Click on an a region listed below for a list of candidates Basic Rights Oregon is endorsing as equality minded candidates.
State Legislative Races
COMBOS: Multnomah & Washington Counties
COMBOS: Clackamas County & Washington Counties
COMBOS: Clatsop, Columbia & Multnomah Counties
COMBOS: Clackamas & Multnomah County
COMBOS: Salem, Corvallis, Springfield, Eugene
City of Portland
Kate Brown, Secretary of State ~Statewide
Secretary of State Kate Brown has been a longtime leader and advocate for the LGBT community. Brown authored the first bill in Oregon history to create legally recognized relationships for caring, committed same-sex couples. She currently serves as the Secretary of State and is the highest-ranking bisexual politician in the United States. She successfully completed two terms in the Oregon House and won a spot in the State Senate. In 1998, she was elected Democratic Leader of the Senate and in 2004; her colleagues elected her Senate Majority Leader- the first woman in Oregon history to earn that job. Brown has served as Secretary of State since 2008. http://www.katebrownfororegon.com/
Ted Wheeler, State Treasurer ~Statewide
State Treasurer Ted Wheeler is running for re-election to the State Treasurer’s seat which he was appointed to in 2010 following the death of Treasurer Ben Westlund. Prior to serving as Treasurer, Wheeler served as Multnomah County Chair for three years where he led the charge to have Multnomah County became one of the first counties in the nation to end discriminatory practices in health insurance for transgender workers. He is a 100% pro-equality candidate.
Brad Avakian, Labor Commissioner ~Statewide
Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian received the 2012 Equality Advocate Award from Basic Rights Oregon for outstanding leadership. While in the legislature, he was instrumental in passing non-discrimination and domestic partnership legislation. As Labor Commissioner, Brad has worked to ensure the Oregon Equality Act and Family Fairness Act be applied equitably throughout the State. Under his leadership, the Bureau has partnered with National Center for Lesbian Rights to provide outreach and education to Oregon’s LGBT community about housing rights and non-discrimination protections that exist under state and federal law.
Ellen Rosenblum, Attorney General ~Statewide
Ellen Rosenblum has been particularly vocal in her support for the freedom to marry, as exemplified when she said “no one should be confronted with additional burdens to care for their loved ones.” Elected as Oregon’s first woman Attorney General, Ellen was then appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber to replace John Kroger who resigned before the end of his term. Ellen will work to protect the civil rights of the LGBT community.
YES ON Measure 85, which reforms the corporate kicker refund by putting those funds into our K-12 classrooms, rather than sending them to large, out-of-state corporations. Puts schools first, so every child has a safe and supportive environment in which to learn.
NO on Measure 84, which would give a tax break for millionaires by eliminating the estate tax for estates worth more than $1 million–not for anyone else. This measure is estimated to cost $240 million every budget cycle, with the money coming out of education, health care, public safety and services to seniors and the disabled.
YES on Portland Schools Bond (26-144) to turn Portland’s aging school buildings into the safe, healthy, and inspiring environments that Portland students deserve.
Jennifer Williamson, HD 36 (D) SW Portland
As a native Oregonian, Jennifer Williamson learned very early the value of both hard work and education on her family farm. She is a strong ally to the LGBT community and will work to further advance equality in Salem. She will promote Oregon values: vibrant economy that is built on family wage jobs, a strong education system from early childhood through higher education, a healthcare system that focuses on the patient and full-range access to women’s health care. As a pro-equality champion, she will continue to fight for all.
Jules Bailey, HD 42 (D) SE Portland
Jules Bailey is an incumbent who was elected in 2008 to represent House District 42. As an economist and sustainable development expert with ECONorthwest, Bailey works at the intersection of economics, public policy, the environment and urban development. Bailey has participated in BRO’s Trans Justice Working Policy Group in 2009 and will be a strong advocate for equality in the Oregon House.
Lew Frederick, HD 43 (D) North Portland
Lew Fredrick is running for the seat he was appointed to in 2009. Frederick learned the importance of public service as a young man in Atlanta during the height of the civil rights movement. He’s spent his career in public service as Director of Public Information at Portland Public Schools, Assistant to the President at Portland Community College and, most recently, on the State Board of Education. Fredrick is a long-time supporter of BRO and is a pro-equality legislator who is already showing leadership in Salem addressing issues of discrimination and working for fairness.
