Newsletter

Legislative Update: Climate Change Bills

By Tracy Farwell and Catherine Thomasson

Big wins and some losses on Climate Change in Salem

As we face another heatwave in Southern Oregon that sucks the desert dry due to drought we did have some wins…

HB 2021 – Clean Energy for All passed along party lines. This commits our 2 commercial electric companies to 100% clean, carbon-free energy by 2040 the strongest targets in the nation. The bill has the strongest labor and apprenticeship provisions ever included in a 100% clean law and contains multi-million dollar investments for community-based renewable energy and storage projects to protect marginalized and frontline communities during outages.

House Bill 2842 – Healthy Homes passed 56-2 in the House and awaits the governor’s signature. It creates a healthy homes program in the state’s health authority and provides grants for low-income households and landlords to repair residential units at the same time as energy efficiency work.

HB 2165: Electric Vehicle (EV) Incentives are extended for purchasing or leasing electric vehicles. The bill expands the Charge Ahead Electric Vehicle Rebate Program for low- and moderate-income residents and requires utilities to invest in EV infrastructure with at least half the funds going to underserved communities. 

HB 2180 EV Ready building codes are now required in new construction so that electrical hookups are available to cost-effectively install EV charging stations in the future. Sadly similar codes for solar have not been enacted or developed through the Executive Order on climate and in the next legislative session.

Unfortunately, SB 583 and HB 2924: Prohibition on future Confined Animal Feedlot Operations (CAFO’s) or mega-dairies died in the legislature, again!

Join the Multnomah Climate Action Team to learn more and to help create more wins in the future!

Jas in nature

June Digest

June Digest

Hello fellow Democrats,

June is time to remember our hard-fought rights, from emancipation from slavery in June, 1865, the expansion of voting rights to women across the US in June, 1920, to the Stonewall riots in June, 1969, and the fight for rights for queer people everywhere..

Today, we celebrate Pride each June, and Juneteenth was just made a state holiday. Of course, we still have to stand up for our rights and freedoms, and remember that we are not free until all people are free… We still take a stand for what matters, as we did this past year, because Black Lives Matter, and queer lives matter, and believing women matters. 

The effort to secure democracy is also a continuing battle. As Republicans double-down on their Big Lie to justify suppressing voting rights across the country, here in Oregon Democrats are fighting to strengthen democracy. If you haven’t already, go to this FastAction page to send a letter in support of Campaign Finance Reform! The Pandemic has taught us that no one’s health is secure until all of our health care needs are met. Democrats worked hard to refer an amendment to voters in 2022 guaranteeing this right for all of us.  If you haven’t joined our Action Alert Network yet, I invite you to do so today

We’ll touch on this and more in this issue, and spotlight change-makers who have helped take the lead on so many issues.

Speaking of local Democratic leaders, here’s a special call-out to one of our own party leaders serving at the state and national level, Travis Nelson!, who was recently named a Queer Hero for 2021 by the Gay and Lesbian Archive of the Pacific Northwest! Thanks for your leadership, Travis!

Jas in nature
James Davis, MultDems Communications

A brief history of the racial culture in Oregon and why Juneteenth matters

 

Oregon Senator Lew Frederick with the author’s children.

Today, Oregon is known as one of the most broad-minded states in the country. It has consistently for years been placed in polls as one of the top 10 most liberal states to live in.  Portland, the state’s largest city, has hosted the most continuous Black Lives Matter protest in the nation. It is also credited as one of the driving forces against the Trump Administration’s attempts to use the Nixonian campaign strategy of “law and order” to win a second term. Just recently on June 1st, 2021 the Oregon State Senate passed House Bill 2168 establishing a cultural and historical significant date as an official Oregon State holiday known as Juneteenth. Senator Lew Fredericks stated “HB 2168 designates June 19th as an Oregon State holiday, commemorating the arrival on horseback of the news of the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston Texas, in 1865 to the cheers of African Americans then Enslaved.”

