Two color-ethnic Democrats, who both advocate for criminal justice reform and affordable housing, have fought to represent Beaverton and Aloha in the legislative

Two color-ethnic Democrats, who both advocate for criminal justice reform and affordable housing, ha ...

Two Democrats, both of whom are people of color, are attempting to campaign for their party's choice to represent a newly-drawn House district in Washington County that includes Beaverton and Aloha.

Both a social justice issue, including increasing housing availability and reforming criminal justice laws, is being addressed by an intake and conflict coordinator at a law firm.

In a fall matchup with Republican Daniel Martin, the House District 35's overwhelming Democratic makeup will be the primary candidate for the primary.

So far, the race hasn't attracted much funding. Chaichi has significantly outperformed Marchandt, who has raised about $9,500.

Chaichi's top contributions include several unions, including $1,500 from the Teamsters Union and $1,250 from a teacher union. At Basic Rights Oregon, a group that seeks to "end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Oregon."

The candidates bring a host of different political and life experiences to the table.

Chaichi spent six years on the Beaverton Human Rights Advisory Commission, where she said she advocated for increased police accountability and "respecting the rights of persons who are homeless." She works at Stoel Rives, a large law company.

Marchandt, a black, indigenous trans man, said he lived in a single-parent house. He has worked as a journalist for years, including as evening news and public affairs director at KBOO. He is the director and director of a theater company.

According to her campaign page, Chaichi has been endorsed by Rep. Wlnsvey Campos and Mayor Lacey Beaty, three Democrats have recently been appointed to the House of Representatives: Senator Akasha Lawrence of Portland and Reps. Nathan Sosa of Hillsboro and Travis Nelson of Portland.

Here are two candidates' answers to six key questions posed by The Oregonian/OregonLive to assist Democratic voters make their choice in the May 17 primary. Some of the responses have been edited for clarity.

What other points in your history would you identify that makes you the best Democratic candidate for Oregon and your district at this time?

Chaichi: I am a lifelong resident of Beaverton and advocate for human rights. I served on the Beaverton Human Rights Advisory Commission for six years where I gained extensive experience on local politics. I have fought for greater police accountability and respecting the rights of people who are homeless. I have always argued for greater accountability and accountability in our political system. I am now ready to give my experience to the Legislature.

Marchandt: Washington County is 45% of white and I would argue that the percentage is higher based on how little people answer surveys. In our history and in my districts history, we have never met a Black legislator or to my knowledge an Indigenous legislator. I would change all of that and I am a solid foundation in helping with housing policy, informing health care policies, and, potentially, improving human rights.

Homelessness and the lack of affordable housing are key to success among voters. City, county, nonprofit, and state leaders all have to play roles in addressing the twin problems. Think about the role the Legislature can play, how do you assess the work lawmakers have done up to date, and what additional, if anything, do you think should be done?

Chaichi: Many individual legislators have called for effective homelessness with the right to rest. But the Legislature's overall response to the humanitarian situation involving thousands of our most vulnerable neighbors has been poor. Housing is a human right and it is time that we began treating it like one. The Legislature should lift the prohibition on local rent control and reduce the state rent control rate significantly.

Marchandt: We all had to slowly progress through welfare programs, job training programs, and housing waitlists to buy her first home. I became a single parent with a similar background, and I am thankful for our legislators' achievements, even if they haven't been completely successful. By working collaboratively to build long-term infrastructure informed by data resource centers and ensuring our community resources remain in our communities.

Oregon officials sat across the aisle to pass police reform and accountability laws in 2020 and 2021, then hoped to slow down in 2022 when they decided not to retroactively address non-unanimous jury verdicts. What else should be done on criminal justice reform?

Chaichi: There are more changes that might be listed in the allocated space. Vacating non-unanimous jury verdicts must happen, and we must also address the difficulties of mass -incarceration, police accountability, and excessively punitive sentences. Too many minor crimes have been entered into criminals, and too many individuals have limited voting rights. I support constitutional and statutory changes in order to help us improve the system's genuine equity.

Marchandt: A Black, Native, and gender-expansion trans man this issue is in my heart. We need to see the national, state, and localized attacks on trans people's lives and families come to an end. We need to see a respect for the family unit as being composed of many different individuals, including non-blood relatives, and those targeted and placed in jail as human, therefore, deserving of dignity. We must repeal and/or reform Measure 11 so judges have more discretion.

During the pandemic, students in Oregon suffered tremendous academic and emotional defeats. However, there have been no public assessments to demonstrate how the districts they received to address these problems, nor has the Oregon Department of Education indicated how the money is being used to address their greatest needs. What type of oversight or policy, if any, would you assist to ensure resources are allocated to assist students recover?

Chaichi: The pandemic has affected Oregon's most marginalized communities, our families, our economy, and even our public education systems. There are still minor problems to be addressed, as do staffing shortages and unsafe working conditions. I also support the Oregon Department of Education's review of Emergency Relief Fund plans, which is available on the ODE website. If ODE does not provide an analysis of expenditure Id want to know why.

As I learn the labyrinthine methods to enable our tax payer dollars to reach our schools, I am continually monitoring the progress. I notice that some resources are being allocated appropriately. I see a repetitive problem with the lack of programming assisting students and communities. In Washington County, administrators don't recognize the value of these programs, but they are how we maintain healthy neighborhoods. There is real potential to develop programs supported by non-profits and community organizations that last.

If you were elected, which commission would you most wish to serve on, and why?

Chaichi: There are many issues that I understand about several committees. For example, the right to rest is something I appreciate most. It involves criminal justice, housing, public safety, and even healthcare. I will provide a human rights perspective to each of my committees I serve on. As a renter, a woman of color, and a long-time advocate for the rights of all people, I think I may assist in dealing with the housing situation. Many families in our state have a problem.

Marchandt: Healthcare or justice reform. Early on, I imagined education centered committees, but that was partially born out of my concern if the world was prepared for a Black, Native trans person to become more visible in their leadership. The answer I've been receiving is a resounding yes. I have health care experience back to candy striping before caregiving through college. I have fought to get inclusive healthcare that includes everyone, and I have a lot to offer professionally and personally on a healthcare committee.

Many of Oregon's lawmakers' work in the last two years involved generating billions in federal help and windfall state revenues to assist with the pandemic response and other state spending goals. What's the most common concern or need in our state that was not addressed during this time? How would you look at it?

Chaichi: There are still many challenges that I consider fundamental, including housing, healthcare, and ecological sustainability. If I had to choose one, it is the cost of housing. Thousands of Oregonians lost their jobs due to no fault of their own. While the state did nothing to maintain their jobs, it didn't do what it was needed to survive economically and stay there. We need investments to ensure housing for all, like community land trusts, public financed housing, and a state bank who responds to the people of Oregon.

Marchandt: As a healthcare person, the epidemic feels like it happened three years not two. We were informed by the state that a disaster was approaching and that no one was prepared for it. We were told to tell our families and prepare for scarce resources ahead. Oregon needs better infrastructure, including disaster preparation. We might have been much better prepared for the environmental catastrophes that we knew were coming.

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