASURE 26-234: 26-234 Ombudsman Position in County Auditor’s Office

✔ YES

MEASURE 26-235: Expanded Access to Records for County Auditor

✔ YES

MEASURE 26-236: Changes to Charter Review Committee Requirements

City of Portland

✘ NO

MEASURE 26-228: Expanding and Overhauling Portland City Council - We absolutely support changing Portland’s archaic system of local government. But abandoning one flawed system for an untested option is not the solution, and this measure is overly complex and too much a risk for added chaos at a time when the city is struggling to confront its homeless and small business crises and other pressing issues

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