Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has endorsed Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty in a contested race for Portland City Council that may ultimately double as a referendum on policing in Portland.
“Jo Ann gets tough things done, and she does it side by side with the community,” Schmidt said in a statement. “Her steady leadership, drawn from 30 years of meaningful police accountability work and deep knowledge of Portland, brings a crucial perspective to public safety work.”
Hardesty won election to the City Council in 2018, becoming the first Black woman to do so. In her bid for a second term, she faces a handful of challengers, including Vadim Mozyrsky and lawyer Rene Gonzalez.
Mozyrsky, an administrative law judge, has served on multiple public safety committees since moving to Portland in 2014, such as the Citizen Review Committee, the Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing, known as PCCEP, and the Public Safety Action Coalition. He has won several notable endorsements, including that of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 189, the Joint Council of Teamsters No. 37, and the Portland Business Alliance.
In his statement, Schmidt applauded Hardesty’s implementation and expansion of Portland Street Response, as well as her “efforts to strengthen trust with the community to create violence prevention collaborations.”
In 2020, Schmidt ran for district attorney on a criminal justice reform platform, beating out longtime prosecutor Ethan Knight—who had the backing of establishments like the Multnomah County District Attorneys Association and the Portland Police Association—with about 76% of the vote.
Since then, both Schmidt and Hardesty have garnered criticism from Portlanders and the police for purportedly being soft on crime.