Lew Frederick, Karol Collymore and Eddie Lincoln are the three shortlisted candidates to replace State Senator Chip Shields for his old house seat in House District 43—selected by a group of 73 Democratic Party precinct captains at the Martin Luther King jr. elementary school in North Portland tonight. The Multnomah County commissioners picked Shields for the senate two weeks ago, and he's since endorsed Frederick for his former seat.
The County Commissioners will pick their legislator next Thursday, October 22. Meanwhile we’ll be interviewing Frederick, Collymore and Lincoln on Friday afternoon and making an endorsement in next week’s issue. If you have questions you’d like us to ask them during the interview, email or leave them in the comments.
I've covered four Multnomah County elections, but this is the first time I've been to one of these "smoke filled room" selection events. All the sordid details, including what was done with the cigars, and by whom, and to whom, after the jump.
First: There were no cigars. Sorry. Just wanted you to click through. Apologies.
Second: The group decided to select just three shortlist nominees to send forward to the Multnomah County commissioners, on the basis that they can have more control over the process, that way. Then, each candidate for the seat had five minutes to speak.
Catherine Thomasson, a student health physician from Portland State University, spoke first. She said her experience in medicine has prepared her well for being a legislator. “Prescribing a $100 pill to a patient is no good if we don’t have $100,” she said, suggesting a good legislator needs to be aware of the resources available before they suggest treatment for a problem. “This physician is ready to treat the problems of Oregon,” she said.
“I think most of you know me,” said Lew Frederick, who spoke second. “We’re all in this together.” He mentioned his activism for the Oregon Bus Project, said his life experiences, skills, and vision were a reason to vote for him. He said his experiences included growing up in the South during the civil rights movement, reporting for KGW Channel 8 for 17 years, and living in Irvington for 32 years before it was a “desirable neighborhood, to some.” “I was Northeast when Northeast wasn’t considered that cool,” he said. Other experiences included “experiencing racial profiling first hand, including having a police revolver pointed at me,” forming the sexual minorities task force in Portland Schools, starting a small business, serving on many non-profit boards, and on the state board of education.
Frederick proposed converting the unopened Wapato jail to a secure mental health and addiction facility. “Treatment will mean safer neighborhoods,” he said. He would also introduce legislation to give police citizen review boards subpoena power, he said. “Citizens in our district do not trust the police, and that, frankly, hasn’t changed.” He also would convene education town halls to address inequity, and introduce a publicly administered insurance program for government employees, he said.
Brad Perkins “grew up in this neighborhood, I was born here,” he said, speaking third. “I’ve put many many deals together,” he said, as a realtor and developer. “It took diligence to put those deals together,” he said, focusing on networking affordable housing with transportation. “Bringing the services to this community that they need.” He said high speed rail was a priority. “It’s not the ideal legislator that we’re looking for, it’s the guy that can put the deals together in the legislature,” he said.
“I submitted my name in this process for one reason, and that reason is to win and to serve House District 43,” said Eddie Lincoln. “My roots go very deep in this community. I was born here, I was raised here, I went to school in this community, I’ve worked for small businesses here, I’ve worked for corporations, I’ve worked for the Urban League of Portland, and I drove a bus for Trimet. My children went to school here.”
Lincoln said his faith and his family were his foundation. “I’ve had to work two jobs at time to provide for my family,” he said. “It has not been easy, to say the least.” He is committed to this community and neighborhood, he said. “I remember when homes in Northeast Portland were $7,000.” “These are new times, now, and we can no longer afford to sit on the sideline,” he said. “In order to support this district we need to rebuild the middle class.”
Steve Adamson runs Livingscape, a sustainable kitchen store empowering people to grow their own food. He also looks a bit like Michael Stipe, and said he likes to talk with his hands. His day job is as a patent attorney. “I work with people to develop technologies and build businesses around them,” he said. “I would love to bring those talents to the district and grow jobs here.” He’s worked on ballot measures linked to land use, basic rights, and “virtually anything against Sizemore,” he said. He supports affordable health care and a public option. He wants to support green job growth in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. He supports a community youth internship program, and securing and increasing funding for schools. He also supports basic rights—“our district has the highest percentage of gays and lesbians and we need a champion,” he said.
“My career has been built thus far on public service, I have not held a job over the last ten years that has not been focused on the community that I live in,” said Karol Collymore, who spoke last. She pointed to her achievements over recent years: surplus county land is now available for gardening in this district, she said, “we now have a 2-acre farm that grew 8,000lbs of food for this district,” “we have a cellphone recycling program in every library,” “a new library coming to Kenton,” “a new farmer’s market coming to St.Johns,” “we passed a menu-labeling policy,” and Collymore said she was most proud of the Porltand Pie-Off in Peninsula Park, “which brought community members together.”
“What’s also different is I am 30 years old, a woman, with a different perspective to offer,” she said. “I want government at the state level to be accessible to me.” Kollymore said she would stand up for what is right, “even if it means losing the next election.” She said she would protect funding for vulnerable services, address funding issues for schools, and revenue generation, as well as equity issues. But: “At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what I say,” she continued. “What matters are your desires, and who can best reflect your voice in Salem.”
Then the voting began...
BALLOTS: COUNTED, FOR REAL, LIKE A PROPER ELECTION
Frederick clearly won the first round, with 54 votes, Collymore got 14, Adamson got 4 votes, Thomasson got 3 votes, and Lincoln got 1 vote.
In the second round, Collymore eventually beat Lincoln by 36 votes to 35, after two rounds of voting resulting in a run-off. In the third round, Lincoln beat Adamson, Perkins, Thomasson by 42 votes to 9, 1, and 17 votes respectively.
And that is how you shortlist three candidates for a house seat in Portland.