As the Portland city commission gathers for an open hearing on Thursday to consider a measure to institute citywide citizen-funded elections, a diverse coalition of 30 groups sent an open letter to Mayor Hales, Auditor Hull Caballero, and city commissioners urging them to support the reform legislation.
“Our city is stronger when everyone has an equal say and greater opportunity to engage in our democracy, whether by running for office to represent their own communities, or bringing their perspectives forward on the policies that impact us all,” the open letter signed by over a dozen groups states. “We want to raise our voices to unlock meaningful solutions to our city’s biggest challenges. Open and Accountable Elections creates new pathways to get us there.”
“Portlanders are ready to support bold solutions to ensure that our democracy works for everyone,” said Jesse Beason, with Color PAC, an organization that works to elect candidates of color in Oregon. “This reform would give everyday voters in Portland a voice in government and limit the power of big money in our politics.
“Citizen funded elections have been proven to increase the diversity of candidates who are able to run for and win public office, creating a more representative government,” said Beason. “This initiative is about bringing more accountability to Portland so our government is truly of, by, and for the people.”
Organizations that signed the letter include the Coalition of Communities of Color, Asian Pacific Action Network of Oregon, Common Cause Oregon, League of Women Voters of Portland, Latino Network, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Oregon Walks, Rose Community Development, Main Street Alliance of Oregon, SEIU Oregon State Council, Unite Oregon, NAACP Portland Branch 1120, CAUSA Oregon, Communications Workers of America Local 7901, The Bus Project, Color PAC, The Urban League of Portland, Portland Forward, BerniePDX, 1000 Friends of Oregon, Oregon PIRG, The Sierra Club Oregon Chapter, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Oregon Working Families Party, Represent.US, Associated Students of Portland State University, Democracy Spring Oregon, and Move to Amend PDX.