Welcome to Basic Rights Oregon’s Vote Equality Guide to pro-equality candidates. These are our endorsements for the 2018 General Elections.
Electing pro-equality candidates to public office across the state is now more important than ever. Following our historic marriage victory, we have the momentum to build political power, defend the progress we have made, and create new policies to ensure the voices of LGBTQ Oregonians are heard and represented in our state’s critical policy decisions.
Marriage is an important milestone on a much longer journey toward full freedom and equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Oregonians. As important a milestone as it is, wedding bells do not signal that our work is finished. Marriage equality will not keep LGBTQ young people safe in our schools. It will not ensure transgender people access to accurate identity documents or critical health care services. It will not make our military, our prisons, or our immigration system inclusive and just. It will not ensure that LGBTQ Oregonians can live their lives free from the sting of discrimination.
Our post-marriage work is about achieving not only legal equality, but lived equality. Lived equality means we elect people to office who support freedom, pass laws promoting freedom, and ensure that those laws are carried out so that LGBTQ Oregonians experience freedom in our everyday lives.
With more than 25 years of service to the people of Oregon, Kate Brown is well-prepared to serve as Oregon’s 38th Governor, making government more accountable and standing up for working families.
During her time in the legislature, Kate Brown led efforts on government accountability and reform. In 2007, she successfully spearheaded legislation that The Oregonian called the “state’s most sweeping package of ethics reforms in 34 years.” And she led a bipartisan group of legislators to pass Oregon’s most significant campaign finance reform law in a generation, making campaign contributions more transparent than ever before by creating an online database for campaign finance reporting.
Brown has also been a longtime leader in advancing civil rights and marriage equality. In 2007, she helped to pass the Oregon Equality Act, a civil rights law that prohibited discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of sexual orientation. And Brown was instrumental in passing Oregon’s Family Fairness Act, which legally recognizes committed same-sex relationships as domestic partnerships.
Prior to running for public office, Brown practiced family and juvenile law. She taught at Portland State University, worked with the Juvenile Rights Project and co-founded the Oregon Women’s Health and Wellness Alliance, which has been leading efforts to support women’s health for more than 20 years.
With her husband Dan, Brown raised Dan’s son and daughter, who are now grown, in Portland. When Brown is not busy at the Capitol in Salem, you’ll find her horseback riding or hiking. In February of 2015, Brown and her husband moved into the official residence, Mahonia Hall.
An Independent Education Consultant, Eric is a lifelong proponent of educational access and equal rights. In past positions he served as Executive Director of the Lambda Community Center in Northern Colorado, later as Board President. In 1998, he founded Gertrude, a literary and arts journal, and the subsequent Gertrude Press, one of the longest running LGBTQ publications still in print. On the national level, he is Past President of the Higher Education Consultants Association and has lobbied members of Oregon’s congressional delegation regarding equity issues in education. He lives in North Portland with his husband, Jedidiah, and their dog, Sara. (Pronouns: he/him)
Hayden Miller is a lifelong Oregonian with a passion for his home state. Born in Beaverton and raised in Hood River, Hayden attended Willamette University for one year before leaving school and working in the office of House Speaker Tina Kotek in the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions. Most recently, Hayden worked on a statewide campaign, where he served as an organizer and campaign spokesperson. He currently serves in the office of Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson as Constituent Relations & Policy Liaison.
