Adriana H. Canas, the Democratic candidate for House District 30 (Hillsboro), is running in one of the districts where Democrats hoped to pick up a seat to break the current 30-30 deadlock in the Oregon House.
Canas, a member of the Hillsboro school board, is challenging one-term incumbent Rep. Shawn Lindsay (R-Hillsboro). Democrats hold a 10 percentage point registration advantage in the district.
Bankruptcy court records
show that Canas filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in December of 2004. That bankruptcy was finalized in June 2007. But this February, Canas again filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. (Individuals sometimes file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is essentially a liquidation when liabilities exceed assets and the individual wants to wipe out debts and start over; Chapter 13 is for people who have assets they want to hold onto but who need to reorganize their debts).
Creditors have also sued Canas, a self-employed educational consultant, and her husband, an Intel engineer (according to her campaign), in small claims court on several occasions. Most recently, a collection agency won a $2,621 judgement against the couple in Washington County Court in April.
Canas says she knew when she decided to run her finances might be an issue.
"Nobody has a perfect life," she says. "I'm not a politician, but Salem needs a voice that understands what middle-class families are going through."
Canas says she and her husband paid back creditors in full after her first bankruptcy, and only entered into a second bankruptcy to protect her father's California home from foreclosure earlier this year. She says a medical hardship caused her brother—who lives with her father—to fall behind. Canas says her efforts to bail out family members were not enough. Her trips to small claims court, she says, are related to the financial difficulties that ended in bankruptcy.
"Either I filed to stop the foreclosure, or my father and brother and his family would be homeless," Canas says of her recent bankruptcy filing. "We paid everything back in the first case, and we will do that again."
Canas says she understands some voters may question whether a person with two bankruptcies is equipped to make laws and determine spending priorities for the state's nearly $15 billion budget.
"I am a person who can make those decisions," she says. "I am open and transparent, and I know for a fact how difficult life can be."
She thinks voters in her district will value her civic and educational work more than they ding her for her finances.
"My community knows me," Canas says. "The hard work I have done is what they will look at."