As forward thinking as Oregon is, and as supportive as Oregon appears to be of its African American residents, the 86% white state has a history of racial subjugation and prejudicial societal ideals. Even before Oregon became a state it was being purposely designed as a Caucasian-only haven. In the 1840’s the provisional government enacted laws against slavery while at the same time forbidding people of African descent the legality of settling in the area. With such laws as the 1843 Oregon Lash law stating that any free black person over the age of 18 “caught” living in Oregon was to be whipped every six months by the county constable until the person left the territory; literally criminalizing the presence of black people in the region. In 1859 Oregon was the first and the only state to be admitted into the Union with Racial Exclusion Laws in its Constitution. The laws remained until 1926, with original racist language finally being changed in 2002. In the 1920’s, one in twenty Oregonians was a card carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan, the highest percentage of any state west of the Mississippi.

Oregon has been slow to confront its bigoted history, taking 89 years (in 1959) to affirm the 15th amendment giving Black citizens the right to vote (which was ratified by the rest of country on February 3rd , 1870) and 162 years to eradicate the racist language in its constitution. Oregon also took another More baffling still, is the fact that Oregon didn’t fully ratify the 14th amendment granting citizenship and equal protection to African Americans until 1973!

It is important for societies to remember their histories, especially when it comes from such places as Oregon’s racially iniquitous past. As the saying goes, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We can use it as a barometer to measure where we are and what direction we as a state should be headed. State Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland) said it best “This new holiday recognizes that the people of the state of Oregon, despite our past, can take the veil of ignorance away and each year celebrate hope on Juneteenth.”  That being said, Juneteenth’s recognition as an official state holiday starting June 19th, 2022 does not erase the past, but shows us as citizens of Oregon that however slow; progress is being made.

Please see more about Juneteenth, in this 2020 article by Dr. Rosa Colquitt, HERE.

(Damien Grace is the pen name of David Burnell, Multnomah County Democrats activist and PCP in HD 43.)

May Digest

May Digest

Hello fellow Democrats,

May is a month of many celebrations… from international labor to Asian and Pacific Islander heritage. For MultDems, we’re preparing for our biggest celebration of the year, Celsi, while also redoubling our effort to get good bills passed — starting with campaign finance reform which will help open the door to passing many other bills we care about. The contrast between the major parties is increasingly stark, as Democrats seek to rebuild America while Republicans double down on their election lies and defend the interests of the ultra-wealthy over the needs of the American people. Locally, while Democrats are working to end the influence of KKK-Era laws, we see Republicans partnering with Proud Boys as they become increasingly intolerant. We’ll touch on all this and more in this issue of the Digest.

James Davis, MultDems Communications

Multnomah Republican party solicits Proud Boys Security Team

On May 1st, 2021, the Multnomah County Republican Party signed a contract with a known affiliate of the Proud Boys to provide a security team for a private meeting. Daniel Tooze who voluntarily offered the security and signed the contract, received high praise from a letter the local republican party leadership had written to him stating “We were greatly pleased to have discovered you, and your extensive experience with church events, weddings, and various patriotic events.” They also stated in the letter that they were looking for a “safe event with no problems.” The May 6th private meeting was held to expel the county GOP chairman Stephen Lloyd, who has said to have been criticized for attempting to make the Multnomah County GOP more inclusive and open its meetings to the public. An Internal party petition read “The Chairman should promote the party platform, and not state, ‘Diversity is an extremely important part of society and diversity of ideas is what we should be striving for.’ ” The event was held at the Portland City Blessings Church with the contracted security team patrolling the local neighborhood from 5pm until midnight, according to a post from the social media platform NextDoor.

