What would it be like if the government were run by people like you? One way to find out: Run for public office. The union members below are running for office this year. They’re graduates of the Oregon Labor Candidate School, a union-funded training program that gives union members the skills to get elected. Interested? The next Portland-area session begins in October. Get your union to sponsor you, and find out more at oregonlaborcandidateschool.org.
Ray Lister – a journeyman electrician who’s now a union organizer at IBEW Local 48 – is running as a Democrat for House District 26 in Wilsonville. If he wins the Democratic primary in May, he’ll face a Republican in November for the seat formerly held by Republican John Davis. Republicans have a slight registration advantage in the district, so he’ll need all the help he can get from organized labor. — RayLister.com
Adrienne Enghouse – a Kaiser Permanente nurse and a tenacious union steward within the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals – is competing with a McDonalds franchise owner to become the Democratic nominee for House District 51 in Clackamas. But Enghouse, who runs ironman triathlons, is ready to go the distance. The seat is currently held by Democrat Shemia Fagan, who’s not seeking re-election. [UPDATE: Enghouse withdrew from the campaign March 11.]
Roberta Phillip-Robbins is an AFSCME-represented youth and gang violence prevention specialist at Multnomah County and a former teachers union member in Florida. She only has to win the Democratic primary to succeed state rep Lew Frederick, who’s running for state Senate, because no Republicans have filed this year in overwhelmingly Democratic House District 43 in Northeast Portland. — RobertaForOregon.com
Teresa Alonso Leon – the daughter of pro-union farmworkers – is a member of Woodburn City Council. She works as a high school equivalency and GED administrator for the state, where she’s a member of SEIU. She’s unopposed for the Democratic nomination in House District 22, but to succeed Democrat Betty Komp, who’s not running, she’ll have to beat Republican former Marion County commissioner Patty Milne in November. —ElectAlonsoLeon.com
Sheri Malstrom – a community health nurse at Multnomah County – helped get others elected as a member of the Oregon Nurses Association. Now she’s in a race of her own for House District 27 in Beaverton. She hopes to succeed Tobias Read, who’s running for state treasurer. She faces Darin Campbell in the Democratic primary. No Republican has filed to run. —SheriMalstrom.com
Mark Reynolds – a retired Hood River high school teacher and member of the Oregon Education Association – is running in House District 52. If he wins the Democratic primary, he’ll challenge Republican incumbent Mark Johnson. Johnson, a nonunion contractor, is considered one of the most anti-labor members of the Oregon Legislature. —ReynoldsForOregon.com
Tom Kane is a teacher, a soccer coach, an Executive Board member in the Portland Association of Teachers, and PAT’s liaison to the Portland Jobs With Justice Steering Committee. A longtime resident of Canby, he’s running unopposed for the Democratic nomination for House District 18 and will challenge incumbent Republican Vic Gilliam in November. — TomKaneForStateHouse.com
Sally Cook – a Marion County health educator – is a member of SEIU Local 503. She’s running for a nonpartisan seat on Salem City Council in southwest Salem’s Ward 7, challenging incumbent Warren Bednarz, a real estate investor who has held that position since 2012. —sallyforsalem.org
3/16/16 UPDATE: At least two other union members who did not go through the Oregon Labor Candidates School are also running for office this year.
Amanda Schroeder — president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2157 – is running for Multnomah County Commission District 4, the seat currently held by Diane McKeel, who is term-limited. We reported on Schroeder’s campaign previously. She’s up against Lori Stegmann, a Chamber of Commerce board member and Gresham City Council member. The other union member who was also seeking that seat — retired Teamsters leader Lynn Lehrbach — since dropped out of the race.
Leonard Stoehr is a union representative at Teamsters Local 206 representing workers at UPS and Sanipac garbage/recycling hauler. He’s running for Springfield City Council, Ward 4, challenging incumbent Dave Ralston.
INCUMBENTS – Current or former union members in the Legislature
- Michael Dembrow (AFT-Oregon) SD 23
- Diane Rosenbaum (CWA) SD 21
- Chip Shields (AFT) SD 22
- Laurie Monnes-Anderson (OEA) SD 25
- Mark Hass (AFTRA) SD 14
- Paul Holvey (Carpenters) HD 8
- Rob Nosse (ONA) HD 42
- Brad Witt (UFCW) HD 31
- Barbara Smith Warner (AFT) HD 45
- Margaret Doherty (OEA) HD 35
- Jeff Barker (Portland Police Assn) HD28
- Nancy Nathanson (SEIU) HD 13
- Jeff Reardon (OEA) HD 48
- Mitch Greenlick (AFT) HD 33
- Chris Gorsek (AFT-Oregon) HD 49
- Lew Frederick (AFTRA) HD 43