Our city is an incredible place to live. Portland has become a booming metropolis that’s always looking to innovate and improve. But what makes Portland truly special is our diversity. We are a rich fabric of many different communities, who are all working together to make Bridge City a home for everyone.
But our democracy needs reform. Our elections and our city government must be updated, because right now it is skewed towards the wealthy and the powerful. One out of three Portlanders is a person of color, but in our 167 year history there have only been two people of color elected to City office. We’ve had just 8 women represent on City Council in our entire history. And shockingly, even though 60% of Portland’s population lives East of 47th avenue, only two city commissioners have come from this part of our community. Too many people feel that their views are not being represented.
We need a city where every voice matters. Where our democracy works for everyone, and our government listens to all of us. Where our skin color and our gender and our zip code and the size of our paycheck aren’t a barrier to being a part of our community’s conversation. We need to create a city that has room and opportunity for everyone, while ensuring that the communities impacted most are at the center of the decision-making table. Our guiding light should be “Nothing about us, without us”.
Jo Ann wants to put our democracy back in balance. Our grassroots campaign isn’t about big money. It’s not about special interests. Our campaign is about One Portland, that’s of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Money in Politics
Let’s be honest: big money has dominated our politics. Wealthy donors and special interests have been able to take advantage of loopholes and try to skew the conversation. But we can fight back. Jo Ann has long been a champion for getting big money out of politics. She’s worked for decades to pass reforms in our city and in the legislature. Here’s how she’ll lead the movement for reform:
Protecting and Growing Open and Accountable Elections
Jo Ann worked with an array of community groups to pass the Open and Accountable Elections reform in December 2016. This was a major victory for our city. If candidates for city office agree to give up big donations, then the small donations from everyday Portlanders are matched 6-to-1 by the city. So if a waitress living in East Portland gives $50 to a candidate that she likes, then that is matched and turns into a $350 donation. That makes her voice as loud as a big donor’s.
What’s innovative about Open and Accountable Elections is that people can run for office without big money. Candidates can run–and win–based on the support of everyday people like us. No more hobnobbing with corporate lobbyists and mega-donors. Campaigning becomes about listening to all communities, and hearing our voices.
Open and Accountable Elections will go into effect in 2020. But we need to protect and grow this program. Jo Ann will work on the City Council to make sure this program is funded, is transparent, and is available to small donor candidates across this city.
Limiting Campaign Contributions
Big money should never drown out the voices of everyday people. But unfortunately, Oregon is one of the only states to not limit campaign contributions. So wealthy special interests and out-of-state donors can write big checks, and can dominate the conversation about our city. Oregon already has the second most expensive legislative races in the country, and we see the ever-increasing cost of city campaigns. This needs to stop.
Jo Ann has long believed that one of the best ways to put our democracy back in balance is to require limits on mega-donations. If she’s elected to the City Council, she will use her platform to advocate for getting big money out of politics.
Access to Your City Council
The City Council belongs to the People. So why is it so hard for folks to access City Hall? Currently, City Council meetings often only occur during business hours when everyday people are working. And they always take place in downtown Portland. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
We should hold City Council meetings in different parts of the city. A meeting in North Portland, a meeting in East Portland, and a continual rotation throughout the city. This common-sense reform would allow people all over Portland to come meet their commissioners, attend hearings, and be a part of the community conversation. You shouldn’t have to live in the right zip code to participate in our government. The City Council works for you, and we should make sure that the Council works to be available to you. Jo Ann will make sure that we keep the doors to our city government open to all.