(Photos from left to right: Amanda Fritz, Michael Durrow, Steve Novick)

Oregon faces one of the most intense and consequential elections in 2016, where your vote will make a difference.  We know that communities that vote experience better health, education and economic opportunity.  APANO’s civic engagement work is about speaking out and fighting for what is best for our families.  Our team has reached out equally to all candidates in selected races to provide them an opportunity to communicate more directly with the 250,000 Asian and Pacific Islanders in Oregon in advance of the May 17th Oregon Primary Election.  We encourage you to reflect on their answers and discuss with family and friends as you make your decisions.

Candidates have been asked the following questions to engage more directly with constituents, and for voters to be more familiar with their vision and policies. We are giving equal opportunity to all major candidates in the race. APANO is a 501c3 nonprofit, and makes no endorsements.  This information is provided for educational purposes only. 

 

City of Portland Commissioner Position #1

Amanda Fritz: www.Amanda2016.com

No responses from:
Lanita Duke
Tabitha Ivan
Sara Long
David Morrison
Ann Sanderson

1. Oregon’s racial demographics are changing rapidly, and today more than 1 in 5 are from communities of color. How are you qualified to represent the interests and concerns of diverse communities of color, immigrants and refugees?

Fritz – I am an immigrant. I have been a champion for the rights and needs of communities of color, immigrants and refugees during my service on the Portland City Council. I co-founded the Office of Equity and Human Rights in partnership with the Coalition of Communities of Color, supported the evolution of the New Portlanders program, and helped protect the Diversity and Civic Leadership program in the Office of Neighborhood Involvement from cuts during the recession. I am currently advocating for the establishment of the New Portlanders Policy Commission.

2. Asian and Pacific Islanders are persistently under-represented in our public processes. What is one policy you would fight for that expands access for Asian and Pacific Islanders in the political process?

Fritz – Public Campaign Financing. I am the only Commissioner ever elected from the community under the Voter Owned Elections process championed by Mayor Tom Potter, who has endorsed my re-election campaign. I want other community candidates who don’t have ties to insiders and affluent donors to have support for running for office successfully.

3. There have been an increasing number of comments about communities of color by candidates that raise the danger of violence and discrimination. What specific leadership will you take to address the anti-immigrant and racist political rhetoric in Oregon?

Fritz – I will continue to remind everyone that I am an immigrant, and to interrupt racist speech and actions. I will continue to attend events led by communities of color, to demonstrate my support. I will lead and support Council actions addressing racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric, such as the recent Resolution condemning hateful speech. I will be guided by community members in identifying problems and solutions.

4. What policy priorities do you envision fighting for that you believe will make a difference in the lives of Asian and Pacific Islanders?

Fritz – I will continue to champion equity for East Portland and communities of color. I will support the current budget request for funding to assist APANO in doing great work at the community center in the Jade District. I will continue to support the Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative areas, including the Jade District.

5. Why should Asian & Pacific Islanders vote for you?

Fritz – I have worked hard to include Asian and Pacific Islanders in neighborhood and civic participation, and I will continue to do so. I am the only immigrant on the Council. In partnership with APANO and other community organizations, I led the Council in passing Paid Sick Leave, which particularly assists people of color, immigrants and refugees. If re-elected, Portlanders of all backgrounds can be sure I will continue to work hard to support the values and principles we share.

 

City of Portland Commissioner Position #4

Chloe Eudaly: www.chloeforportland.com
Michael Durrow: www.michaeldurrow.org
Steve Novick: www.novickforportland.org

No responses from:

Leah Dumas
Stuart Emmons
Shannon Estabrook
James Lee
Joseph Puckett
Suzanne Stahl
Fred Stewart

1. Oregon’s racial demographics are changing rapidly, and today more than 1 in 5 are from communities of color. How are you qualified to represent the interests and concerns of diverse communities of color, immigrants and refugees?

