Civic Engagement is central to APANO’s mission of ensuring that Asian and Pacific Islanders are fully engaged in the political process, and have opportunities to vote in elections. In order to inform and educate our members about the May 19th special election, we have reached out to candidates who are primarily running for seats on local school boards and institutions of higher education. We will be posting candidate responses (from only those who have responded) on a daily basis.

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.


Eugene School District

Eileen Nittler

1. How are you qualified to represent the interests and concerns of diverse communities of color, immigrants and refugees?

My professional background in social work has given me insight and experience in working with diverse cultures.  I have served on the 4J Equity Committee for three years, speaking on behalf of all students and staff who are less well represented in our society. My beliefs are that diversity is our strength.  I will promote equity where and when possible in my role on the school board.

2. What policies and practices do you support that ensure all Asian and Pacific Islanders can be meaningfully engaged in the decision-making of the institution(s) you would represent if elected?

There are opportunities for community involvement in school district issues. I welcome all voices who speak on behalf of our kids and our families.  I sincerely hope that I will have Asian and Pacific Islanders meaningfully engaged with 4J.

3. Oregon currently graduates half of it’s English Language Learners, who make up 10% of the state’s K-12 student population. What policies will you support to ensure that students–including ones who identify as English Language Learner, have access to quality education and career-readiness programs after graduation?

Language acquisition takes years, and teaching in a native language, when possible, is vital for comprehension. Eugene can learn from more successful ELL programs in other districts.  I, as a member of Stand for Children, have advocated for the state funding to districts that is allocated for ELL students actually go to them, versus become part of the general fund. Additionally, I would like to see more availability for translation/ interpretation for better parent involvement.

4. Access to quality, affordable, and culturally competent health care ensures Oregonians are able to thrive and contribute. Please explain the policies you will support to increase access to care, and address health disparities, specifically for immigrants and refugees.

This is outside the scope of the school board. Personally, I’d like to see nationalized health care for everyone.

5. What policies relevant to your institution(s) do you support that strengthen economic opportunity and jobs for all communities in Oregon?

Better K-12 education.

Better tech/vocational options in high schools.

More opportunities for job training and internships for students.

Cheaper college costs.

Removal of obstacles for undocumented immigrants to obtain a fair and low-cost higher education.

Read more candidate responses here.