Oregon House District 26

(Wilsonville)

Courtney Neron (D) 

Courtney Neron, 41, a former public schoolteacher, was elected two years ago in a surprise upset of Republican incumbent Rich Vial. There was no clearer beneficiary of the 2018 blue wave that swept the Portland suburbs, including this district of tall fir trees and car dealerships.

Neron is an unexpected legislator and a novice at politics. Her early efforts in the Legislature were uncontroversial stuff: In 2020, she passed a bipartisan bill to help kids who've suffered concussions transition back to school. (The bill passed before Republicans walked out to halt the session.) In conversation with WW, Neron emphasized her willingness to increase taxes to fund schools, something the Democrats already did last year.

Neron doesn't dazzle anyone with her independent thinking, and her scores in our biennial ranking of legislators placed her at the bottom, but she's well-intentioned and eager to find solutions. Her opponent, like so many Republicans these days, was AWOL when it came time for an endorsement decision. Peggy Stevens, a retired property manager, is running chiefly on a platform of lower taxes, but doesn't offer any new ideas in her Voter's Pamphlet statements.

Neron's most awkward moment on Zoom: When she had just been introduced to speak at a Zoom meeting, she hit the leave button instead of the button to unmute. (In her defense, both buttons were red.)

Oregon House District 27

(Beaverton)

Sheri Schouten (D)

People tend to overlook Sheri Schouten. A retired public health nurse representing points south of Tualatin Valley Highway, Schouten, 67, keeps a low profile in the Capitol and can't boast passing many prominent bills. (Salem insiders rated her as "bad" in our biennial rankings, but mostly damned her with faint praise.) She did successfully beef up the state's drug take-back programs, and her values match those of her constituents.

The same cannot be said for her challenger, Sandra Nelson, who is running on both the Republican and Libertarian tickets. Nelson, a reading consultant and teacher, also professes to be a member of Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, one of the most conservative women's groups in the country. She opposes same-sex marriage and abortions in all circumstances. She is, in short, a cheerful person who would suitably represent the Beaverton of 1955. Stick with Schouten.

Schouten's most awkward moment on Zoom: She tried to sneak a bite of a plum during a meeting—and it burst.

Oregon House District 28

(Aloha)

WLnsvey Campos (D)

Rep. Jeff Barker, a former Portland cop and police union leader, has been one of the most conservative Democrats in the House for the past decade. He's served as an independent voice of reason—and a check on the utopian impulses of more progressive colleagues. If Dems wanted to pass criminal justice reforms, they had to persuade Barker the plans would work. More districts should have the good fortune of this one in suburban Washington County, represented by someone this honest and honorable.

He is retiring this year, and WW recommends voters replace the 77-year-old white guy with a 24-year-old woman of color—a state representative who would be one of the most left-leaning in the House.

WLnsvey Campos, 24, was poor enough as a kid that her family lived in a hotel for a time, and she works for a social service agency aiding homeless people. Both her life and work experience drive her to change the state for those who most need an advocate in Salem.

She says she'll work to eliminate the ways landlords can evict tenants without cause and champion climate solutions to transportation, including not expanding single-occupancy car lanes. She'll have a lot to learn in Salem if she is to succeed at either of those aims, but we recommend voters send her on that mission. (Daniel Martin, her Republican opponent, did not join WW for an interview.)

Campos' most awkward moment on Zoom: She forgot to turn off her camera when she got up to get a snack—and showed off the bright yellow shorts she wore with her blazer.

Oregon House District 29

(Hillsboro)

Susan McLain (D)

McLain, 71, serves a district covering the farther western stretch of the Portland metro region. So it's apt that she breaks from her party orthodoxy by advocating for farmers who live within sight of the Coastal Range. She crafted a 2019 bill that allowed more ditch-digging on farmland; as drab as that sounds, it was something Gov. Kate Brown nearly vetoed until McLain hashed out a compromise. McLain has worked in school classrooms and at Metro—little wonder she's good at explaining abstract concepts—and has developed a specialty in transportation technology, including ride-hailing apps. If Oregon gets self-driving cars after the pandemic, expect McLain to be making the rules.

We don't always agree with McLain—on highway projects, she's far more enthusiastic than we are—but we find her a good foil. No such luck with Republican nominee Dale Fishback, who didn't join us for an interview. A 22-year employee of the Tualatin Valley Water District, Fishback doesn't make much of a case in his platform that he'd constitute a practical change from McLain.