Hayden enjoys taking advantage of our state’s beautiful environment by skiing, hiking, and camping. His background growing up in our state has inspired a passion for protecting and preserving the environment that Oregonians know and love. (Pronouns: he/him)
Danita Harris is an Oregon native, currently living in Salem. They currently hold the position of Vice President for CWA PERU 7901, organizer for local events such as the woman’s march in Salem, and participate in a number of youth organizations and is a strong advocate for inclusivity and equity throughout Oregon politics. Outside of representational work Danita is an Organizer for SEIU serving the hard working Oregonians throughout the Mid-Valley. (Pronouns: They/Them or She/Her)
An East Coast native, Laura attended Mount Holyoke College and received her MBA from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester. Since moving to Oregon in 2004, Laura has worked on numerous campaigns, most recently serving as a Chief Petitioner for Measure 97 in 2016. She is especially committed to ensuring that full equality, clean air and water, and excellent public education are the birthright of every Oregonian. Laura is an experienced marketing and strategy professional, and is currently the Vice-President of Marketing for SELCO Community Credit Union in Eugene. She has also served as the Chair of the City of Eugene Budget Committee from 2012-2016 as well as on the Board of many Eugene-area non-profits. Laura is passionate about Equality PAC’s mission to elect Oregonians who share our values, and is proud to be joining the Equality PAC Board. Laura lives with her husband and daughter in Eugene, where she spends as much time as possible reading great books and making bad art. (Pronouns: She/Her)
Jon Isaacs is the Public Affairs Manager for Uber Technologies, leading the company's Government and Community Relations work in Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, Montana, and Wyoming. Prior to joining Uber in 2016, Jon served as the Chief of Communications and Public Affairs for Portland Public Schools from 2013-2016. Prior to PPS, Jon spent over 16 years working for and advising Democratic candidates, elected officials, and progressive advocacy organizations, most notably as Campaign Manager and State Director for U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley from 2004-2009. Jon graduated from Oregon State University in 1996 and lives in Portland, OR with his two sons, Jay, 9 and Sam, 5. (Pronouns: He/Him)
Equality PAC Board Chair
Dani is board co-chair with CM Hall of Basic Rights Oregon’s Equality PAC, which they have been a member of since 2012. They are currently the Acting Executive Director of the Equity Foundation, a local LGBTQ community foundation. They started their career working as field staff for marriage equality campaigns, organizing in California, New Jersey, and Oregon to build strong volunteer bases to advocate for the freedom to marry. They also spent two and a half years at the Oregon Bus Project, where they directed a summer fellowship program for young leaders to launch their careers in public service. They live in North Portland with their wife, Rachel, and dog, Asher. (Pronouns: They/Them)
Equality PAC Board Chair
Carlee Joined the Equality PAC Board in April of 2015 after nearly 3 years of volunteer leadership within the organization starting with the Equality PAC where they helped with fundraising events and as the Equality PAC Volunteer Coordinator. Carlee also worked as the Trans Justice Policy Fellow at Basic Rights Oregon focusing on prison and jail work and continues that work by co-facilitating a group whose mission is to provide space for trans and gender non-conforming folks to safely discuss their experiences within the prison system in Oregon and beyond. Carlee, a Portland native, spends most of their time wondering the city and enjoying the vibrant queer culture and cuddling with their overstuffed cat Mr. Pickles. (Pronouns: They/Them or Carlee)
Evangelina Sundgrenz lives in Eugene, OR and is a multilingual marketing and communications professional, managing message development on behalf of businesses and organizations across the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, she has managed programs in education, arts, and advocated to expand childcare subsidy programs in California. Evangelina is a passionate advocate for equity, public education, and social change. She also serves on the Eugene 4J School District budget committee. (Pronouns: She/her)
Raised in Oregon, Luca has spent the past 10 years advocating for trans and queer justice in his home state. He joined the Equality PAC board in March 2015, eager to engage with LGBTQ and allied candidates on the issues impacting our communities. Luca has interned and volunteered with organizations such as the Oregon Student Association, SMYRC, and Q Center. He is thrilled to be involved with Basic Rights Oregon again, having spent the summer of 2011 fighting for marriage equality with BRO as a Pride Foundation Fellow. Outside of his work in the LGBTQ community, Luca is a cybercrime investigator and Portuguese analyst for a Portland-based Internet monitoring firm. (Pronouns: He/Him)
A double duck, Zach got his BS in Political Science from Oregon State University in 2007 and his JD from the OSU School of Law in 2012. After receiving his JD, Zach clerked for Lane County Circuit Court Judge Charles Carlson from 2012-2013. Since then, he has served as the Deputy Finance Director for Future PAC, the campaign arm of the Oregon House Democratic Caucus; Special Assistant to Portland Mayor Charlie Hales; and he currently serves as Sustainability Policy Adviser to Mayor Charlie Hales. An avid runner, Zach has completed 5 marathons, including the 2013 Boston Marathon. He is engaged to his partner, Lyndy. (Pronouns: He/Him)
The Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC (Political Action Committee), seeks to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Oregon by electing fair-minded candidates to all levels of office.
Basic Rights Oregon’s Equality PAC is a non-partisan political action committee (PAC) dedicated to electing pro-equality elected officials. We focus on statewide and legislative offices, where we are proud to re-endorse incumbents who have a 100% pro-equality voting record. For first-time candidates in these races, our all-volunteer PAC board members interview candidates and issue endorsements in select races.
While we do not have the resources to conduct a statewide local race program in all local races (city and county) across Oregon, we do issue “green lights” to qualifying candidates in many Portland metro-area and other local races.
Your contribution to the Basic Rights Equality PAC goes directly to electing fair-minded candidates who support equality. The Basic Rights Equality PAC has a proven track record of making a significant difference in statewide and legislative races.
Your donation to the Equality PAC is eligible for the Oregon Political Tax Credit of up to $50 per person or $100 per couple filing jointly. Your donation will be credited directly to your state taxes this year – thereby reducing your taxes or increasing your refund by the same amount you contribute.