Three leading Oregon elected officials—Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle and House Speaker Tina Kotek—as well as City Commissioner Carmen Rubio, Metro President Lynn Peterson and a slew of legislative leaders all have endorsed Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson in the 2022 county chair’s race.
It’s a formidable list of endorsements that also includes community leaders Rukaiyah Adams and traffic safety advocate Ashton Simpson, as well as the farmworkers’ union United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555. (The full list released by the campaign is below.)
“I know first hand that meaningful change is driven locally,” said former Gov. Barbara Roberts in a statement. “Jessica Vega Pederson shares that belief and works to make it happen. She’s a true champion for our community and that is why I believe she’s the right person to lead Multnomah County into a new chapter as county chair.”
It’s a show of force by a candidate who is well respected among more left-leaning establishment Democrats. The race is officially nonpartisan, but Portland is deep blue, regardless.
It’s also a sign that Vega Pederson may be taking her competition seriously. That includes fellow County Commissioner Sharon Meieran and community leader Shannon Singleton, who have both officially announced. (County Commissioner Lori Stegmann may also run.)
The contest has the makings of a hard-fought campaign for an open seat. Chair Deborah Kafoury cannot run for reelection next year because of term limits.
Pederson championed the Preschool for All ballot measure last year and led the county’s efforts on transportation in her time on the commission. As a legislator before serving on the commission, Vega Pederson, who was the first Latina elected to the Oregon House of Representatives, championed the cause of paid sick leave.
Other endorsements for Vega Pederson released Tuesday: Reynolds School Board member Ana Gonzalez Muñoz, Portland Public Schools Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero, Multnomah Education Service District Chair Jessica Arzate, Mt. Hood Community College Board Chair Annette Mattson, Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González, David Douglas School Board member Hoa Nguyen, Portland Public Schools Board Chair Michelle DePass, David Douglas School Board member Stephanie Stephens, former House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, former state Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, state Rep. Andrea Valderrama, state Rep. Courtney Neron, state Rep. Dacia Grayber, state Rep. Khanh Pham, state Rep. Karin Power, state Sen. Kayse Jama, state Rep. Teresa Alonso León, Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington, Washington County Commissioner Pam Treece, City of Roses Disposal & Recycling owner Alando Simpson, community leader Candace Avalos, community leader Duncan Hwang, business leader Tom Kelly, and community leader Tony DeFalco.