Tina Kotek, HD 44 (North, Northeast Portland)
Tina Kotek is an incumbent who was elected in 2006 to represent House District 44. A former policy director at Children First for Oregon, Kotek is a long-time advocate for fairness, equality and opportunity for all children and families in Oregon. In her first session in the Oregon House, Kotek oversaw the passage of historic LGBT equality legislation, making Oregon one of a handful of states to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in state law. If re-elected, Tina will be the only out member of the Oregon Legislature—though Claudia Kyle from the Salem area hopes to join her making two GLBT members. Kotek has the potential to bring Oregon into the national spotlight if her colleagues vote to make her the first openly lesbian Speaker of a State House in the Country. http://votetina.com/
Michael Dembrow, HD 45 (Portland)
Michael Dembrow is an incumbent who was elected in 2008 to represent House District 45. Dembrow is an instructor at PCC Cascade, where he has been teaching since 1981, and where he has served as President of the faculty union for 16 years. As a member of the House Education Committee, Dembrow was a strong leader on BRO’s Safe Schools Act to better address and prevent bullying in Oregon schools as well as taking the lead on Tuition Equity, Oregon’s version of the Federal Dream Act.
Alissa Keny-Guyer, HD 46 (D) SE Portland
Alissa Keny-Guyer was appointed to House District 46 in the fall of 2011 to replace Ben Cannon who transitioned to the Governor’s Office. Keny-Guyer has spent much of her career in education, public service, and non-profits. She served as a teacher and community development worker in Indonesia in the early 80’s. After this, she served on the Hawaii Community Services Council and worked as legislative staffer for the chair of the House Health Committee of the Hawaii Legislature. She currently works for the Portland State University and she serves as a board member for the Northwest Health Foundation. Alissa will continue to be an advocate for the LGBT community.
Jessica Vega-Pederson, HD 47 (D) East Portland
Jessica Vega-Pederson’s lifelong commitment public service started at an early age. Her mother helped found the Concerned Latinos of East Chicago. Vega-Pederson turned her upbringing into action while still in high school and college with leadership roles in student government and Latino organizations. Now a long time resident of East Portland she gives back to her community through her many volunteer roles. She has been a leader with Sierra Club, Friends of Trees and a volunteer and The Bus Project.. She is a 100% pro-equality candidate.
Chris Gorsek, HD 49 (D) Fairview, Troutdale, Wood Village
Chris Gorsek lives in Troutdale and has been an East County resident for 15 years. Chris has been teaching geography and criminal justice at Mount Hood Community College since 1996. He is committed to job creation, affordable health care, quality education and safer schools and neighborhoods.
. Prior to teaching at MHCC, Chris was a police officer with the Portland Police Bureau for seven years. He is committed to ensuring equality and protecting all Oregon families.
Ginny Burdick, SD 18, Portland
Senator Ginny Burdick is a native of Portland’s Senate District 18. She was first elected to the district in 1996. Burdick was elected by her peers as Senate President Pro Tempore in 2011. She currently serves as Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue. She also co-chairs the newly formed Joint Tax Credit Committee. In 2007, Burdick was selected to lead the battle in the Senate for passage of BRO’s landmark non-discrimination and domestic partnership legislation. She has more than earned her chops as a pro-equality leader in Oregon!
Diane Rosenbaum, SD 21, Portland
Senator Diane Rosenbaum previously served five terms in the Oregon House for District 42 in Southeast and Northeast Portland before being elected to serve as a Senator for District 21 in 2008. As a House member, Senator Rosenbaum served as House Speaker Pro Tem and the House Democratic Whip. She now serves as Majority Leader of the Senate and Chair of the Rules Committee. In 2007, Rosenbaum chaired the Committee that worked BRO’s historic non-discrimination and domestic partnership bill. The House then selected Senator Rosenbaum to lead the Floor fight to pass the bill. She is a proven leader on GLBT issues in Oregon.
