Union activist Amanda Schroeder has a lot of doors to knock between now and May 17. Schroeder, 39, is running for the District 4 seat on the Multnomah County Commission. The district has 96,000 registered voters, and covers all of eastern Multnomah County from about 148th Avenue to Multnomah Falls and Boring.
Schroeder is looking to the labor movement to help her cover that territory, because in a sense, her campaign pits the House of Labor against the Chamber of Commerce. Schroeder, a U.S. Army veteran, works at the Veteran’s Administration and is president of her union —American Federation of Government Employees Local 2157. Her opponent, Gresham City Council member Lori Stegmann, is an insurance agent and former board member of the Gresham Chamber of Commerce.
“If I win, I’ll be working for the people,” Schroeder told the Labor Press. “If she were to win, she’d be working for their bosses.”
County commission seats are non-partisan, but Stegmann, a Republican, has received in-kind support from Promote Oregon Leadership PAC, the political action committee for House Republicans. The support — access to a voter database — was valued at $9,000 in campaign finance disclosures. Those reports also show Stegmann has raised $100,000 thus far.
Schroeder has raised less than $18,000, and admits she hasn’t been great at raising money.
“I was told I needed to raise $150,000 to win this race. To me I find that just repugnant, because one of the biggest issues we have out in East County is poverty. And to raise enough money to buy a house and essentially piss it away on things that last for a moment is offensive to me.”
But Schroeder has collected support and endorsements from a dozen local labor organizations. Stegmann is backed by two: Gresham Professional Firefighters and the Fairview Police Officers Association.
Because Schroeder works full-time, and used up her leave in a recent battle with cancer, she campaigns evenings and weekends. She has help from her husband, a Portland police officer, and their two kids, 12 and 9. Saturdays, union volunteers meet up too, usually at the Sheet Metal union hall, before fanning out to knock on doors. Schroeder’s volunteer campaign manager Damion Jiles estimates the campaign has knocked on over 1,000 doors since March 5.
Find out more about the campaign at AmandaForEastCounty.com.