After PERS Vote, Portland Democratic Socialists Consider Primary Candidate to Challenge State Lawmaker

Socialist candidate, Paige Kreisman, may challenge Rep. Rob Nosse (D-Portland) in the Democratic primary.

The Portland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America is expected to vote June 9 on whether to back their first candidate for office—a left-wing challenger to Rep. Rob Nosse (D-Portland) in the Democratic primary.

Nosse, a labor union representative, voted with his caucus for the PERS reform bill this session, which modestly cuts public employee pension benefits.

That vote (along with others by Democrats) provides an opening for left-wing candidates to win support from labor unions, who are publicly outraged over PERS reform.

"I was, and still am, incredibly angry and disappointed after watching corporate Democrats in Salem turn their backs on public employees over this issue," wrote candidate Paige Kreisman, 23, who ran unsuccessfully for Corvallis City Council before moving to Portland, in her candidate questionnaire for the DSA. "This was a manufactured crisis that could have easily been addressed through additional funding."

Kreisman, a disabled U.S. Army veteran, volunteers with Portland DSA as a legislative advocate and with Portland Tenants United as an organizer and board member.

She's also member of the Communist Party and Veterans for Peace.

She moved to Portland in January from Corvallis, after studying at Oregon State University.

"It was very important for me as a trans woman to move to one of the few places where trans people are free to live our lives safely, openly, and unapologetically," Kreisman tells WW. "I am incredibly grateful for how East Portland has so enthusiastically embraced and welcomed me, in one of the few places in the country that it is relatively safe for a trans woman to live as our true selves. I am very proud to call Portland home."

She says she'd doesn't plan to run should she fail to get the DSA's endorsement.

"From Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Rashida Tlaib, DSA's electoral wins have raised our profile as an organization, started new conversations about socialism, and led to surges in membership as our victories make headlines," a DSA newsletter announcing the vote on the endorsement reads. "And here in Portland, we have no intention of sitting on the sidelines."

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