McLain's most awkward moment on Zoom: She rose at 6 am to chair a bi-state bridge committee meeting and lost internet access. "I had squirrels out there, basically chewing my cables."

Oregon House District 33

(Northwest Portland)

Maxine Dexter (D)

Everyone has had a difficult 2020, but few juggled as many new tasks as Dr. Maxine Dexter. In May, as Dexter was running for the Democratic Party nomination for the seat Rep. Mitch Greenlick held for 17 years, Greenlick died. Dexter was appointed to the seat—which meant she spent the summer considering statewide police reforms while also treating COVID patients in the intensive care units at two Portland-area hospitals.

As the nation gets closer to implementing a COVID-19 vaccine, and as we approach what epidemiologists expect will be a "second wave" of the virus in late fall and winter, the Legislature could use someone with Dexter's skill set. As a pulmonary and critical-care physician, her expertise could help craft legislation surrounding vaccinations, mask mandates and how to reopen the state—or close it down again should cases spike. Having treated COVID-19 patients—and watched some of them die, frightened and alone—Dexter brings a perspective few of her colleagues in Salem have.

No shock that Dexter's first priority next session is health care reform: She wants to get rid of the fee-for-service system, ensure a Medicaid option for people on public health insurance, and integrate public health into the state's care-delivery system.

Dexter's opponent, Dick Courter, is a professional forest consultant who's lived in this district since 1978. Courter was a pleasant surprise: a moderate, reasonable Republican who wants to focus on the economic recovery of the region, particularly places devastated by the September wildfires. He's a refreshing throwback to an era when Republicans just wanted fewer tax hikes, not a police state. (We also loved his Zoom background: a photo of Courter standing with arms spread wide in front of a massive redwood.) We hope he finds a spot in Oregon politics, but it's hard to compare to a candidate of Dexter's caliber.

Dexter's most awkward moment on Zoom: During her first Health Care Committee meeting, her computer's battery was dying and she didn't want to go fetch a charger. Her husband brought the cable over, but he was wearing sweat-soaked clothes from a workout—in front of Dexter's legislative colleagues. "That was horrifying," she says.

Oregon House District 35

(Tigard)

Dacia Grayber (D)

This seat is currently held by Rep. Margaret Doherty, who is retiring this year after a decade of service. The race to replace her has been surprisingly placid—perhaps because the Democratic nominee is so well suited to the job and to this era.

A firefighter and paramedic who has been on the front lines of both pandemic and forest fires, Dacia Grayber, 45, has faced head on the crises of this year.

She'll be a voice for preparing for the next calamities—including the Big One, the looming Cascadian Subduction Zone earthquake that will make 2020 look like a Disney cartoon. She demands an overhaul of the statewide emergency alert system as well as funding the early warning system for earthquakes (she says it should be a priority even in the midst of an economic recession). She also has a vision for addressing the economic disparities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Grayber faces nominal opposition from a perennial candidate, Bob Niemeyer, 66 an inventor and engineer who describes himself as "definitely an outsider" in the Voters' Pamphlet.

Grayber's most awkward moment on Zoom: She offered three, but our favorite was her border collie throwing a bone on the concrete floor of her porch—very loudly.

Oregon House District 36

(Northwest Portland)

Lisa Reynolds (D)

Let's start by applauding James Ball, the Republican nominee in this district, for running. Ball, 35, is an Army veteran and former financial analyst at Intel, and now owns a garage door company. He's moderate, calm, rational and willing to acknowledge his party is to blame for the dismal place it finds itself in Oregon: in a deep minority that threatens to grow even deeper. "I'm frustrated and angry that we picked a demagogue to lead our party," Ball says of President Donald Trump. In a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans  6 to 1, being pro-choice and generally sensible isn't enough to win—but we hope Ball will find a voice in his party.

He's also, it must be said, facing an unusually strong Democratic opponent, Dr. Lisa Reynolds, a pediatrician. Reynolds is smart and plain-spoken—honest enough to say that she found the tactics public employees used to secure Shemia Fagan the Democratic nomination for secretary of state "disturbing." In a caucus that needs an injection of brains, gravitas and independence, Reynolds will be a welcome addition. She's worked on gun control as a volunteer and called out Gov. Kate Brown's timidity on COVID-19 as a candidate. In a state where health care spending consumes 27% of the budget, Oregonians desperately need more medical industry expertise in the Capitol.