For more information, please go to wweek.com, yahoo news, and the Daily Beast

Photo from Sophie Peel’s worthwhile May 10 2021 WW article below. Check it out!

https://www.wweek.com/news/city/2021/05/10/multnomah-county-republican-party-signed-agreement-with-proud-boy-affiliated-security-team-at-portland-meeting/

https://www.thedailybeast.com/multnomah-county-oregon-gop-invited-security-run-by-proud-boy-associate-daniel-tooze-to-guard-a-secret-meeting

https://autos.yahoo.com/local-oregon-gop-invited-proud-194518850.html;_ylt=Awr9CKusa51gCCYAEGxx.9w4;_ylu=Y29sbwNncTEEcG9zAzMEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Ny

Campaign Finance Reform with Teeth

By Gary Leitke, Election Integrity Study Group

Campaign Finance may well be the FOREMOST PRIORITY for this Oregon legislative session. Until comprehensive limits are set, elections will remain unfair and unreachable to everyday citizens. 

Voters resoundingly approved constitutional amendment Measure 107 last November, to allow finance limits, post SCOTUS Citizens United decision.

But unless follow-up legislation establishes stringent, comprehensive limits—elections will continue to be “bought” and money will steal the ability of everyday citizens to be heard fairly. Electeds will be chosen by money and subsequently influenced by money. Few of lesser means can compete as candidates. Legislation aimed to benefit everyday (esp. poor) people will be impaired. That includes many, many bills for which MultDems advocate in our Platform and support by testifying at hearings and writing to their electeds.

Our Election Integrity study group sees HB3343 as the best of 3 current limit-setting bills still alive. But we are not satisfied that any of them satisfactorily limit money flow FROM groups (e.g., PACs, SuperPACs, and party caucuses).

Unless legislation effectively limits ALL contribution sources, especially including groups, from funding a campaign, it’s like squeezing a balloon; flow may be partially restricted, but rushes in from the rest of the balloon.

Write your legislators to boldly restrict contributions by groups.

What’s on your May 2021 ballot?

Ballots are mailed to voters April 28th. 

Your Ballot is due in Ballot Boxes May 18 at 8pm sharp. Or in the mail by May 11th. 

Below are all the Democrats running for local election in this special election. To look up voter statements for local Democratic candidates, consult the MultDems Voter HUB

Multnomah County Elections website includes drop box locations,  assistance for voters, tracking your ballot, multilingual instructions.  https://multco.us/elections 

School Board members volunteer their time and energy to serve our community. An effective school board plays an important watchdog role in keeping districts on track and setting policies that affect students and staff. The school board sets the vision and goals for the school district, and holds the district accountable for results. They hire and evaluate the superintendent, adopt and oversee the annual budget, manage the collective bargaining process for employees, approve the school calendar, adopt curriculum, oversee construction, and more. 

We support Democrats running in these community elections. Democrats know that high-quality, safe, well-funded, equitable public education for all students not only enriches our personal lives but strengthens our economy and is critical to a well-functioning democracy. We support a racially, ethnically, linguistically,  culturally diverse workforce to meet student needs, and support union representation for teachers and other staff. See our full party platform multdems.org/platform 

You’ll find even more information about each  candidate in their voter pamphlet statements, on  their websites and on the Multnomah Democrats  website. https://multdems.org/

This candidate list is county-wide. Your ballot will include only the at-large and zone races specific to your address. 

K-12 School Boards 

Our schools prepare students for life—for college, for work, for living within a family and within a community, and for participating effectively in the democratic process. * (A/B) AFTER A NAME, IT MEANS TWO DEMOCRATS  ARE RUNNING FOR THE SAME POSITION. 

CENTENNIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT 

Position 1 Zone 1 David Linn 

Position 5 Zone 3 Claudia Andrews 

Position 6 At-Large Erica Fuller 

Position 7 At-Large Heath Curry 

CORBETT SCHOOL DISTRICT  

Position 2 Vanessa Lyon 

Position 3 Michelle Vo 

Position 4 Leah Fredericks 

DAVID DOUGLAS SCHOOL DISTRICT  

Position 2 Stephanie D Stephens

Position 3

Hoa Nguyen (A)

Deian Salazar (B) 

Position 6 Andrea Valderrama 

GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOL DISTRICT 

Position 1 Zone 1 Robyn Stowers

Position 4 At-Large

Carla C Piluso (A)

Julie Frediani (B) 

Position 5 Zone 4 Jasia Mosley 

Position 6 At-Large Mayra L Gómez *

PARKROSE SCHOOL DISTRICT  

Position 1 Joshua Singleton

Position 4 Sonja Mckenzie 

Position 5 Elizabeth Durant  

PORTLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT  

Zone 4

Brooklyn Sherman (A) 

Herman Greene (B) 

Zone 5 Gary Hollands 

Zone 6

Matthew (Max) Margolis (A) 

Julia Brim-Edwards (B) 

REYNOLDS SCHOOL DISTRICT  

Position 1

Aaron Muñoz (A) 

Charles Crowder (B) 

Position 2 Matt Richardson

Position 3 Michael Reyes 

Position 4 Cayle Tern 

CORBETT SCHOOL DISTRICT  

Position 1 Jeff Dominitz

Position 5

Kevin McPherson (A)

Allison Williams (B) 

Community College Boards 

Community colleges serve everyone though  multiple missions — critical workforce  development and retraining, preparing  students for their next steps in higher  education, and community enrichment. 

MT HOOD COMMUNITY COLLEGE 

Zone 1 Diane McKeel 

Zone 4 Annette L Mattson 

PORTLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE 

* (A/B) after a name, it means two democrats  are running for the same position. 

Zone 1 Laurie J Cremona Wagner  

Zone 4 Jim Harper 

Zone 5 Dan Saltzman 

Zone 6 Mohamed Alyajouri  Reiko

Zone 7 

Mia Williams (A) 

Kristi Wilson (B) 

MESD 

Multnomah Education Service District is a  regional cooperative providing programs and  services to school districts all over Multnomah  County including:  School Health Services, Special Education,  Alternative Education, Technology, Outdoor  School and School Improvement.  

Position 1 Zone 5 Susie Jones  

Position 2 At-Large Helen Ying 

Position 3 Zone 2 Mary Botkin  

Position 4 Zone 4 Jessica Arzate 

Democrats Deliver

What’s in the American Rescue Plan for you and your family 

Here’s some of the tools to help us to recover our health, our schools and our economy: 

COVID Vaccinations — we’re over 200 million  doses already

The ARP invests about $160 billion to manufacture and provide the vaccines, supplies, testing, and public health workforce to stop the spread of  COVID-19 while distributing vaccines as quickly as possible to states, counties, pharmacies,  community health centers and mobile vaccinators as we continue to address racial disparities in  COVID-19 outcomes. As of April 19 — all Oregonians 16+ will be eligible to receive a vaccine. Find an  appointment https://covidvaccine.oregon.gov/ 

Safely re-open schools

Provide $130 billion to help schools serve all students, no matter where they are learning, to safely open schools and keep them open. 

These investments include set-asides at the local and state level to ensure states and districts address the learning loss and social and emotional needs of students disproportionately impacted by  COVID-19, including students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities.  

Immediate relief to American families. Direct payment of a $1,400 per-person, bringing  total per-person relief payment from this and the  December down payment to $2,000. 

Extend current unemployment insurance benefits and eligibility to September 6, with a $300 per week supplement so 18 million American workers can pay their bills. Also the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 will be tax-free. 

Help Americans stay in their homes. The pandemic has left 1 in 5 renters and millions of homeowners behind. Through states and local governments, ARP provides emergency rental assistance to cover back rent. And funds to help struggling homeowners catch up with their mortgage payments and utility costs through the  Homeowners Assistance Fund. And, it provides additional funding for families and individuals who are recovering from or at risk of homelessness. Oregon will be distributing funds at www.oregon.gov/ohcs/. Multnomah County residents will be able to access through calling 211. 

