What office are you running for?
State Representative for Oregon House District 17
With which party are you running for office?
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020
Why are you running for office?
I’m just a working single mother of three children all under 7 years old and a Stayton resident who cares deeply about my community. I decided in 2017 I needed to do more than be an armchair activist when I decided to start becoming more involved in civic activities.
I’ve lived in this area most of my life, am raising my family here, and plan to retire here. My family has roots in House District 17 that go back over 100 years and while a large piece of my pride in this district comes from my family’s long history here, everyone has different reasons to be proud of this district. Whether you have been here for generations or less than a year, House District 17 is home to all of us that live here. It is a home to be proud of and a home with a bright future.
House District 17 has strong, vibrant communities, all of which face unique challenges. We are Rural Oregon, and after years of being overshadowed by metropolitan politics, I’m ready to tenaciously advocate for our voices to be taken seriously at the Oregon Legislature. I’m running for Rural Oregon, and for the communities I love and have called home. I am running because House District 17 is my past, present, and future.
What is the biggest issue facing your community and how do you propose helping?
Livability is a big issue for us out here. That spans across a variety of issues like access to healthcare, emergency services, and broadband internet in our most remote areas like Idanha and Cascadia, well-funded, quality public education, universal pre-k and childcare for working families, living wage jobs that provide good benefits and a safe work environment, quality and secure housing that fits our cultural needs and our wallets, and supports for our small businesses and farms.
Many of us struggle in most of these areas because we don’t have the same access or attention as larger urban areas of the state. We are working hard just to provide for ourselves and our families, and we don’t always have time to be advocates, learn the legislative process at local and state levels, hire lobbyists, or even know who our elected officials are and what they can do for us. I plan to expand my impact in our district by taking my knowledge of the state legislature, my skills in advocacy, and my ability to shape public policy to Salem when elected as House District 17’s State Representative in November.
We need real representation at the decision-making table, and right now that is happening in the democratic caucus room at the Oregon State Capitol. Rural Oregon deserves active community members in the legislature who will advocate for us, represent all of us, and ensure this gorgeous district gets the services and support it deserves. I will continue to reach out to members of our communities, regardless of their party affiliation or ability or desire to vote, to be sure every voice is represented in legislation that affects us out here. I will stay and advocate, not walk out. I will have meaningful conversations that promote sustainable and practical solutions for our local and state-wide problems. I will work for meaningful progress for our area that brings to light the real issues we face every day and delivers solutions that aren’t presented in one-size-fits-all bills. Rural Oregon is unique across the state, and each community needs their perspectives heard and considered, and a representative that is not only willing, but eager, to understand and advocate for all of us out here. We’re tired of being left in the dust.
How do we fix the partisan divide in our country and start working together again?
I think most people have grown tired of fighting about issues that have been built to keep us divided. We want progress, improvement, and to strengthen our strong sense of community. My goals of representation, inclusivity, livability, a strong local economy, and workers’ rights as State Representative are appealing to many who have felt ignored by the legislature, and even our own legislator in our district. I know that my platform of bridging the divide, recognizing that even when there is disagreement in one area or another that most people are good people, and that I, too, am tired of the partisan divide and have no plans to try to change someone’s party resonates well with most community members, because rural people are family and they are friends. My policy plans and message seem to energize and inspire people in House District 17 regardless of their partisan affiliation, and I have registered Republicans, Democrats, non-affiliated voters, and even those that can’t or choose not to vote in my district wanting to engage with me. My commitment to representation and inclusivity are not empty promises. For example, I have and will continue to engage with farmers and foresters in my district to discuss what they expect from their next representative.
We start working together by focusing on the things that affect our daily lives, our individual communities, and our district as a whole. We can stay true to our personal values and still have conversations that draw out unique solutions to our local issues. I have already witnessed productive conversations happen between community members that don’t agree on every subject. We don’t have to agree on every issue today. What we do need to consider is how long we will let partisan politics hold our district back, and how long we will allow other parts of the state to benefit from the bills passed in Salem while we miss out on critical funding available. I will be a bridge for our district to finally have our voices heard and will work tirelessly to hold our legislature accountable while collaborating with other elected officials – even those across the aisle – in order to pass legislation that will build a stronger House District 17.
What is the most recent book you read?
Harvest the Vote by Jane Kleeb. This book hits head-on how so many Democrats have lost touch with rural voters and make assumptions about their needs, their stances on issues, and their values, if they don’t just ignore rural areas completely. It draws focus to the fact that we really do have solutions for our own problems if people would bring our voices to the table and really listen, and that many of us are after the same things, but we tend to view them and talk about them differently. I think other than Rising Strong by Brene Brown this book is a top favorite.
How can our readers get involved in your campaign?
If you are interested in volunteering time to a rural Democrat who is passionate about representing all people in House District 17 in Salem, and you like bite-sized projects you can do remotely or are looking for a way to learn about campaigns through more in-depth involvement, then you would love volunteering for this grassroots campaign! Visit http://paigefororegon.com/join-our-team/ to let us know you’re interested and what you’re interested in.
There are lots of other rural democrats running in the areas around House District 17 as well, so if collaborating across multiple campaigns interests you let us know! We like to call ourselves #TeamRuralOregon
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