Reynolds' most awkward moment on Zoom: She failed to mute herself during choir practice. "I was kind of rocking out to a gospel song. I was particularly exuberant," Reynolds says. "I don't have a great voice."

Oregon House District 37

(West Linn)

Rachel Prusak (D)

Rachel Prusak wasn't supposed to beat Julie Parrish. For eight years, Parrish, an iconoclastic and ebullient Republican entrepreneur, was the GOP leader of Portland's southeast suburbs. Then came the blue wave of 2018—and Prusak unseated Parrish in a surprise that now looks like a herald of Democratic reign across the metro area.

Prusak, 44, a hospital nurse, was an unknown quantity when she arrived in Salem. She quickly impressed people as she championed vaccines and gun safety. In WW's biannual rating of legislators, one lobbyist described her as the "best first-termer."

During the pandemic, Prusak demonstrated her independence: With the help of a few colleagues, she slowed a drive for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to sanction the sale of mixed drinks to go. That's something many Portland bar owners desperately wanted amid COVID-19 shutdowns, but Prusak warned that a state with record rates of addiction shouldn't rush approval for booze to go. It didn't suit the interests of many in Portland delegation, but the battle shows her independent spirit and the reason Oregon needs health professionals in office.

Two years ago, when Prusak defeated Parrish, we didn't endorse her because she didn't make a strong enough case for a change. And now her challenger, Kelly Sloop, 57, must clear the same high bar. Sloop didn't. The pharmacist from West Linn couldn't point to specific failings by Prusak, instead arguing that the state needed a check on Democratic control. That's accurate, but insufficient.

Sloop also advocated for reopening businesses more rapidly amid a pandemic. We are reluctant to endorse anyone who is not fully respectful of the dangers of COVID-19.

Vote Prusak. She's fast proven herself an independent and effective leader.

Prusak's most awkward moments on Zoom: "One of my many dogs is aging and aging fast and has lost control of her bowels and bladder and loves to sit next to me. So there have been moments when I am vice chairing the Health Care Committee or chairing the universal access to primary care work group, and let's just say I have to push through."

Oregon House District 38

(Lake Oswego)

Andrea Salinas (D)

Salinas, 50, had a remarkable first three years in the Legislature. After being appointed in 2017 to fill a seat vacated by Rep. Ann Lininger (D-Lake Oswego), the onetime congressional staffer and contract lobbyist found herself promoted in her first year to chair the House Health Care Committee. But the neophyte lawmaker learned that House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) didn't just offer gifts—she made demands. Salinas was one of the swing votes pulled into a back room by Kotek last year and ordered to support highly contentious public pension cuts as part of a deal to pass new taxes to fund schools. "I wish I had said no," she says now.

But that's life in the big leagues—and even unions smarting from those cuts are backing her now. Rightly so: Salinas is among the smartest lawmakers on the House floor and refreshingly candid about what is and isn't working in a state government controlled by her party. She describes police treatment of minority communities as "an abysmal failure"—strong language in a city with the reactionary tendencies of Lake Oswego—and says both corporate and union dollars carry too much sway with the Democratic Party. If Ballot Measure 107 passes, allowing lawmakers to set statewide campaign spending limits, her leadership will be needed to force Democrats into action.

Her Republican opponent is Patrick Castles, an author who wants more police officers at schools, fewer environmental restrictions on trucking, and a rule that state employees can't donate to campaigns. He would not be an improvement over one of the most promising lawmakers in the state.

Salinas' most awkward moment on Zoom: Zoom bombers. "A bunch of kids figured out how to sign up for my town hall and just started using profanity. Thankfully, no pictures showed up."

Oregon House District 39

(Canby, Beavercreek)

Christine Drazan (R)

House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) is an endangered species in this state—a Republican who hails from the Portland metro area.

Drazan ran a nonprofit called the Cultural Advocacy Coalition before winning this seat in 2018. She brought with her experience as a high-level House staffer in the 1990s, when the GOP controlled the lower chamber. That and a strong fundraising ability rocketed her to the top of her caucus in her first term. She's brought more energy to the position than her predecessor, then-state Rep. Carl Wilson (R-Grants Pass), although we're not sure that using some of that energy in a walkout in the short session earlier this year over a climate bill was the right thing to do.

