Union member Deborah Barnes is running for state representative in Oregon’s House District 41. She hopes to succeed Democrat Carolyn Tomei, who announced in March that she would not seek re-election after serving seven terms in the Legislature. HD 41 covers Milwaukie, Oak Grove, Sellwood and the Eastmoreland neighborhoods of Southeast Portland.
Barnes’ opponents in the Democratic primary in May are Kathleen Taylor, attorney Ted Roe, and Kaliko Castille. [Castille dropped out of the race on April 2 and endorsed Barnes.] The winner will face Republican Timothy McMenamin in the November general election. McMenamin was the only Republican to file for the race. Democrats hold a nearly 13,000-voter registration advantage in HD 41. (McMenamin lost to Tomei two years ago by a margin of 72 percent to 28 percent.)
Barnes, who teaches broadcasting and social media at the Sabin-Schellenberg Professional Technical Center in Milwaukie, is president of the North Clackamas Education Association and serves as the Region 1 vice president of the Oregon Education Association (OEA). Before becoming a teacher she worked as a broadcast news reporter/ anchor in Oregon and was president of the Portland local of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).
Barnes grew up in a union household. Her late father was an active member of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555.
Barnes served two four-year terms (2002 to 2010) on the Milwaukie City Council, and in 2009 she lost a bid to be mayor by 25 votes.
Barnes has been endorsed by her union — the North Clackamas Education Association and OEA — and by UFCW Local 555; Service Employees International Union Local 503; Oregon Council 75 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Clackamas County Firefighters; the Oregon Nurses Association; the Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters; and Portland Association of Teachers.
Taylor has been an auditor in local and state government, a court-appointed special advocate for at-risk children, a member of the Portland Public Schools budget review committee, and a volunteer staffer for Tomei.
She is endorsed by the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council; Iron Workers Local 29; the Joint Council of Teamsters No. 37; and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48.