(Photo from left to right: Ted Wheeler, Sarah Iannarone, Patty Burkett)

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 Mayor

Patty Burkett: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PatriciaAnnBurkett/posts
Ted Wheeler: tedwheeler.com
Sarah Iannarone: www.sarahforportland.com
Jules Bailey: www.julesbailey.com
David Schor: http://portlandforschor.org

No responses from:
Bruce Brousard
Eric Calhoun
Sean Davis
Bim Ditson
Steven Entwisle Sr.
Deborah Harris
Trevor Manning
Jessie Sponberg

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?

Burkett – My life is filled with significant interactions with everyone I encounter. My Beloved late Mother taught us from young childhood to respect each and every individual we meet. I have a genuine admiration for anyone that overcomes any barrier to one’s life purpose. It is imperative to me to engage with each and every Soul with total compassion. I know no other way to interact with anyone I dialogue with. And, so, I am very confident that I will always speak to the intuitive link that connects us in Spirit. The People first and foremost! Why? Leadership.

Wheeler – I believe that for Portland to truly call itself “The City That Works,” we need to be a city that works for ALL OF US. By that standard, we have work to do. In education, access to services, access to transit, employment and environmental risks communities of color are too often left out and left behind. Asian and Pacific Islander communities often rank above other communities of color on these measures, but that is not always the case. My campaign is focused on improving economic opportunity, educational outcomes, and public health and my record of accomplishment as Chair of Multnomah County and State Treasurer demonstrates that I can get it done.

Iannarone – As a low-income Portlander and small business owner from Outer Southeast Portland, I am closely aligned with the interests of Portlanders who work hard from the margins to make Portland a better place.  I am committed to equity and inclusion as the basis of our city’s sustainable future and economy FOREMOST. I know this is the only way we can survive and prosper in increasingly uncertain times.  Finally, to lead, one must know how to listen. I am committed to listening to Portland’s diverse communities and ensuring they move to the center of our political processes to claim their rightful power.  As Anita Yap said when she endorsed me, “Sarah not only represents the interests of East Portland, she is committed to capacity building in government institutions for investments to create equitable outcomes for our families.”

Bailey – I grew up in a neighborhood in Southeast Portland that was far more diverse than it is today. Early on, the immigrant Vietnamese family next door provided childcare for me because my parents had to work. The fact that Oregon and Portland are becoming more diverse should be welcome news. Diverse communities are strong communities, and Portland’s leadership should reflect that strength. Throughout my career, I have made sure to have staff and advisors that reflect communities of color, immigrants, and refugees. As Mayor, I am committed to have staff and bureau personnel that reflect the community of Portland, and it’s growing diversity. I have also pursued policies that reflect a commitment to diversity, including reforming our SUN school program at Multnomah County, and leading the charge on behalf of the Workforce Equity Coalition. I also received an “A” rating on the scorecard for racial equity in the legislature.

Schor – My experience as an attorney fighting for civil rights has given me a unique perspective on the challenges inherent in encompassing the full breadth of concerns in a diverse community. I have studied both Spanish and Mandarin, and have invested time connecting with diverse communities throughout my career, including years working within minority-owned businesses. My travel overseas in China has also informed my perspective.

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?

Wheeler – As Chair of Multnomah County I spearheaded a health equity strategy that focused on bettering health outcomes based on race, ethnicity, and geography. That model is now a national best practice. As mayor I will continue that work to address the root causes of health disparities between communities.

Iannarone – Portland’s population is not lacking in diversity, but you could not tell this by looking at how our city government operates day-to-day.

I will establish city-wide goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our:

+ municipal workforce,

+ procurement & contracting,

+ economic development, and

+ civic engagement activities.

Our Chief Information Officer will be responsible for tracking this goal and reporting our progress to the public in easy to understand ways. We’ll make it simple for Portlanders to keep track of city government promises in real time, not just with annual reports.

Bailey – I believe we need to fund and empower culturally specific organizations, including those that represent the API community, so that they can have equal standing with neighborhood organizations in our city input process. As Mayor, I will bring resources and specific pathways for input to culturally specific organizations. I will also ensure that materials are available in a variety of languages, and will ensure that I am meeting regularly with the API community. I would also support a process to have district level commissioners.

Schor – I would seek to ensure that equity policies in the city recognize the need for representation from the API community in all bureaus and at all levels. Community engagement must include information provided in appropriate languages for all communities, and staff that are able to interact successfully in a diversity of cultural contexts.

Burkett – Clearly the tenor of this question appears to bespeak a serious lack of inclusivity. I am shocked! Well, that is very easy. Step up! I am more than willing to foment strong ties to all representatives of every cultural heritage. The demographic makeup of the city and by extension county, state and country is burgeoning. We have always been an international arrival and departure destination for so many People throughout the world! Regular daily, weekly, monthly connections are imperative to maintain the critical necessity of promoting a loving, peaceful society in friendship and community pride. I am quite confident that this is already happening in real time. Congratulations! We will make history together.

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?

Iannarone – 1. Will establish policy in City Hall of zero tolerance for discrimination, zero tolerance for hate, and zero tolerance for hate speech.  2. I will cultivate an actively anti-racist police force. We will make investments in standardized, department-wide anti-bias training and ensure police have ample opportunity to interact with residents on a daily basis, especially in our most challenged communities. We will promote the safety and security of all Portlanders by cutting ties with FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTT) and Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE).

Bailey – Donald Trump is perhaps the worst example of divisive, dangerous, and racist rhetoric politics today, but he is by no means alone. I have used my voice and my position to combat this disgusting trend. I declared “refugees welcome” at Multnomah County and have made a point of meeting with immigrant and refugee communities to show my support. As Mayor, I would make it a point to hold hearings at organizations like IRCO and others to show that government welcomes the input of people from all communities. I will be a Mayor that will lead by example, calling out racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric, and showing that I welcome and value immigrants and all people of our color in Portland.

