By Cassidy Harris
Lewis & Clark College Democrats Club invited State Representative Andrea Salinas to speak to students prior to the midterm elections on Nov. 6. Salinas currently represents District No. 38 in the Oregon House of Representatives, which covers Lake Oswego and some parts of Southwest Portland including the LC area. She holds the nomination of the Democratic, Republican and Independent Parties and is running unopposed.
The event was held on Oct. 25 in Miller 105 in an informal style with students asking Salinas questions and engaging in discussion. LC Democrats Club planned the Q&A in an effort to increase awareness of Portland politics and state politics as midterm elections approach.
“I think it’s easy to get overwhelmed and upset by politics at the federal level, and it is just as important to focus on more local issues.” Charlotte Brownstone ’21, Co-President of LC Democrats said.
Charlotte Powers ’21 asked a question regarding recent racial tension and anti-semitism exhibited in Lake Oswego. One specific incident occurred in 2016 at Lake Oswego High School when a private Facebook page was started among students where they discussed coming to school in blackface, a Ku Klux Klan Club and pretending to lynch each other and other students.
“I was so crushed,” Salinas said. “I’ve lived here for four years and it is a really racist town. People come, and then they move away because of it.”
To combat racial tension, Salinas advocated for diversity, equity and inclusion officers and committees in schools and on city council.
Alex Webb ’22 brought up the possibility of Knute Buehler, the Republican candidate for Governor of Oregon, winning the election on Nov. 6. Webb asked what implications having Republican leadership would have on legislation and the functioning of the House since it is held by Democrats and Oregon has been a steadily Democratic state since the 1980s.
“Buehler would definitely not be receptive to increasing taxes on corporations, and will probably not be receptive to any other top legislative priorities,” Webb said.
Salinas discussed if under future Republican leadership a commercial activity tax bill could be passed. The bill would increase taxes on corporations instead of instituting a higher property tax to fill Oregon’s $1.4 billion budget shortfall, which Salinas says is deeply affecting public schools and education quality.
“We need more revenue resources. That is top of the list,” Salinas said.“But when Phil Knight gives him (Knute Buehler) $3.5 million, he’s not going to turn around and tax corporations.”
Powers commented on the importance of the event to the LC community.
“I think every college student is susceptible to living in a bubble,” Powers said. “Having Rep. Salinas speak here was an opportunity to discuss pertinent issues within SW Portland and venture beyond just LC’s campus politics.”