Keep food on the table

The American Rescue Plan will increase SNAP  nutrition assistance benefits by 15 percent  through September 2021. It increases Seniors’  and Women and Children’s assistance. Protects  food worker safety and support for farmers of  color. The bill also funds partnerships with  restaurants to feed American families and keep  workers in the restaurant industry on the job.  

Cut childhood poverty by half

Increase the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age 6). This means a typical family of four with two young children will receive an additional  $3,200 in assistance to help cover costs associated with raising children. The families of more than 66 million kids will benefit beginning this summer, with advance payments arriving as a monthly check. If you’re welcoming a new baby this year — look for the new IRS portal soon that allows you to receive your full benefit. 

Protect our Health Care

Lower or eliminate health insurance premiums for millions of lower and middle-income families enrolled in health insurance marketplaces. A family of four making $90,000 could see their monthly premium come down by $200 per month. The plan also subsidizes premiums for continuation health coverage (COBRA) for workers who had insurance through their jobs. 

Support resurgence of Small Business. Since the beginning of this pandemic, 400,000  small businesses have closed and millions more are hanging by a thread. ARP provides emergency grants, lending, and investment to hard-hit small businesses so they can rehire and retain workers and purchase the health and sanitation equipment they need to keep workers safe. This includes a  Small Business Opportunity Fund to provide growth capital to Main Street small businesses in economically disadvantaged areas, including minority-owned businesses. And extending the  Employee Retention Credit for small businesses  through December 2021 

Provide $28 billion for a new grant program  to support hard-hit small restaurants and  other food and drinking establishments. Grants can be used for payroll costs, mortgage,  rent, utilities, new outdoor seating construction,  PPE and cleaning materials, inventory, paid sick  leave, etc This could be a lifeline for many of our  friends and neighbors. Find the details for this RRF  Grant and other SBA support www.sba.gov.  Special thanks to Congressman Earl Blumenauer  for championing this program. 

Sustaining our Arts Community

Grants for live venue operators, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theatre operators, and talent representatives that are struggling. See Shuttered Venues at  www.sba.gov 

Distribute more than $360 billion in emergency  funding for state, local, territorial, and Tribal  governments to ensure that they are in a position  to keep public workers on the job and paid,  while also effectively distributing the vaccine,  scaling testing, reopening schools, and maintaining  other vital services. And help hard-hit public  transit agencies avoid layoffs and service  reductions, which disproportionately harm  workers who are more likely to be dependent on  public transportation.  

Keeping Fire, Police, front-line workers  on the job

American Rescue Plan Benefits Oregon 

• $2.758 billion in state fiscal relief 

• $1.5 billion in local fiscal relief 

• More than $1.1 billion in relief for K-12 schools 

• Economic impact payments of up to $1,400 per person (above the $600 per person provided in   December) for more than 2.7 million adults and   971,000 children. This is 86% of all adults in the state and 86% of all children in the state. 

• Additional relief of up to $1,600 per child through the Child Tax Credit to the families of 779,000 children, lifting 40,000 children out of poverty 

• Additional relief of up to nearly $1,000 through the Earned Income Tax Credit to 264,000 childless workers, including many in front-line jobs 

• Marketplace health insurance premiums that are $1325 lower per month for a 60-year old couple earning $75,000 per year 

Visit the White House website for more information https://www.whitehouse.gov/american-rescue-plan/ 

Thanks to our members of Congress for their advocacy and updates. 

Rep Earl Blumenauer, 

Rep Suzanne Bonamici, 

Sen Ron Wyden 

Sen Jeff Merkley 

Protecting Our Voting Rights

A record 159 million Americans turned out to vote  in 2020. We should celebrate! Instead, 43 states are  in the process of enacting over 250 voter restriction bills that will make it harder for young, elderly, and  voters of color to make their voices heard. Georgia  was only the first. It’s up to Congress now to pass  the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act to protect every Americans’ right to vote. 