Oregon needs more than one party. Drazan, who declined to speak with WW, is a savvy leader and the best chance her caucus has to regain relevance. She's raised almost 50 times more money than her Democratic opponent, newcomer Tessah Danel, a Clackamas County water commissioner, so Drazan will get another chance to lead.

Oregon House District 40

(Oregon City, Gladstone)

Mark Meek (D)

The first time Mark Meek ran for this seat in 2016, we beat him up pretty hard for evasive answers about a union-backed initiative. We feared that Meek, an Air Force veteran who makes his living as a real estate agent and property manager, lacked independence. He's proven us wrong. In his first session, Meek, 56, voted against the real estate interests who funded his campaign. In 2019, he voted against his caucus leadership's push to gut Oregon's death penalty. Meek says there were two reasons: One of the men murdered by Jeremy Christian in the infamous 2017 MAX train stabbings was a fellow parishioner at Meek's church, and the Democrats' sneaky, retroactive nullification of potential death penalty charges didn't sit well with Meek.

We'll take his long record of civic involvement in his community—he's served on several committees, coached sports and volunteered in numerous roles—over his opponent, Republican Josh Howard, a 33-year-old management consultant. Howard, who ran for another House seat four years ago, is also a veteran: He parlayed four years in the Navy into a degree at Oregon State University and an MBA from Arizona State. The father of two young children, Howard doesn't yet have Meek's level of civic involvement, but we hope he'll stay involved in a party that needs more people of his caliber. He's unafraid to criticize President Donald Trump's debt-fueled economic policies and is rational in his outlook.

Meek's most awkward moments on Zoom: Meek says it's impossible to know when his face will appear on camera during legislative meetings, so he's gotten caught eating and drinking coffee on calls.

Oregon House District 41

(Milwaukie, Oak Grove, parts of Southeast Portland)

Karin Power (D)

Power, a 37-year-old lawyer for the environmental nonprofit Freshwater Trust, is seeking her third term in the House. Since her election in 2017, Power has consistently advocated for working parents. In 2019, she led the passage of a bill that prevents an employer from denying job opportunities because of a worker's pregnancy status, childbirth or related medical conditions. Power also updated breastfeeding laws so that employees are guaranteed rest periods to pump during a child's first 18 months.

That's a personal issue for her, since she has two small children. She plans to keep championing it: If reelected, Power wants to fix what she calls "child care deserts" in the state, meaning places where there aren't enough day care slots for children who need them. She's working across the aisle on that issue with her colleague Rep. Jack Zika (R-Redmond).

Power also wants to strengthen the series of police reform bills that passed in the Legislature in June; she described the bills as "low-hanging fruit." Power says there needs to be more transparency around officer misconduct records, and that many of her constituents have told her tear gas should be banned completely (currently, police can use tear gas if they declare a riot prior to deploying the chemical agent and warn the crowd they are about to disperse it). In our biennial survey of metro-area lawmakers, Power was rated "excellent"—colleagues and lobbyists described her a "no bullshit" legislator who demonstrated a knack for bipartisanship.

Power's opponent, Michael Newgard, is an Army veteran and rescue helicopter pilot with the Oregon National Guard. Newgard doesn't appear to be making a serious challenge to Power.

Power's most memorable moments on Zoom: Normalizing breastfeeding while on back-to-back calls all day. (Power has an 8-week-old son.)

Oregon House District 44

(North Portland)

Tina Kotek (D)

Nobody in Oregon history has served as long as House speaker as Tina Kotek.

Since she was elected in 2006—the election in which Democrats took control of the House—Kotek, 54, has grown in stature and accomplishment each session. She became speaker in 2013, the first openly lesbian speaker in the country. Known for her focus and efficiency, she has shepherded major progressive legislation, including a large minimum wage increase, family medical leave, a massive transportation funding package in 2017, and last year, the Student Success Act, which will add a billion dollars of new funding for schools. She personally championed unprecedented zoning reforms in the 2019 session, which will spur the construction of more housing in neighborhoods that have long shunned new neighbors.

