student body president at Portland State University from 2007 to 2008, will file next week to run against Commissioner Dan Saltzman, joining five others
who have already announced their intention to challenge the three-time incumbent.
Soto says he plans to make an official announcement next Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Soto, 24, has already seen the dark side
of political campaigns. Back in 2007 when he ran for PSU student-body president, his victory at the polls was challenged in an underhanded fashion that required intervention
from the state Attorney General's office.
It's already been said many times that Soto has a biography tailor-made for politics in the Obama age.
Of mixed Latino and Native American heritage, Soto at one point lived in an Idaho facility for juvenile delinquents. He then moved to Portland, where he graduated from Cleveland High School before enrolling at PSU. In 2008, Soto took a leave from college to join the Oregon National Guard. Currently on "drilling status" that requires service one weekend a month, Soto plans to graduate from PSU in June.
Soto also has seen his share of City Hall politics recently. A member of Mayor Sam Adams' committee
studying the Rose Quarter redevelopment, Soto is also an intern in Commissioner Nick Fish's office.
Soto says he informed Fish, who is also up for re-election, this morning of his intention to run. "He did ask, 'Wait a second, which position?'" Soto says.
Soto adds that his decision was influenced, at least in part, by the event hosted by his fellow challengers
on Friday night, which was sparsely attended. "I think I could create more interest in the race," Soto says.
Update at 5:30 pm: Soto filed Monday Jan. 11 to run against Saltzman.
Photo of Soto with then presidential candidate Barack Obama courtesy of Soto.