Chip Shields, SD 22, North Portland
Senator Chip Shields is an incumbent who was elected in 2004. Shields served in the last session as the Chair of the General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection Committee. For more than 14 years Shields has been serving the people of North and Northeast Portland. Shields has not only been a leader in raising the minimum wage and increasing funding for our schools, but has also been pivotal in finding living-wage jobs for hundreds of people through Better People, the Northeast Portland nonprofit job center he started. Shield’s a 100% Pro-Equality legislator and candidate!
Jackie Dingfelder, SD 23, NE & SE Portland
Jackie Dingfelder served in the Oregon House of Representatives for seven years before becoming a member of the Oregon Senate. Dingfelder’s background is in environmental issues and she currently chairs the Senate Environment & Natural Resources committee. She also sits on the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources and the Senate Judiciary Committee. She has been a longtime supporter of civil, women’s and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender rights. She is a strong pro-equality voice in the Oregon Senate.
Brent Barton, HD 40,
Brent Barton was elected in 2008 to represent District 51 in the Oregon House. He sought election in 2010 to the Oregon Senate but was defeated and now he is running for House District 40. Barton served as vice-chair of the Business & Labor Committee and on the Judiciary Committee. Barton supported BRO’s Safe Schools Act in 2009 to better prevent and address bullying in our public schools.
Tobias Read, House District 27 (Beaverton)
Tobias Read is an incumbent who was elected in 2006. Since then, Read fought to bring a long-term focus to Oregon’s government by creating a state savings account, advancing a comprehensive environmental agenda, and updating the Bottle Bill. Read voted for BRO’s landmark non-discrimination and domestic partnership legislation. He has the wholehearted support of Basic Rights Oregon—he has been a fair and balanced member of the House, someone Oregon can count on to raise the level of discourse in Salem.
Jeff Barker, HD 28 (Beaverton and Aloha)
Jeff Barker has served in the Oregon House since 2003, most notably as either: chair, vice-chair or co-chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Barker has served in the military and law enforcement holding multiple ranks within the Portland Police Bureau where he was a leader in his union. Barker authored early legislation to create parity for the same-sex partners of police officers with regard to union pension and benefits. Barker has been someone BRO can count on and he will continue to provide a voice for equality and fairness in the Oregon House.
Ben Unger, HD 29, Hillsboro, Forest Grove, and Cornelius
Ben Unger is an Oregon native who grew up in Cornelius on his family’s Century Farm, picking strawberries, loading trucks, and driving combines every summer. Civic participation became a calling for Ben. He was a campus student organizer and advocate, fighting for affordable higher education, voter registration, and taking on big banks and payday lenders to stop outrageous fees and interest rates. Ben was the National Field Director for the New Voters Project, a national voter registration and youth voter participation campaign that registered hundreds of thousands of voters. Ben will be a pro-equality voice in the Oregon legislature.
Joe Gallegos, HD 30, Hillsboro
Joe Gallegos was born in Texas but moved to Oregon when he was 17. A veteran, Gallegos served during the Vietnam era. He then worked his way through school, eventually earning a Master’s in Social Work from Portland State University. Eventually he obtained a doctorate degree and went on to teach social work before retiring from the University of Portland in 2011. Gallegos, helped launch a low income migrant housing initiative and he’s specialized in gerontology for the Latino Community, working on several studies around Latino aging. Joe is a pro-equality legislator and lends a voice in Salem to issues of fairness and justice for all Oregon families.
Chris Harker, HD 34, Beaverton & Aloha
Chris Harker has represented District 34 in the Oregon House of Representative since 2008. Harker has served on the Education and Human Services Committee, giving him an opportunity to support BRO’s anti-bullying legislation in 2009. He worked at OHSU for a number of years before opening his own small business. His background in medical research, education and environmental issues makes him a valuable member of the legislature
Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward, SD 17, NW Portland, Beaverton, Aloha, Rock Creek, Cedar Hills
Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward was appointed to fill Congresswoman Bonamici’s Oregon Senate seat in 2012. Steiner-Hayward is a family physician at OHSU and has served as the President of the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians and as the Director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Breast Health Education Program. She has been very active in crafting health policy in Oregon. In 2005, she was instrumental in creating a law requiring health insurance coverage for Clinical Breast Exams for women. She is committed to being a voice for equality in Salem.
