For over seven years, I’ve served Portlanders on the City Council. I first ran in 2006 using Public Campaign Financing (also known as Voter Owned Elections funding), and won 25% of the vote against the incumbent. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. I ran for an open seat in 2008, again using public financing. That time, I won.
Before serving on the Portland City Council, I loved my career as a Registered Nurse working in in-patient psychiatry. I began working at OHSU (then Oregon Health Sciences University, now Oregon Health and Science University) hospital in 1986. Beginning at the start of the 1990s, I was also a community organizer and neighborhood activist, as well as a public schools mom and PTA/School Site Council volunteer. I was appointed to the Planning Commission in 1996, and served for seven years.
I first thought of running for the Portland City Council in 2001, when the RNs of the Oregon Nurses Association at OHSU went on strike for better working conditions and improved patient care. When we won, after 56 days, I was a different person—I had learned to speak up, to take a stand, to push hard on principles and values. And I realized that with my experience on the Planning Commission, I was prepared to set public policy instead of reacting to it. I saw a need for someone like me on the Council – someone who wasn’t interested in a political career, someone willing to speak up on behalf of folks who couldn’t attend meetings or didn’t know how to engage, or who feared retribution for expressing differing views. The “someone like me” turned into “me.”
I’ve lived in Portland for almost 30 years, after moving here in June of 1986 with the love of my life, Steve Fritz. Steve and I married in 1982, and moved to Rochester, NY where he attended the University of Rochester School of Medicine and I worked at Strong Memorial Hospital. We lived below the poverty line, in an apartment in a neighborhood where the local convenience store owner kept a shotgun on the counter to deter crime. When Steve was about to graduate, his parents were living in Mexico City in charge of The Salvation Army’s work in Central America, and mine were still in England, so we didn’t need to choose our next home to be close to relatives. We did a nationwide search to find the best place to live and raise a family, and chose Portland. Steve started his residency training in Psychiatry at OHSU in July of 1986. Luke was born six weeks later, Maxwell in 1988, and Alessandra in 1990. Choosing Portland as our home was a decision we never regretted. Our children graduated from our neighborhood Portland Public Schools: Markham Elementary, Jackson Middle, and Wilson High Schools. And then, from Western Oregon/Lewis & Clark College, Princeton/Portland State, and Portland Community College/Southern Oregon/Willamette Universities. Public schools provided the foundation for my kids’ success. I will always support and champion Portland’s public schools.
After being the Chief Resident (aka superstar) at OHSU, Steve dedicated his career and life’s work to serving some of the most vulnerable people in our community, at the Oregon State Hospital — first at Dammasch in Wilsonville, then in Portland and Salem.
I was born and raised in England, growing up in the northern city of Leeds in Yorkshire. My dad was an engineer who worked at the copper tube factory, and my mother was a dental hygienist. I went to the neighborhood state schools, and won entry to Cambridge University at a time when only a quarter of the students were women, and only half of all accepted students had attended neighborhood schools. I graduated in 1979, earning my MA in Natural Sciences specializing in Psychology. The day after the final exam results were posted, I left England for the US, hoping to spend the rest of my life with the wonderful young man I’d met while we were both working at a Salvation Army children’s camp in New Jersey in 1977.
I earned my Registered Nurse diploma at the St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, PA, and began my nursing career in 1981. I worked for a year on a medical-surgical ward, then for 26 years in inpatient psychiatry, including 22 years at OHSU.
The taxpayers of Portland paid for my election in 2008, because I was elected using Public Campaign Financing (also known as Voter Owned Elections money). I am beholden to every Portlander, rather than a few major campaign funders. Because I was independent of big-money interests, I was able to lead the Council in saving ratepayers $500 million by refusing to build an unnecessary filtration plant for our precious, pure Bull Run water. I ran for re-election in 2012 with my core philosophy of being accountable to all Portlanders. Because Public Campaign Financing was no longer an option, I set a low cap on the level of campaign contributions I would accept, and therefore had to mostly self-fund my campaign with my husband’s and my retirement savings. I am proud of my family’s dedication to public service, and our personal investment in keeping my vote one that all Portlanders can trust to be uninfluenced by Big Money contributions.
“The rest of my life” with Steve turned out to be 32 wonder-filled years. After my beloved husband was killed in a car crash on I-5 as he traveled to work on September 24, 2014, I decided to run for a third term, to continue our shared work helping the people of Oregon. I am very grateful for the kindness of friends and strangers since the crash – thank you, Portlanders, for recognizing that politicians are real people, too. Thank you for your emotional and practical support.
I continue to cap campaign donations. I have never accepted donations from corporations, unions, Political Action Committees, or any entity that is not an individual human being, and I never will. Corporations are not people. Money is not speech.
I rely on grassroots support from people in Portland’s neighborhoods and local businesses to support my service on the Portland City Council. I ask for your active participation in my campaign, whether by donation, volunteering, or both. I ask for your vote.
Politics isn’t a career to me – it’s a calling, and a privilege to serve.