The race for Dan Saltzman's soon-vacant city council seat has a new entrant.
Andrea Valderrama—once a staffer for former Commissioner Steve Novick who currently works in Mayor Ted Wheeler's office—announced today she'll be running for Saltzman's Position Three seat next May. She joins local NAACP president and former legislator Jo Ann Hardesty and Downtown Neighborhood Association President Felicia Williams, who have already unveiled their candidacies.
Valderrama's platform, unveiled in the video below, includes "pushing for excellent education, for quality health care, and for protection from discrimination and ICE raids."
Valderrama, who also serves on the David Douglas School Board, was first hired to City Hall in 2013, when Novick tapped her as his liaison to East Portland. As we wrote at the time, he'd met Valderrama while she worked at the Voz Workers' Rights Education Project.
After Novick lost a re-election bid last year, Valderrama signed on as a policy adviser for Wheeler, where she's been tackling housing issues, among other things. That history gives her more experience in the daily routines of City Hall than other candidates, though she's never run a high-profile campaign.
As a first-generation American with a background in assisting undocumented workers, it seems clear Valderrama will push worker and immigrant protections as part of her platform, along with her experience as a child with "housing and economic stability."
"I know that panic when I see police, or ICE, or a rent increase from my landlord," Valderrama says in her first campaign video. "The stress of poverty, working two or three jobs and still just barely making ends meet. "
It's unclear from Valderrama's website how specifically she'd work to protect from ICE raids in a city that's staunchly against them. She didn't immediately respond to a request to talk about her candidacy.
Among endorsements listed on Valderrama's site are state Rep. Diego Hernandez, and a number of current and former city staffers, including Novick and members of his former staff.