Schor – Anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric has no place in Portland or in Oregon. I will forcefully and loudly decry any politician that attempts to inject any anti-immigrant or racist rhetoric into our political discourse. Communities of color in Portland have had to struggle against a very racist past that is institutionalized in the wealth inequality and disparity in representation that still plague our city. We must actively embrace the diversity of our community and demonstrate that we are a community that welcomes all people, regardless of race or national origin.

Burkett – Unconscionable! There is no room anywhere for rotten behavior. I will never allow anyone in my presence, earshot or in writing to mistreat with intention, any natural man, woman, girl or boy. Never! I am always a protector by design. My younger sister and me were warmly regarded as responsible babysitters and we have always looked out for others. This is part of our background. It is a direct indicator of one’s love and compassion for others. It takes effort to face each day with determination to express our selflessness. It really is easy. We need to show more support to praise our capabilities amongst one another with elan!

Wheeler – The truth is that it matters when elected leaders take a stand against racism and the threat of racist violence. In certain political circles, anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric is not only accepted, but encouraged. We need to ensure that voters turn out and reject these tactics. As mayor, I will work to establish a culture of unity and mutual respect in Portland, will highlight the many important contributions immigrant communities make to our economy and society, forcefully condemn racist rhetoric, and will hold perpetrators of violence and those who threaten violence responsible for their actions.

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

Bailey – People in the API community have experienced displacement for a long time. I will make housing a top priority when I am elected, not only building affordable housing, but also helping the API community own housing and assets in the community. Asset building is an important part of combating displacement, and it needs to be in every housing agenda. I will also continue my work to end homelessness, and make our communities both compassionate and safe. I am the only candidate with a specific plan for Old Town/China Town to increase safety and help bring people back. Finally, I will be a Mayor focused on the impact of small businesses and entrepreneurship. The API community includes many small business owners, and small businesses are important to employing immigrants. I will improve and consolidate small business assistance programs in Portland, and ensure they are focused on expanding successful efforts like the Jade District.

Schor – My policies for housing affordability will make a huge positive impact on the quality of life for API Portlanders. All communities in Portland are feeling the pressure of rising rents, and until we take bold action to stop this, it will continue to tear our city apart. Preventing displacement and promoting stable, livable neighborhoods will improve quality of life for all of us. My proposal is the only plan on offer that provides adequate revenue to solve our housing crisis.

Burkett – How about the priority of policy that teaches and helps all 95 neighborhoods? The People are bereft of how to pay their obligations correctly. This is for everyone; not just a chosen few! That meme alone, will open doors that most of us do not know exist! I am seriously confident that when we all conduct our personal fiduciary business as it should be done? Many of our worries about money or the lack thereof will dissolve completely within 90 days or less. The People are void of knowledge that is critical to fiscal self governance. This is the key to eradicating every lack relative to affordability constraints. There are none. Most of us are not schooled.

Wheeler – Many of the macro problems facing the city disproportionally impact the API community. On economic opportunity, my 25/25 jobs plan will increase access to the education and skills training Portlanders need to compete for the high-wage, high-skill jobs of the future. On affordable housing, my Tenant’s Bill of Rights will increase protections for renters and lead to more units of affordable housing being built. And I will work to expand services, transit options, safe streets, intersections and sidewalks to East Portland.

Iannarone – 1. Strengthening community-based solutions for connecting residents to opportunity. As a city, we can improve access job training and workforce readiness resources through initiatives such as neighborhood-based workforce navigators in low-income and minority communities and community-driven mentorship and education.  2. Investing in healthy, vibrant neighborhoods throughout Portland. Portland’s livability is the cornerstone of its economic successes. We will continue to promote neighborhood scale, community led redevelopment efforts to drive private sector investment with a focus on equity and affordability through the use of tools like community benefit agreements and mutual investment partnerships, especially in East Portland.

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

Schor – My experience as an attorney fighting for civil rights, and my appreciation for the contributions of the API community in Portland and around the world are an indication that I am prepared to listen and give voice to the concerns of the API community.

Burkett – I Want You to Be Free of Lack! There is no impoverishment in this city, country and in the world. These insinuations are impuned onto us with very specific negative detailed fiduciary intent and I can easily prove every word that comes out of my mouth! And, in point of fact every word is openly available online and in all the law books relative to our fiduciary obligations. The only things in life that are guaranteed? Death and taxes and not necessarily in that order either!

Wheeler – I have shown that I know how to make progress for Oregon families with innovative solutions and a transparent and problem-solving approach to governing. I know that our community has changed and that government needs to change to reflect who our city is today. More than half of Portland’s children identify as immigrants or people of color. Making a city that works for all of us will only be possible when the voices of people who have historically been left out are given a seat at the table.

Iannarone – I am a visionary leader who understands that developing policy for communities with the least options benefits all citizens. I don’t just talk about E Portland as if it were voting bloc, I live there. As Simon Tam says, “She doesn’t need an advisory board to consult her way to equity: she has bold initiatives to address our housing crisis, racism, and displacement of communities of color. She understands how to use the tools available to the mayoral office to actually create change.”

Bailey – I have a long track record in public office of getting results for the API community, from my time in the legislature working on cultural competency and health care, to support of programs that work with immigrants in Multnomah County, to my presence at API events. My mom teaches ESL to immigrants, and I have lived in Asia, speak Asian languages, and grew up in a neighborhood where most of my friends were Asian. While I am not part of it, I am proud to be closely aligned with the API community.


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