In a representative democracy, the right of every citizen to vote is sacred. But without fair and efficient voting processes, elections are merely window dressing for a state to call itself a “democracy”. For this reason, we owe it to ourselves to look beyond the standard First-Past-The-Post voting scheme we see in elections throughout Oregon.
First-Past-The-Post (FPTP, for short) voting is perfectly acceptable for public office races with only two candidates, or “yes or no” ballot measures. But the fact is that there are often more than two candidates vying for the same position in most general elections. How do we ensure that each of those three (or more) candidates have a fair chance of victory while avoiding the “spoiler effect”? Alternatively, what if you don’t like any of the candidates who are running? These are problems that too often arise when the FPTP voting scheme is applied to every race and initiative on the ballot.
Here in Oregon, Benton County voters in 2016 approved a ballot measure which implemented Ranked Choice Voting for future partisan county races, as a replacement for the traditional FPTP system. To me, this is clear proof that Oregonians are tired of using an outdated and ineffective voting scheme which leaves many voters feeling frustrated, alienated, and unrepresented. As your representative in Salem, I will push hard for a voting system which is fair, efficient, and transparent.
Oregon is one of the only U.S. states with no hard limits on campaign contributions to local- or state-level political candidates. In April of 2020, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that limits on campaign donations are constitutional, reversing a previous ruling. Yet, elected officials in Salem have become so dependent on big donor cash that they have refused to enforce these limits, despite voters approving them via ballot initiative all the way back in 2006!
How can you trust your elected representatives to fight on your behalf in Salem, when they so readily accept campaign funds from corporations and organizations with a vested interest in keeping us working Oregonians down?
My opponent in this race, State Representative Jeff Reardon, claims he is a champion for affordable and accessible healthcare for Oregonians. Why, then, has he accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from big pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, Inc., and the aptly-named PhRMA, since 2013? Rep. Reardon also rolls out his resume as a shop teacher in the David Douglas School District, to prove that he fights for students and teachers alike. If that’s true, then why would he ever accept well over $6,000 in donations (again, since 2013) from Stand For Children – a nonprofit with a history of opposing teachers’ unions and pushing for privitization of our schools?
This is perhaps the most important difference between Rep. Reardon and myself: my refusal to accept what is essentially state-approved bribery from corporations and PACs. As a grassroots candidate representing the hardworking people of House District 48, you can trust me to never accept campaign contributions from PACs, corporations, or unions; and when I am in Salem, I will advocate relentlessly for meaningful campaign finance reform statewide.