Novick – Whether it is participating in cultural competency trainings, securing policy and funding victories for communities of color, or consulting with those most directly impacted by City policy, I am constantly seeking ways to be a more effective ally to communities of color. Systems of oppression and privilege have historically allowed for a small group of people to protect their own power, and I prioritize working towards deconstructing those systems. By focusing my outreach to East Portlanders and other underrepresented communities within the City, I gain a better understanding of the intersections between transportation and emergency management policy with anti displacement mitigation, housing affordability, and workforce equity policy. I then work with my staff who represent various communities of color to work on the community’s priority issues. In my first term, PBOT has invested over 47 million dollars in transportation safety improvements in east Portland.

Eudaly – I know from my own life experience, including being the parent of a child with a disability and a cost-burdened renter, that it’s incredibly difficult for people who lack lived experience — whether that’s being a person of color, having a disability, or being anything other than the perceived “norm” — to truly understand the challenges and barriers a given community faces. That means that while I can extrapolate from my own experience and empathize to a certain degree that I know that representing the interests of communities of color, immigrants, and refugees requires direct, meaningful, and ongoing engagement.  I’ve devoted over 25 years to fighting for progressive causes including anti-racist actions, LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, living wages, disability rights, and most recently affordable housing and tenants rights and I’ll bring this commitment to justice to City Hall.

Durrow – National Origin: My mother, myself and my younger brother were all born overseas in Denmark. Similar Upbringing: Myself and my siblings grew up speaking Danish to our mum and each other, we had a very Danish cultural experience. Experience: By the time I entered High School in Portland, because of my dad’s USAir Force career, I had lived three years in Denmark, three years in West Germany and three years in Turkey. My father was African-American, so I am colored as well. I have had many Immigrants and refugees as friends over the years.

 

2. Asian and Pacific Islanders are persistently under-represented in our public processes. What is one policy you would fight for that expands access for Asian and Pacific Islanders in the political process?

Durrow – Immigration and Naturalization are controlled by the Federal Government. I can only lobby and express my opinions that the current system is unfair, like everyone else; the few federal officials i know are on the same side. What we need is a veto-proof Democratic Congress and a Democrat for President if we ever want to see meaningful immigration reform.

Novick – I will continue to fight for the inclusion of an API serving community based organization in the Diversity & Civic Leadership (DCL) program in the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. Continuing to exclude API from racial justice programs further exacerbates the model minority image, and I would fight to ensure that an organization that has demonstrated capacity to reach and serve API has a seat at the table. Improved community engagement efforts between API communities and government agencies will strengthen the leadership development pipeline by connecting graduates who identify as API to City boards and commissions, and ultimately to elected offices. Fostering the development of diverse leadership that reflects Portland’s many communities is essential to building a strong pipeline for API to engage with the city.  I will also continue to advocate for reciprocal licensing, so that licenses earned abroad are recognized here in the United States.

Eudaly – The fact that the City of Portland did not reach out to Asian & Pacific Islander communities during public process surrounding the Portland Harbor Superfund deliberations until it was shamed into doing so, despite the fact that many people of Asian & Pacific Islander descent come from fishing cultures, and were not necessarily aware of the risks of fishing in the area, demonstrates the problem with the current regime in City Hall. If elected, I will do everything in my power to solicit, include, and amplify voices from communities that are routinely left out of public processes because I believe that embracing inclusion and diversity is crucial to the future of our city and to a just society.

 

3. There have been an increasing number of comments about communities of color by candidates that raise the danger of violence and discrimination. What specific leadership will you take to address the anti-immigrant and racist political rhetoric in Oregon?

Eudaly – I was deeply distressed by the the recent anti-immigrant remarks of Lane County Commissioner Faye Stewart and others in the midst of the Syrian refugee crisis. Things aren’t any better on the national stage with the Republican Presidential candidates routinely exposing some of the ugliest elements of our society to the light of day. It’s 2016, and we want to believe this kind of bigotry and racism has gone the way of the Chinese Exclusion Act, but sadly fear and ignorance still prevail in some sectors of our society. The first duty of government is to protect its people. Portland needs to adopt an aggressive zero-tolerance policy for hate speech and racially motivated crimes. City leaders need to communicate clearly that not only is the vile rhetoric of division not welcome in our community, but also that immigrants, refugees and communities of color are vital to our city’s health, prosperity, and future.

