state Rep. Chip Shields
Shields won the promotion today from the House to the Senate when the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to appoint him to replace Margaret Carter
, who stepped down last month to take a state job.
"What I'm hopeful to deliver is real results right away for Senate District 22
particularly with the critical February session just over the horizon," Shields said after the board voted 3-2 to appoint him as senator in the district that takes in parts of North and Northeast Portland.
In the first vote, Shields got votes from county Commissioners Judy Shiprack and Diane McKeel while Karol Collymore
— an aide to county Commissioner Jeff Cogen — got votes from Cogen and county Commissioner Deb Kafoury. That 2-2 split left it up to county Chairman Ted Wheeler, who voted for a third candidate — former state Rep. Jo Ann Bowman
— before switching his vote to Shields.
Since Carter had been the only African-American Democrat in the 90-person Legislature (the other African-American lawmaker in the Legislature is Sen. Jackie Winters, a Salem Republican), the question of race emerged in the run-up to the selection of Carter's replacement. And it came up again today at the board meeting when Wheeler asked the three contenders what the importance of race was in considering a replacement.
"All things are not equal," Bowman responded. "I wish we lived in an equal society, but we don't … I can tell you that race matters when you walk into the Legislature and no one looks like you."
And now that Shields is leaving his House seat, we'll get to do this all over again as county Democrats will gather to forward new names for the county Board to consider as replacements to represent the voters in Shields' House District 43
Among the names in the mix for that House seat are Collymore; Lew Frederick, a communications consultant, state Board of Education member and former TV reporter; and Eddie Lincoln, president of the Portland Community College Federation of Faculty and Academic Professionals, AFT Local 2277.