On Rene Gonzalez and Democratic Values

This is an opinion piece. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Multnomah Democrats.

Per our bylaws, the Multnomah Democrats cannot endorse candidates. However, in Portland’s City Council race I want to make it clear that there is one candidate who does not reflect the heart and soul of our party. The outcome is too important for me not to weigh in. 

The Multnomah Democrats recognize that there is a housing crisis in our community and across the state. We insist that the county and City of Portland work together to develop affordable housing for individuals and families with zero to moderate incomes. Lots of organizations and elected officials are working hard every day to improve this crisis. This issue does not just affect Portland; it’s a nationwide problem affecting many cities across our nation. 

However, our 2022 platform also states the following:

“We believe that people who are Houseless must be treated with respect and dignity and must be given the opportunity to participate in all of society’s promised benefits. Houselessness is not the failure of the individuals that find themselves with no place to live, but is the result of social, political, and economic policies.”

As this race for City Council unfolds, it is becoming increasingly clear that Rene Gonzalez does not align with the Multnomah County Democrats’ platform. He has repeatedly vilified Portland’s homeless population, saying Portland is “overrun” and “under siege.” When he’s not threatening them with the criminal justice system, he says he wants to drive segments of the unhoused out of the city.  

This language is completely anathema to what we stand for. Our houseless citizens are not criminals. They deserve our compassion. They are human beings. 

In addition, Rene has endorsed many troublesome candidates through ED 300, the political action committee which he founded and has claimed as his signature political experience. These candidates have deep ties with far-right organizations, including Oregon Right to Life and the anti-gay Oregon Family Council. A deeper dive reveals that Rene’s approved slate of
twenty-eight ED 300 school board candidates includes election deniers, anti-Islamists and those who are against marriage equality, trans rights and the recognition of systemic racism in our society. These endorsements stand in stark contrast to what Democrats stand for.  

It seems like many voters in Portland are still undecided in this race. I ask that when you cast your ballot that you remember what we stand for. The Multnomah Democrats do not officially endorse candidates, but we do advocate for our platform and what we believe in. In this important race there is only one candidate that supports our values. And that candidate is Jo Ann Hardesty. Please review her positions by clicking over to her candidate profile on the MultDems Election Hub

Britton Taylor is a Precinct Committee Person in HD45 and the Communications Chair for the Multnomah Democrats.