On Sunday, June 9, Paige Kreisman officially announced her candidacy for the Oregon House of Representatives in District 42 (inner East Portland).
She is the first-ever candidate to receive an endorsement from the Portland Democratic Socialists of America. And, if elected, she will be the first transgender person in the Oregon Legislature.
Kreisman, who moved to Northeast Portland in January of this year after attending Oregon State University, served in the military for three years before being forced out by the Trump administration ban on trans service members in 2017. According to a release announcing her candidacy, Kreisman was raised "in an abusive, transphobic, evangelical Baptist home in rural North Carolina," and joined the U.S. Army at age 17.
"I spent my entire life looking for the home and community that I found here," Kreisman tells WW. "It was incredibly important for me to come to one of the few places in the country where it is relatively safe for trans women to live openly and authentically, and I will always be grateful to my community here for accepting and welcoming me in a way I had never before experienced."
Kreisman is currently a legislative advocate with the Portland DSA and a board member for Portland Tenants United. She is a left-wing challenger to Rep. Rob Nosse (D-Portland) and is running on a campaign to increase rent control measures, better fund schools, support labor unions who are outraged over PERS reforms and aim to enact an Oregon Green New Deal.
Related: After PERS Vote, Portland Democratic Socialists Consider Primary Candidate to Challenge State Lawmaker
"I am fighting for my community and for the working class people of our state," Kreisman says. "I'm running because, everywhere I look in this state's politics, I can't see myself, or hear my voice."
She continues: "There has never been a trans person elected to the Oregon legislature. We are facing some tremendous challenges here in Oregon, but I know that together we can overcome those challenges to build a state that places people and planet above profit."