Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon Joins Crowded Democratic Primary Field for Oregon’s New Congressional District

The three-term incumbent from Woodburn will give up her seat for the opportunity to serve in Washington, D.C.

State Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn) today announced she’s running for Oregon’s newly created 6th Congressional District seat.

“I am running to make sure that our recovery includes everyone, and in particular, our most vulnerable communities and small businesses,” Alonso Leon said in a statement. “I will fight for our children so heavily impacted by the pandemic. I will work to bring solutions that strengthen and improve their education and rebuild the social safety net that has let them down.”

Alonso Leon was born in San Jerónimo Purenchécuaro, Mexico, and became a citizen in 2012. She was appointed to the Woodburn City Council in 2013 and, in 2016, became the first immigrant Latina elected to the Oregon House. She’s the chair of the House Education Committee and served last session as a member of the House Committee on Health Care and the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services.

The new district, which includes Yamhill and Polk counties and part of Marion County, emerged because of the state’s population growth as measured by the 2020 census and is a rare opportunity for ambitious politicians. Many are pursuing the Democratic nomination for the position: former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith; state Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego); Dr. Kathleen Harder, a Salem physician; Matt West, an Intel engineer; and cryptocurrency investor Cody Reynolds. State Rep. Ron Noble (R-McMinnville) is seeking the GOP nomination.

If they all stay in the race, Salinas, Alonso Leon and Noble will all have to give up their legislative seats and will be part of a massive turnover in Salem that will see a new House speaker for the first time in a decade and the first new Senate president in 20 years.