The spotlight is on Laurie Wimmer this month. A dedicated progressive activist and one of the key architects of Oregon’s Student Success Act (which will add $1 billion a year in perpetuity to the state’s chronically underfunded public education system) Laurie also ran for state representative from HD 36 in 2019.
Since then, she has remained active in investigating issues surrounding the state’s schools as Government Relations Consultant at the Oregon Education Association. Laurie has been a PCP and member of the Education Caucus, recently coordinating a subcommittee to develop a proposed resolution. She also was a recent presenter at meetings of the Education Study Group. She responded to a few questions about her work and why she is a Multnomah County Democrat.
Why did you become involved in the Democratic Party of Multnomah County?
I am a third-generation Oregon Democrat, child of two union members, and parent to yet another generation of Dems. My core values drive me to the party; my 32 years in Multnomah County make the Multnomah Dems my “home base”.
Why do you think it’s important for Democrats to become involved at the local level?
As our country becomes more divided and toxic, we need folks to help shine the light of our pro-community values. As a proud union advocate and 26-year public schools defender, I also believe that we need more voices in the party lifting up these critical concerns. I will be retiring soon from my position representing the Oregon Education Association and its 41,000 members, but I want to invest the expertise I have gained over more than 30 years in Oregon politics to keep making a positive contribution for the benefit of Oregon and her people. I think I’m not alone in seeking to marry values with activism, and that’s why it’s important for us all to become involved. If more of us invest the time, we can surely prevail against the toxic forces who would steer us toward a troubling future.
What are some of the priorities for our state and for Multnomah County this year?
We must seize this moment to elevate workers’ voices, to make progress once and for all on economic justice. We must protect our core public services, including public education, from fiscal erosion and privatization by corporate entities. We must save the planet from the existential crisis of climate change. And we must expand our efforts to ensure civil rights, justice, and equality for all in substantive, meaningful ways. These imperatives will define the future for our children and theirs.
What is making you hopeful right now?
I have learned, both as an advocate and as a candidate for office, that there are far more good people than selfish or dangerous actors, and that gives me great hope. I also know that we lead the nation in our insistence on racial, reproductive, and climate justice as well as on other critical issues — and by doing so, we set an example of what is possible for a more just world.
What advice can you provide to our Democrats in Multnomah County?
Never give up fighting for the righteous causes in which you believe — and take your stand in meaningful, not just performative, ways. Also, help to elect leaders who will do the same.
photo credit: Dr. Ramin Farahmandpur