Mitch Greenlick, House District 33 Northwest Portland
Mitch Greenlick was elected to the Oregon House in 2003 and has served as chair, vice-chair and co-chair of the House Health Care Committee. Greenlick has had a long career in the health field at OHSU and brings tremendous insight into health policy and finance to Salem. Greenlick is 100% committed to equity and fairness—he supported Oregon’s domestic partnership and anti-discrimination laws, and he will continue to work hard to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Oregon.
Margaret Doherty, HD 35 (Tigard)
Margaret Doherty was appointed to the Oregon House in 2009. Doherty is a retired schoolteacher whose background in Education makes her a valuableasset to the House Education Committee as Oregon struggles to ensure quality education in the face of a challenging budget climate. Doherty supported BRO’s anti-bullying legislation in 2009 and she is committed to fairness and equality; she believes Oregon should be a safe and welcoming place for all Oregon families.
Jeff Reardon, HD 48 Happy Valley
Jeff Reardon is running for the House for the first time after unseating the incumbent in HD 48 in May.
. Reardon is a Vietnam era veteran who went on to pursue his education on the GI Bill, becoming the first college graduate in his family. He began his career as a teacher in the Parkrose School District where he taught Industrial Arts for five years until going to work for Tektronix. Reardon continued to devote his time to his lifelong passion for education by serving 10 years on the David Douglas School Board. Reardon earned BRO’s endorsement because of his commitment for equity for all Oregon families and youth.
Shemia Fagan, HD 52,
Shemia Fagan is a first-time candidate for the Oregon Legislature after having won election to the David Douglas School Board. She grew up in the rural eastern Oregon towns of Dufur and the Dalles. She currently works as a lawyer at Ater Wynne and gives back to the community through pro bono legal services. Fagan sees jobs and quality education as the top priorities to help Oregon be the best it can be. Fagan supports equality for all Oregon families.
Mark Hass, SD 14,
Senator Mark Hass has been a champion for equality since he got elected to office. He was an outspoken champion of equality during the floor debates on the Anti-Discrimination bills and domestic partnership and has consistently voted to make a better place for all Oregonians. Mark will continue to be a pro-equality champion and will continue to support equality for all of Oregon families.
Carl Hosticka, HD 37 Tualatin and West Linn
Carl Hosticka has a long history of community activism and public service, and has been at the heart of many proposals and ideas that have made Oregon a better place to live, work and play. Currently he serves as a Metro Councilor and would like to return to the Oregon House. As former state representative in the Eugene area from 1983-1994, Hosticka was associated with passing groundbreaking legislation on issues that moved Oregon forward, such as school funding, transportation and natural resources. Hosticka supports equality for all Oregon Families.
Brad Witt, House District 31 Columbia County
Brad Witt is an incumbent who was elected in 2004 to represent District 31 in the Oregon House. As a former Secretary-Treasurer of the Oregon AFL-CIO with more than two decades of experience advocating for economic and workforce development, natural resources, and workers’ compensation, Witt knows his way around the Capital. Witt is a strong supporter of Oregon’s non-discrimination and domestic partnership laws.
Carolyn Tomei, House District 41 Milwaukie
Carolyn Tomei, is an incumbent who was elected in 2000 to represent House District 41, has chaired the House Human Services and Women’s Wellness Committee focusing her attention on women, children, low-income and vulnerable populations. She is a strong supporter of equality, and voted for Oregon’s anti-discrimination and domestic partnership laws as well as BRO’s Safe Schools Act to address bullying.
Paul Holvey, House District 8 Eugene
A Eugene native, Paul Holvey was elected in 2004 and has long been an advocate for progressive causes. He is actively pro-labor as a representative for Pacific Northwest Carpenters and has worked with many organizations advocating for workers’ rights. Holvey has a passion for consumer protection issues and chairs the committee to address those issues at the legislature. Holvey has also been recognized for his advocacy by the Eugene Human Rights Commission and has been a solid vote for Basic Rights Oregon on non-discrimination legislation since elected. He is a pro-equality candidate.
Phil Barnhart, HD 11 Central Lane and Linn Counties
Phil Barnhart is an incumbent who was elected in 2000 to the Oregon House. A lawyer and psychologist, Barnhart entered politics out of concern for the education system, health care, and the environment in the state he was raised. As a representative of central Lane and Linn counties, Barnhart has worked to protect his constituents against discrimination, and he will continue to do so if re-elected.
