Anita, APANO Board Member
I grew up in east Portland, one of the few Chinese-Hawaiian American families in my school. My parents taught me to believe in the power of voting. As soon as I turned 18, I registered to vote and have continued our family’s tradition of civic engagement. Voting gives us a voice to support candidates that represent our values and empowers them to advocate for our communities.
I’ve spent most of my life in Oregon, raising my two daughters and working in Eugene, Bend and Portland. Having built a diverse set of relationships and witnessed the challenges facing our community, I looked around for role models particularly in the Asian and Pacific Islander community for models of elected leadership. Unfortunately, I found very few. I had become increasingly engaged in civic life, and after graduating from Emerge Oregon, a training program for women interested in elected public service, decided to run for the Portland Community College Board of Directors.
It was a meaningful and difficult campaign. I had the privilege of listening and winning the support of so many voters. Yet I was deeply troubled by the status quo of our political process that included systemic barriers for candidates of color like me. I was able to
secure many endorsements and small contributions, yet more was needed, and unfortunately I did not win in 2015. I know that many in our APANO community are interested in running for public office, yet recognize the power of big money in politics and the value of running on a principled platform accountable to the community.
I’m urging you to take two actions in support of democracy reforms: Let Portland City Council know that you support the Open & Accountable Elections Reform, click here to send a message of support to the Mayor and Commissioners.