Durrow – I stand up to it, represent the face of color, and refute the stupidity of racist beliefs. But in the end the most-effective work is done converting hearts and minds person to person over a lifetime.

Novick – It’s incredibly important that we fight discrimination wherever and whenever it arises, the best way to do that is to make sure we have inclusive and diverse representation in all levels of the public sector. I strongly support efforts to nurture leadership in and ensure discussion about policy solutions with communities of color, and other underserved groups. That is why as commissioner I have promoted diversity in my own office, and in the bureaus I’ve managed.  Still, it is important as public figures that we call out hateful discourse when we see it. That’s why I was proud to stand with my colleagues on the City Council this past December in passing a resolution to denounce the dangerous and poisonous rhetoric being promoted by candidates like Donald Trump, and to reaffirm Portland’s welcoming nature for all immigrants and refugees. Whether on the national stage, or locally here in Oregon, we can’t just sit idly while people promote hate and violence for their own political gain.

 

4. What policy priorities do you envision fighting for that you believe will make a difference in the lives of Asian and Pacific Islanders?

Novick – I will continue to fight for civic engagement, leadership development, and workforce equity policy priorities, all of which will make a difference in the lives of Asian and Pacific Islanders.  I’ll also continue prioritizing policies that support meaningful and sustainable outreach strategies. As the only Commissioner in City Hall with two Outreach and Policy Advisors, I’ve heard from many traditionally underrepresented communities and advocated for their needs. I’ve also prioritized the hiring of a Public Involvement Coordinator within PBOT, a critical position that will improve the bureau’s public involvement policies and practices. Continuing to work with the Workforce Equity, Fair Shot, and Anti-Displacement PDX coalitions will allow me the opportunity to work with APANO and other API serving organizations in coalition with others.  Lastly, transportation safety will continue to be my top priority and will make a significant difference in API communities in east Portland.

Eudaly – Many of my priorities and policy solutions will benefit Asian & Pacific Islanders and other communities of color, given that my guiding principle is to put people and our planet before profit, and considering my steadfast belief in housing as a human right. Affordable housing, tenants protections, anti-displacement measures, and increased home buying opportunities for low and moderate income earners are at the top of my list. Equity in education for ELL students and students of color in order to boost graduation rates and decrease their over-identification for special education is essential. We need significant economic development and job opportunities within communities of color. We need to institute transparent city-wide goals around diversity, equity, and inclusion as I mentioned previously. And we need to guarantee healthcare access and reproductive justice to all Oregon residents.

Durrow – Fighting for Affordable Housing. A $15/hr minimum wage NOW and not in four or five years. Fighting for more fair, open, transparent and accountable Portland City Government.

 

5. Why should Asian & Pacific Islanders vote for you?

Durrow – (see Q1) Because, except for my country of origin, I am more like them and have a far better concept of what their lives are like, being different in the United States than anyone else in this entire race.

Novick – I’ve promoted communication between the City and their communities. I’ve proudly worked with groups like APANO and The Jade District to improve outreach. I’ve dedicated staffing resources specifically to issues impacting these underserved communities.  I’ll continue to work increasing the level of service provided to communities in East Portland, securing funds to fix crumbling roads, install sidewalks & increase traffic safety so kids can walk & bike to school, and seniors can walk to bus stops.

Eudaly – I’ve launched two businesses, and I’m the co-founder of the IPRC and the Special Education PTA of Portland, two very different organizations both dedicated to empowerment. I’m a creative, collaborative, and dedicated problem solver, but I also know firsthand what it’s like to struggle with some of Portland’s most pressing issues. I would be excited and grateful for the opportunity to work with the Asian & Pacific Islander community in order to make Portland a city that works for all of us.

To get involved in APANO’s civic engagement work, please contact Kathy@apano.org or call 971-340-4861.