Claudia Kyle, House District 19 Marion County
Claudia Kyle is challenging incumbent Republican Representative Kevin Cameron for the second time hoping to win the House seat for Oregon’s 19th district. Kyle is an Oregon native who has worked as an electrician, supervisor and project engineer. If elected, Kyle would be the second openly gay legislator serving in the Oregon House. She would be a leader on fairness and equality in Salem.
John Lively, HD 12
John Lively is a native Oregonian who was born in La Grande and lived in Wallowa until high school when his family moved to Springfield. John is a Vietnam veteran who graduated from the University of Oregon. John has served on the Springfield City Council and then served as Mayor. If elected a Representative, he has committed to continue being a pro-equality champion.
Nancy Nathanson, House District 13 Eugene
After 12 years on the Eugene City Council, Nancy Nathanson is an incumbent who was elected in 2006 as Representative of House District 13. Currently employed by Orbis Cascade Alliance, a consortium of libraries in 33 educational institutions in Washington and Oregon, Nathanson has served on numerous civic boards, commissions, and committees. An advocate for the disadvantaged, small businesses, and the environment, we can count on Nathanson to voice the concerns of the LGBT community in the House. She is a pro-equality candidate you can count on!
Val Hoyle, House District 14 (Eugene, Junction City)
Val Hoyle was appointed to her current position in 2009 and is running for re-election for the first time. Prior to her appointment, Hoyle served on the Federal District Export Council of Oregon, the Federal Advisory Board for International Trade for Small Business, the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition, and the Eugene Chamber of Commerce’s International Trade Roundtables. Hoyle is a pro-equality candidate and will work to ensure a fair Oregon for all families to work and live.
Sara Gelser, House District 16 ~Corvallis
As a parent, educator, minister and community organizer, Sara Gelser is very much aware of the challenges gay, lesbian, and transgender Oregonians face each day. Since her election in 2006, Gelser has fought for the disadvantaged as one of her top priorities. A long-time ally of Basic Rights Oregon and advocate for women, Gelser has proven her support of LGBT Oregonians many times but never more so than when she lead the charge on passing BRO’s Safe Schools Act, as the Chair of the House Education Committee, to better address and prevent bullying in public schools.
Caddy McKeowon, HD 9
Caddy McKeowon’s family has lived at the southern Oregon coast for four generations. She has served her community for over 20 years striving to make her district a better place to work, raise a family, and get a good education. In 2003, she was invited by Governor Kulongoski to sit on the board of Commissioners of the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay. For the last eight years, she has been serving in this position working to develop infrastructure and grow jobs on the South Coast. Caddy will champion policies that promise fairness for all Oregonians.
David Gomberg, HD 10
David Gomberg, who is running for the House for the first time, formerly staffed (then) Representative Barbra Roberts and served as administrator of the House Education Committee. He then moved to the Coast to take a position as Executive Director of the Lincoln City Chamber of Commerce. Two years later, David and his wife Susan opened Gomberg Kite Productions and NW Winds Kite Stores. They manufacture kites and wholesale to stores throughout North America. Dave is a businessman with international trade experience who also understands what it takes to survive in a down economy and put people to work. Gomberg is pro-equality candidate who supports a fairer Oregon for all families.
Nathan Hovekamp HD 54 (D) ~Bend
Nathan Hovekamp, a first-time candidate for the Oregon House, has served on the Bend planning commission for the past eight years and also served as a Bend-La Pine School district board member for four years. Hovekamp has been a biology instructor at Central Oregon Community College for the past 20 years, Hovekamp will focus on economic and educational issues and strive to be a pro-equality voice in Salem.
Peter Buckley, HD 5 (D) ~Ashland
Peter Buckley has served a pro-equality champion in the House of Representatives since 2004. Following his first session in 2005, Peter’s colleagues elected him as the their Assistant Democratic Leader where he helped to secure a Democratic majority in the House for the first time in over a decade. Peter is dedicated to winning back the House with a pro-equality majority and has a 100% Pro-Equality voting record with BRO.
