Gov. Kate Brown Collects Cash for Re-election
The first hint of a 2018 governor's race came this week when Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer told WW she's thinking about seeking the GOP nomination next year. Whoever runs against Gov. Kate Brown has some catching up to do. Through June 27, Brown had raised a staggering $654,000 this year. House rules prohibit state representatives from fundraising during session and senators generally do not seek donations, either. During the 2013 session, then-Gov. John Kitzhaber raised less than $50,000 and in the 2015 session, Brown raised less than $25,000. Says DeRemer, who narrowly lost a 2016 House race in House District 51 (Clackamas): "How do I not think about running? Oregon state government is a mess."
Cabbies Demand Seat on City Board
Taxi drivers haven't had a seat on the board that advises the city on cabs and ride-hailing services for more than a year—and they're demanding a shake-up. Drivers arrived at a meeting of the Private For-Hire Transportation Advisory Committee on June 26 to protest their lack of representation in a group that includes Uber, Lyft and taxi company owners. "It's kind of a slap on my face," says Darin Campbell, a former Portland taxi driver who represented the cabbies on a similar board in the past. Brendan Finn, chief of staff to City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, agrees the advisory committee needs an overhaul. "They've been a dysfunctional body," says Finn, adding that he hopes to see drivers on the committee as well as "interests outside industry."
Saltzman's Staff Gets a Shake-Up
Shannon Callahan, who has worked for Commissioner Dan Saltzman for 10 years, most recently as policy director, is leaving his office. As of Aug. 1, she'll be assistant director of the Portland Housing Bureau, a new position overseeing the housing bond—which she helped to structure. "She gets to watch her baby grow up," says Brendan Finn, Saltzman's chief of staff. He then offered "1,000 percent assurances" that Saltzman is running for reelection in 2018.
Oregon Senators Slam DeVos for Failure to Protect LGBTQ Kids
Oregon's U.S. senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden signed a letter June 27 criticizing U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for her refusal to commit to enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws in public schools, especially laws meant to protect LGBTQ students. The senators joined a group of 34 lawmakers demanding the Department of Education release a set of documents that will show the current status of discrimination and sexual assault and harassment cases handled by the department's Office of Civil Rights. "There is no more serious responsibility of the Department than to ensure consistent, vigorous enforcement of civil rights laws and protections for all students," the letter said.