Union candidate drops out of Oregon House race … after McDonald’s franchise owner gets leader support


By Don McIntosh, Associate editor

In our March 18 issue, in a story about union members who are running for office, I reported that nurses union activist Adrienne Enghouse, who competes in ironman triathlons, was “ready to go the distance” in a Democratic primary race in House District 51 in Clackamas. Unfortunately, that was out-of-date by the time the issue hit the printer.

Adrienne Enghouse

Unknown to me, Enghouse had withdrawn as a candidate on March 11, three days after she filed. Rumors were making the rounds that she did so under pressure from top House Democrats, who favored another candidate, Janelle Bynum.

House District 51 is currently represented by Shemia Fagan, a lawyer who beat a Republican incumbent in 2012 with considerable help from organized labor. This year, Fagan decided not to run again, but didn’t announce until the deadline day. Enghouse — a registered nurse at Kaiser Sunnyside and executive vice president of Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals Local 5017, had gone through the Oregon Labor Candidate School so that she’d be ready to run for office. She lives in Fagan’s district, and when she realized on the last day to file that Fagan wasn’t running, she put her name in the ring.

For the record, Enghouse confirmed that she got calls from House Speaker Tina Kotek and Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, but says she dropped out for her own reasons, mainly the challenge as a working person of getting lots of time off — on short notice — for an unexpected campaign. She hopes to run again for public office in the future.

Kotek says she’d been working with Bynum, but didn’t encourage Enghouse to drop out.

Bynum, on her campaign web site, calls herself “a small business owner,” but doesn’t mention that her business is owning two McDonald’s restaurants. She didn’t return my calls. That’s unfortunate, because I would have liked to ask her views on the recent minimum wage increase, and what starting wage her restaurants pay.

[UPDATE: Janelle Bynum got back to me March 29, after this article went to the printer. She says she was supportive of the minimum wage increase, and said the starting wage at her restaurants is just above minimum wage.]


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