Member Spotlight: Deian Salazar

Editor’s Note: Deian is the MultDems Youth Committee Chair, a District Leader and a Precinct Committee Person for House District 47. He ran for David Douglas School Board in 2021. A young activist working on progressive causes, including disability rights, he shares the reasons why he is proud to be a Multnomah County Democrat.

Deian Salazar
Deian Salazar

How did you get involved in the Democratic Party?

I am a 21 year old autistic Latino Christian male. I have always been passionate about helping people. I joined the Multnomah County Democratic Party to make good change happen. We are a welcoming, inclusive community that is truly progressive and represents the people. We need to be bold and smart.

The people of America need help. They need Single Payer Healthcare so they don’t suffer more after a tragedy, a Living Wage to be able to afford living, and a good Education to give them the ability to pursue their dreams without mountains of debt.

People of color are suffering, under a system that was built for wealthy white landowners, and not the common people or people who were economically punished for centuries because of their skin color, not just African Americans but Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans.

Farmers need subsidies for their produce, and land reform is urgent. Expanding internet everywhere for free, is critical to expanding our farmers’ access to markets and the ability of youth to get a good education.

Small businesses deserve respect and support, as they’re the backbone of what makes society work, and the Democratic Party is committed to fighting the corporations trying to strangle small business.

The Democratic Party once took part in creating these issues. Now it is time to solve it. We need to fulfill what Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of and develop a truly equal society, and support MLK’s aggressive pursuit of Affirmative Action and true racial justice. Let us embrace the legacy of Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, and Cesar Chavez.

There is another group of people who have been segregated from society for centuries, one that the Civil Rights Act doesn’t mention: People with disabilities. We must solve that by passing the Disabilities Bill of Human Rights and good education tailored specifically to the students.

The Democratic Party is a wonderful, diverse party. The Democratic Party of today is a force of hope. It is filled with the best and brightest America and Multnomah County have to offer.

The Democratic Party of Multnomah is not the Democratic Party of established out-of-touch corporate elites. We are a growing movement of passionate and intelligent people who are fighting to make change happen. This is why I am a Democrat.

Why do you think it’s important for Democrats to become involved at the local level?

Your problems can be solved through local leadership. Housing prices are through the roof, homelessness is a crisis, and Multnomah needs leaders.

We can make affordable housing for homeless people a reality, we can get homeless people good paying jobs, we can reduce rent costs.

But it all depends on strong leaders like yourself. You are not a nobody. You might think you do not know a lot, and that’s okay. Listening is the first step to solving a problem. You are valued. And you only need to contribute as much as you want to and feel able.

We need a strong bench of leaders to keep Oregon blue and to solve the issues hurting our diverse community.

That’s why it is time for you to shine.

What are some of the priorities for our state and for Multnomah County this year?

Portland  needs to reform its city council system. This will allow better, more local representation and a fresh ability to solve the homelessness crisis.

Oregon is a diverse state, and it needs unity. It is time to develop fresh new progressive policies to bridge the urban rural divide—iIdeas such as a geographic tax system.

What is making you hopeful right now

I am very proud of the people in our party and all the great women who have put themselves on the line the past few years. I especially am excited to support Tina Kotek for Governor, who can get things done.

What advice can you provide to our Democrats in Multnomah County?

Always speak up, but also always listen. You’ll never stop learning, and that’s a good thing.