Kotek says she never expected to stick around this long. "I'm not a lifer, I'm a policy person," she says. "There's still more good policy to do." We sometimes worry that she and her caucus are to beholden to the public employee unions who fund their campaigns and benefit from their legislation, and also fret that like Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem), who has held power even longer, Kotek may be constricting the growth of her colleagues by staying in place. But she's very good at her job, and it's not clear whether she's burning to replace Gov. Kate Brown in 2022 or wait for either U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer or U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden to retire.

Kotek's Republican opponent, Margo Logan, a child care consultant, did not attend our endorsement interview but distinguished herself by including in her Voters' Pamphlet statement the QAnon motto: "Where we go one, we go all." No go.

Kotek's most awkward moment on Zoom: She says colleagues are growing weary of her home décor, which includes a Wonder Woman poster. "People now realize how geeky I am."

Oregon House District 47

(East Portland)

Ashton Simpson (Working Families Party)

It's extraordinarily rare for a third-party candidate to have a shot at unseating an incumbent. And yet East Portland needs to help Ashton Simpson do just that.

Rep. Diego Hernandez (D-East Portland) has been an effective voice for immigrants and his district in the House. But earlier this year, his former romantic partner filed and then withdrew a request for a restraining order. Then, several other women at the Capitol filed harassment complaints against Hernandez, 32, with the Legislature's HR office. (The accusations surfaced after the Democratic primary was underway, so he faced no competition in May.) House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) urged Hernandez to resign. He declined and denies all the allegations.

While some of his colleagues remain at his side, a group of politically active women have formed a committee to oppose him. Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, who held this seat before Hernandez, is endorsing Simpson, as are two veteran House Dems, Reps. Carla Piluso (Gresham) and Rob Nosse (Portland). That is as good an indication as any that he should relinquish the seat.

So Simpson stepped in with a bid to remove him. (The two also face the Republican nominee, Ryan Gardner, a small business owner who did not join our endorsement interview.) Simpson, 35, who has never run for office before, has nonetheless demonstrated a commitment to his community. The retired Air Force veteran went to Portland State, now works at the Rosewood Initiative, a neighborhood renewal nonprofit, as community asset director, and has served on transportation advisory groups for the city and Metro.

Simpson's top priority? Helping tenants who don't have a way to make up the rent they missed while COVID-19 ate their paychecks. He would extend the eviction moratorium and provide further rent subsidies to the newly unemployed.

Simpson isn't a dramatic shift from the principles Hernandez has championed. He just argues the district needs a leader above reproach. We agree.

Simpson's most awkward moments on Zoom: His son, age 8, "popping in."

Zach Hudson
Zach Hudson

Oregon House District 49 

(Troutdale)

Zach Hudson (D)

Rep. Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale) is vacating his seat at the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge to run for state Senate. For the first time in seven years, this district gets an open race.

The Democratic nominee is Zach Hudson, 41, who teaches special ed math at Reynolds High School and has been a member of the Troutdale City Council since 2017. Hudson is mellow and wonky—and we liked his approach to pandemic recovery, which balances a need for renewed economic activity with an acknowledgment that the virus is still virulent. Little of his platform is a marked departure from Democratic orthodoxy (he wants someone other than police to respond to mental health crises, but who doesn't?), yet we found him thoughtful and careful in describing how he would weigh decisions.

The Republican candidate is 69-year-old Greg Johnson, a retired tool designer for Boeing and a volunteer member of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Citizen Patrol. Johnson, a Troutdale resident since 1997, told WW he felt compelled to run because he recognized a need to support his community after the district's Republican nominee, Joe Demers, dropped out after winning the primary. We found Johnson charming, but he had few specific policy ideas.

Hudson's most awkward moment on Zoom: "We have two cats. One of these cats is offended by the idea that any door in the house should be closed, because she needs to go where she needs to go." During an introduce-yourself-type of event with the Oregon Capitol Club, when it was Hudson's turn to speak for three minutes, the cat urgently needed to leave. "So I had a background chorus of meows letting the Capitol Club know how I wasn't paying attention to my cat."

Oregon House District 50

(Gresham)

Ricki Ruiz (D)

Rep. Carla Piluso (D-Gresham), the onetime Gresham police chief, is leaving the Legislature after three terms. She's endorsed Ricki Ruiz to replace her, and she's right.