LOCAL RACES – ENDORSEMENTS
Kitty Piercy, Mayor, Eugene (D)
Kitty Piercy has spent two terms as Mayor of Eugene. Her love of Eugene and strong belief that much can be achieved when we work together, has guided her throughout her public service. She is strong advocate for the LGBT community and works to ensure that all families are safe.
LOCAL RACES – GREEN LIGHTS
Candidates in local races (municipal/county) who have received a “green light” from Basic Rights Oregon’s Equality PAC have affirmatively answered LGBT policy questions on a written questionnaire and have pro-equality voting records if previously elected to any office. These candidates have not been interviewed by the PAC nor evaluated for other criteria (such as incumbency, leadership or electability). Generally, more than one candidate will be “green-lighted” in a single race.
Amanda Fritz, Commissioner Position # 1
Amanda Fritz is running for re-election to Portland City Council. Amanda has been a strong champion of equality. In 2011, Amanda supported passage of trans-inclusive health care for Portland City Employees. This made Portland the second city in the nation to provide trans-inclusive health care coverage to their workforce. She has been a strong champion and advocate for equality and will continue to be a strong champion.
Mary Nolan, Commissioner Position # 1
Mary Nolan is a proven leader and has shown time and time again, she knows how to get things done! As a state representative, Mary Nolan was elected to leadership positions in the House. She has worked to improve Oregon schools, defended a woman’s right to choose, and promoted sustainable economic growth. Nolan believes that all Oregonians deserve equal treatment under the law. She was a strong supporter of Oregon’s domestic partnership and anti-discrimination laws and worked to pass BRO’s Safe Schools Act to address bullying Oregon’s schools.
Jefferson Smith, Mayor
Jefferson Smith was elected in 2008 to represent House District 47. Smith is the founder of the Oregon Bus Project and has had great success in motivating younger voters to participate in the process. He supported BRO’s Safe Schools Act to prevent and address bullying in our public schools. He is now running for Portland mayor.
Charlie Hales, Mayor
Charlie Hales was elected to Portland City Council in 1992 where he advocated for park funding, Max Light Rail and Portland Streetcar expansion, and minority representation within the Fire Bureau. He is now running for Portland mayor. He is a pro-equality candidate who will stand up for the freedom to marry and continue to promote equality for all. http://charliehales.com/
Jay Dixon, Benton County Commissioner # 2
Jay Dixon was first elected to Benton County Commission in 2001. Jay has held leadership position in many government, education, industry and civic organizations locally, regionally, and nationally. Jay served on the County Commission in 2004 when they took the unprecedented action to halt all marriages in the County until Oregon law was clarified as to the legality of denying committed and caring same-sex couples access to legal marriage in the county. He is a true equality champion!
Annabelle Jaramillo, Benton County Commissioner # 3
Annabelle Jaramillo was re-elected to a third four-year term as County Commissioner in 2008. Previously, Jaramillo served as Governor John Kitzhaber’s Citizens’ Representative from 1995 – 2000. She served on the County Commission in 2004 when they took the unprecedented action to halt all marriages in the county until Oregon law was clarified as to the legality of denying committed and caring same-sex couples access to legal marriage. She is a true equality champion!
Peter Sorenson, Lane County Commissioner # 3
Peter Sorenson is a leader. He’s Lane County Commissioner from the South Eugene District. He’s been a legislative assistant to a Congressman, and has worked for a Presidential Administration, served as a State Senator, been an adjunct law professor and he’s active in his community of Eugene, Oregon as a Lane County Commission.
Jon Gustafson, Lake Oswego City Commissioner
Jon Gustafson’s family moved to Oregon when he was in the second grade. Jon grew up in NW Portland and graduated from Lincoln High School and PSU with degree in architecture. He fell in love with the people and places of Lake Oswego and bought a company located there. Jon’s interest in remodeling spurred him to earn his real estate license. In addition to remodeling, and new construction, Jon has successfully developed several condominium projects. In 2005 Jon and his partner Michael, a middle school art teacher, bought and remodeled their first house in Lake Oswego. Three houses later, they now live in the McVey-South Shore neighborhood with their daughter Georgia. If elected, Jon would be one of the only openly gay men to hold elected office in Oregon.