State Rep. Khanh Pham (D-East Portland) announced this week she’s running for Oregon Senate in District 23, a stronghold for Democratic legislators stretching across Portland’s eastside neighborhoods.
Sen. Michael Dembrow (D-Northeast Portland) currently holds the seat but recently announced his retirement.
Pham has served as a state representative since January 2021. She’s carved out a place as one of the most progressive legislators in the state, championing traffic safety improvements in East Portland and being an outspoken critic of widening freeways. She championed transfer of ownership of 82nd Avenue from the state to Portland.
Pham, who’s the first of five Vietnamese Americans elected to the Oregon House, sits on the legislative committee overseeing the Interstate 5 bridge replacement on the Oregon side, a project of which she’s been a tough critic. She also sits on the Joint Ways and Means Committee, which writes the state’s budget, and the House Committee on Climate, Energy and the Environment. She’s sometimes drawn criticism from more moderate Democrats in the Legislature for supporting zealous bills like the Right to Rest Act, which would have given anyone the right to sleep on public property without penalty.
She launched her campaign today with the support of six sitting senators: Wlnsvey Campos, Lew Frederick, Sara Gelser-Blouin, Kayse Jama, James Manning and Kathleen Taylor.
Pham said in a statement: “My campaign will focus on three key pillars: an Oregon Green New Deal, Racial Justice and Democracy, and a Safe and Caring Community. These are the building blocks of a future where every Oregonian can thrive.”