2016 Primary Endorsements

While the presidential election has taken the lion’s share of attention, there are many important local races that will impact the lives of working Oregonians during the primary election. That’s why the Oregon Working Families Party has decided to make endorsements in some of the most important races and support candidates that are committed to upholding our values.

While most of the races are nonpartisan, some of these are partisan primaries and will be closed for our Oregon Working Families Party voters. But don’t write them off yet. If our registered Democrat friends take our advice, ORWFP voters may see these candidates in the general election.

Each of our endorsed candidates filled out a questionnaire and our State Committee made endorsements based on the candidate’s commitment to workers, the community and our issues. We did not make endorsements in every race. The Portland Mayor’s race, for example, has 14 candidates vying for office. While there are standout candidates with strong histories supporting Oregon’s hard working families, our board decided to wait till after the primaries to make an endorsement.

Without further ado, here are our Local Endorsements for the 2016 primary election.

Congressional District Races

Congressional District 5 – Dave McTeague
Dave has held office for 22 years and has a long history as a Democrat, environmental and consumer activist.He is a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sander’s political revolution and wants to address the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few. He is challenging incumbent, Kurt Schrader, because of his poor voting record, including his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.


State Office Races

Secretary of State – Brad Avakian

As labor commissioner and as a legislator, Brad has been a stalwart champion for working Oregonians. He’s fought wage theft and civil rights abuses in the workplace, directing more than $22 million into the pockets of workers treated unfairly. He has ruled against the predatory practice of treating employees as independent contractors, and he’s advanced policies to expand civil rights and  transparency in the workplace so all Oregonians can earn equal pay for equal work. As Secretary of State, Brad will use every tool available to advance our progressive priorities–holding corporations accountable, building a fair economy, making sure our democracy works for young voters, and fighting climate change.

House District Races

House District 22 – Teresa Alonso-Leon
Teresa is currently a member of the Woodburn City Council and works for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission in the Office of Community College and Workforce Development as the state’s High School Equivalency and GED Administrator. Teresa received the Oregon Working Families Party endorsement based on her strong commitment to fight for Oregon’s working families. When asked why she was seeking our endorsement she said, “Many constituents in my district work in low-wage no-benefit jobs, and I believe that they deserve a Representative who will fight to give them security and stability in their wages, hours, and benefits.”


House District 26 – Ray Lister
Ray supported his family as an electrician and represented workers as a union organizer for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48. In the legislature, Ray will look out for working families, helping to create good jobs and grow our economy. Ray had this to say about seeking our endorsement — “I know what it means to be a working family. I will stand for the working people of this district.”


House District 27 – Sheri Malstrom
Sheri Malstrom has been a public health nurse with Multnomah County for the last 30 years. As a legislator, Sheri will bring this perspective to advocate for policies that will help working Oregonians. She wants to champion legislation like paid family leave, affordable child care, ending wage theft, and ensuring that there are ample living-wage jobs with good benefits so that no family has to struggle just to get by. In her own words, “I would be honored to earn the Working Families Party’s endorsement because it would send a clear signal that I will be an advocate for all working Oregonians in the legislature.”


House District 40 – Steven Cade
Steven’s strong belief in the importance of public service guides his work in our community. In addition to his work as a lawyer, he has served on the Traffic and Safety Committee of the Jennings Lodge CPO. Steven had this to say about seeking our endorsement. “I am tired of large corporations sucking the wealth out of our communities. We need laws that will make them support their employees in a decent and fair manner, and make them pay their fair share to support the government services on which we all depend.”


House District 47 – Diego Hernandez
Diego Hernandez has been a community organizer on environmental justice, renter’s rights, and racial equity issues, and currently holds Masters in Social Work. He is a former high school and middle school teacher who has also served on a school board since 2013. “I was raised by a low-income single mom, and we faced many of the adversities that residents of East Portland face today. I have the experience, education and dedication it takes to fight for great schools and safer communities, and to advocate for a strong economy that supports working families and small businesses.”


City Councils

Portland City Council Position 1 – Amanda Fritz
Amanda Fritz has been a champion for working families since she first was elected to Portland City Council in 2008. Since being re-elected in 2012, Commissioner Fritz helped lead the fight to pass the Portland Earned Sick Days Ordinance in 2013. In 2015, she led the Council in passing Paid Family Leave for all City employees.

If re-elected, her priorities will include providing basic services to all Portlanders, particularly those in historically disadvantaged areas, and changing policies and practices so that all Portlanders are treated fairly and respectfully by police officers, while improving public safety for all.


Springfield City Council #4 – Leonard Stoehr
Leonard Stoehr has been an advocate for working people as a representative of Teamsters Local 206. Leonard will work to bring transparency to City Hall by standing up for working families, small business and responsible business values.

Leonard will fight for working families by investing in full-time jobs in Springfield with good wages and benefits, and helping small businesses grow so they can employ more of our neighbors. He will fight for fair schedules for workers, so they can work in safety and health. He will work to provide more affordable housing for lower and middle-income families, and invest in drug addiction treatment and prevention services so that all Springfield residents have a fair shot.

Eugene City Council Ward #7 – Claire Syrett
Claire Syrett represents Ward 7 on the Eugene City Council. She is a proven leader and effective advocate for progressive issues. During her first term, Councilor Syrett championed the passage of the Eugene paid sick leave ordinance. She helped launch the successful Rest Stop and Dawn to Dusk programs providing emergency and temporary shelter to the homeless.

Claire’s priorities include fostering local entrepreneurship and sustainable economic development that creates family-wage jobs and supporting vital services for people struggling during hard economic times.



Jim Bernard, Clackamas County Chair
Jim Bernard was born and raised in Clackamas County. He has owned and operated an auto repair business in Milwaukie that he bought from his father for over 25 years. As county commissioner, Jim has worked hard to create, retain and expand the job base in Clackamas County. Jim believes that unions and full time, family wage jobs are the backbone of the middle class, and must be protected.

Jim is committed to keeping our communities safe, while working to reduce Oregon’s prison population. He has been a champion for programs that protect victims of abuse, provide drug and alcohol treatment services, and make sure that people transitioning out of jail and prison have access to housing andl services to provide a smooth transition back into society.


Ken Humberston, Clackamas County Commission, Position 4
Ken Humberston has had a long career in public service. He has served in law enforcement, as a school teacher, and firefighter. Ken is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps who has held public office as a mayor, school board member, fire board member, as well as several economic development agencies. He currently serves as president of the Clackamas River Water Board and as a member of the Clackamas County Economic Development Commission.

Ken believes in standing up for policies that create good jobs with fair wages, fair schedules, and benefits such as health care. As a public servant, Ken benefitted from fair labor standards and believe that others should have access to the same basic rights.

Jessica Vega-Pederson, Mult Co. Commission District 3
Representative Jessica Vega Pederson’s upbringing taught her to stand up for middle class families. She is a third-generation Latina whose grandparents came to this country with hopes for a better life. From her family, Rep. Vega Pederson learned the value of hard work and to never be afraid to speak up for what’s right. She is a board member of the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association, a member of the Eastside Egg Co-op at Zenger Farms and a member of the East Portland Action Plan. When she was elected to represent House District 47 in 2012, Jessica became the first Latina to serve in the Oregon House.

When asked about seeking our endorsement she said, “The Working Families Party fights for the same policies that I have prioritized at the state and will continue to fight for at Multnomah County, mainly that our economy must work for everyone, not just a few at the top. I am proud to have partnered with Oregon’s WFP on paid sick days and increasing the minimum wage and I look forward to a continued partnership at the County, especially with scheduling policies.”