For the People

Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley has teamed up with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senate  Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY)  introducing S.1., the For the People Act—  comprehensive reforms that would end special-interest corruption of our politics and make government work for the people.  

The landmark legislation—companion legislation  to H.R. 1, which was passed by the U.S. House of  Representatives on March 3—aims to restore the  promise of American democracy by guaranteeing  every American citizen full access to the ballot by  addressing voter intimidation and suppression,  which are among the biggest examples of systemic  racism in America; ending the corrupting power of  dark money in our campaigns; and putting an end  to gerrymandering. In addition, it strengthens  ethics laws to ensure that public servants work for  the public interest. 

“Every American—regardless of the color of their  skin, where they live, or how much money they  have—deserves a seat at the table and an equal  voice in their government,” said Merkley. “If you really believe in the vision of our republic, you believe in voter empowerment and not voter suppression.” 

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act. Originally called the Voting Rights Advancement  Act was renamed for the late civil rights icon and  congressman following his death, looks to restore  the preclearance formula to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The VRA is widely regarded as the single  most effective piece of civil rights legislation in  our nation’s history. As recently as 2006 it won  reauthorization with overwhelming bipartisan  support. The law allowed federal officials and  courts to block discriminatory changes in voting  rules in states with a history of voting rights  violations. It blocked 86 attempts to subvert  

voting rights between 1998 and 2013 from  becoming law. Until the Supreme Court stuck it  down in 2013 as no longer needed. We’re now  seeing the assault on voting rights to disenfranchise voters, just as lawmakers did before the original  Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. 

Corporate America begins to take a stand. They’ve done this before in 2006; helping to push  reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act. Pressure is  mounting on leading companies in Texas, Arizona  and other states, particularly after Major League  Baseball’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game  out of Atlanta. A joint statement from executives at  nearly 200 companies, including HP, Microsoft,  PayPal, Target, Twitter, Uber took aim at state  legislation “threatening to make voting more  difficult” and said “elections are not improved”  when lawmakers impose new barriers to voting.  As customers and employees, we can certainly  encourage this kind of action. More info at  CivicAlliance.com. 

You can make a difference, stay engaged and  support democracy. 

Make calls, write Letters to the Editor, share the  message. These and many other organizations are  working now to protect the vote, pass For The  People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act,  and fix the filibuster. 

Common Cause www.commoncause.org 

Indivisible indivisible.org/campaigns 

Center for Common Ground  

www.centerforcommonground.org/take-action Fair Fight Action www.fairfight.com 

Black Voters Matter blackvotersmatterfund.org Voting Rights Alliance www.votingrightsalliance.org

APRIL Digest: Taking Action

April Digest: Taking Action

Hello fellow Democrats

April is Earth Month. As a child growing up here, I remember April was always the rainy month. A few days ago, the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning of fire dangers for most of Northwest Oregon. Addressing the impacts of climate change will occupy the rest of our lives on many fronts, from the economy to migration to health care. Democrats have advocated for addressing both the causes and impacts of climate change, along with other progressive policies, but our advocacy means little unless we also take action. That’s why the theme for this month’s Digest is Taking Action

James Davis, MultDems Communications

A forward-thinking platform and progressive resolutions are not enough. We must work to make sure our bold ideas are enacted. Long-time member, Robert Reynolds, has been working for years with fellow Democrats to help bring our legislators into greater alignment with our platform. Recently, newly elected State Representative Khanh Pham supported our plank on Public Banks when she sponsored HB 2743 supporting municipal banks. And this month, the Comms Team, working with Bobbi Yambasu, created a new Action Alerts newsletter headed up by Comms volunteer, Britton Taylor, to alert members when important legislation needs our support and how we can help. In MultDems, we’re taking action in many ways every day to move our city, county, state and nation forward.  

Read our April articles to learn more, and look for an opportunity soon to subscribe to our Action Alerts. As always, thanks for doing your part to take action and make a difference!

See all Digest Articles