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Dr. Lisa Reynolds Is Teaming With Some of Oregon’s Top Labor Groups to Put Pressure on Gov. Kate Brown

The pediatrician and Democratic nominee for House District 36 on Portland’s westside wants bars closed and schools open.

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

For somebody who's pretty new to politics, Dr. Lisa Reynolds is learning fast.

Reynolds defeated a couple of union-backed candidates in the May primary to win the Democratic nomination in House District 36, which covers much of Portland's westside.

State Rep. Akasha Lawrence Spence currently represents the district after being appointed to serve out former Rep. Jennifer Williamson's term, but she is not running for the seat. A Republican, James Ball, is also seeking the seat but will face an enormous voter registration disadvantage in November.

Although Reynolds did not run with the support of organized labor, she last week announced the formation of a new group called the Oregon Public Health Coalition, which includes the Oregon Nurses Association, Service Employees International Union, farmworker union PCUN, the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Latino Network and the Oregon Law Center.

Reynolds also signed on to a letter last week from more than 150 mothers who are also physicians, which termed Gov. Kate Brown's decision to allow bars, restaurants and other indoor gathering spaces to operate while keeping schools closed "unconscionable."

Reynolds says the new coalition hopes to push the governor in a direction that will get COVID-19 under control in Oregon.

"We just want to encourage the governor and the Oregon Health Authority to do more and do it quickly," Reynolds tells WW reporter Nigel Jaquiss in an interview.