Ruiz, 26, does unglamorous civic work that places him in daily contact with the people suffering most in a pandemic. He's the city of Gresham's community services coordinator, which entails such tasks as finding aid for people who can't pay their electric bills. He also serves on the Reynolds School Board and co-founded the Rockwood Initiative, a free sports league for kids in the diverse, low-income neighborhoods where Portland meets Gresham. With Rep. Diego Hernandez (D-East Portland) embroiled in scandal, Ruiz will provide energetic Latinx leadership in East County—he's already thinking about how to help people who have no way to pay rent when the state's eviction moratorium expires.

His GOP opponent is Amelia Salvador, a first-generation Filipino American commercial real estate broker. Like many of the Republicans we spoke to this cycle, she's understandably frustrated by high taxes and pandemic shutdowns. Salvador says she jumped into politics because she was outraged by a state ban on plastic straws in restaurants. This is, we think, not the most pressing concern faced by her district. Ruiz gets the nod.

Ruiz's most awkward moments on Zoom: His corgi-chihuahua mix, Rocky Ruiz, has a habit of leaping onto his face.

Oregon House District 51

(Clackamas, Happy Valley)

Janelle Bynum (D)

After two sessions in Salem, Rep. Janelle Bynum appears more comfortable expressing her opinions on controversial matters.

A small business owner—she and her husband own a handful of McDonald's franchises—Bynum, 45, is deeply engaged in the social and criminal justice issues the Legislature's Black, Indigenous and People of Color Caucus is tackling, and is a moderate voice on pocketbook issues.

She played a big part in the slate of criminal justice reforms lawmakers passed earlier this year: restrictions on tear gas and chokeholds, and a fresh look at the arbitration process that has made it very difficult to fire police officers. She wants to do more with a database of cops found to have used excessive force or violated other rules, and to continue to chip away at arbitration.

Bynum is also willing to buck her caucus leadership. She and others in the BIPOC Caucus opposed prison closure, saying Portland lawmakers were insufficiently concerned about the financial impacts on rural Oregon.

In an endorsement interview that her opponents, Republican Jane Hays, a school administrator, and Libertarian Donald Crawford, a self-employed educational publisher, did not attend, the sometimes cautious Bynum staked out clear positions on two hot-button issues: the Metro transportation measure and the Portland mayor's race.

Although Metro has gone to great lengths to emphasize equity in its spending plan, Bynum is a solid no, observing that traffic may not return to pre-COVID-19 patterns and a payroll tax could slow economic recovery. As for the mayor's race, Bynum rejected challenger Sarah Iannarone, who, like Bynum, has been highly critical of Portland police.

Bynum's most memorable moment on Zoom: Bynum's been on a ton of legislative and campaign calls, but a family gathering sticks most in her mind: A relative's wig wasn't quite in position when the call started.

Oregon House District 52

(Hood River, Cascade Locks)

Anna Williams (D)

This vast district contains the most majestic scenery in Oregon: all of Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge. Yet for the past two cycles, it has been a contest between candidates who live five blocks from each other in Hood River: Rep. Anna Williams and Jeff Helfrich.

It's their new neighbors that have determined their political fortunes. District 52 was once a safely Republican spot, where Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River) faced little threat for three terms. Helfrich, 52, a retired Portland police sergeant, was appointed to the seat after Johnson left for a lobbying gig in 2017—and was promptly defeated in 2018 by Williams, 40, who rode the demographic shift of urban liberals moving to Hood River.

Helfrich would like the seat back, and made about as good a case as we heard from a Republican this cycle: He's moderate, wants to bring more green energy jobs to the Gorge and is rightly outraged by the bumbling within the Oregon Employment Department. Helfrich raises a useful voice in state politics. If the incumbent were shaky, we'd endorse him.

She isn't. Williams, a college adviser with a background as a social worker, has proven a sharp and caring lawmaker. She landed in the middle of the pack in our ranking of metro-area legislators last year but can already boast passing a signature bill: a 2019 expansion of the Long-Term Care Ombudman's Office. That looks awfully prescient in the pandemic: It means Oregon's most medically vulnerable get more advocacy from the state. She also tempered Democrats' most ambitious bills, including zoning reforms and a carbon cap, so rural towns get more leeway and resources to comply. With Republicans preferring walkouts to compromise, Williams is providing a necessary check on her own party. She deserves to win this rematch.

Williams' most memorable moment on Zoom: She used the House Party app to attend a four-hour birthday party and says it was one of her favorite nights this year.