BerniePDX and the Portland Democratic Socialists of America condemn the Oregon Democratic supermajority’s recent vote to cut public employee retirement benefits for tens of thousands of Oregon workers. Such a cowardly capitulation to Oregon’s millionaire class is reprehensible, especially against the backdrop of a booming economy where the wealthy few expand their riches at the expense of the many.
For many Oregonians, a secure retirement is a pipe dream. But for thousands of Oregon’s teachers, public health workers, and other government employees, the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) offers some hope of dignity in old age.
PERS is deferred compensation, which was negotiated under contract. Oregon’s public workers did their part by providing years of service to Oregonians, often at the expense of lucrative careers in the private sector. It is beyond belief that so many Democrats backed by labor would stab public employees in the back.
Oregonians don’t need Democrats keen to pass special tax breaks for Nike, while raiding public employee retirement. Oregon Democrats should not merely fight tooth and nail to protect the PERS’ promise, but reach beyond—toward a secure and guaranteed retirement for all Oregonians.
We call on Governor Kate Brown to immediately veto this attack on the working class. There are many options to address the purposely-underfunded PERS liability: Increasing the amortization period, ending the runaway management fees siphoned off by Wall Street, and taxing the wealthy.
Lastly, we recognise the leadership of the Portland Association of Teachers, who compiled the helpful graphic below, which shows the Portland-area Democrats who voted to betray public workers. We encourage everyone to contact your representatives and demand accountability.
BerniePDX and Portland DSA will continue to build a movement with our allies fighting for working people. Join us!
Come together with other Bernie supporters at the Portland State campus to listen, educate and engage new supporters for Bernie. Together, we will have the conversations that matter for what will be the most important election in our lifetime. In the process, we’ll have fun and make new friends. Please join us! See you there!
“I am from 4 generations of Black teachers in Portland Public Schools, a PPS grad and the mom of PPS kids. But I’m qualified to lead because my passion and love for black and brown kids runs deep. The findings from the recent audit are disturbing; I couldn’t not run. The experiences that have led me here professionally also inform my desire to lead. I didn’t wake up and think to myself that I would be awesome at this job. Rather I had a serious dialogue with myself about what it would take to address the historic, persistent and systemic failing of black kids in PPS, and a good, thoughtful leader that had the capacity at this time would step up.
I’m a single mom of two kids; I volunteered in PPS classroom before I had kids, reading to primary kids, teaching a Junior Achievement curriculum to 5th and 8th graders. Once I had kids I volunteered to teach formerly incarcerated youth algebra to help them pass the electrician’s apprenticeship test, and volunteered in my kids’ classrooms. Two weeks ago I was asked to present a housing focused curse; I presented at Madison HS, three classes to 85 kids on Housing: Race and Place about the history of racial residential policy, and how it plays out today.”
A brief training will be followed by a couple of hours canvassing in the nearby neighborhoods. For newbies, this will give us a chance to practice so you can gain the skills to venture into your own neighborhoods. For veterans of political organizing, this will get our campaign legs (or wheels) under us again! Come together with your friends, family, and neighbors to join our historic campaign to defeat Trump and transform America! Together, we will talk to our neighbors and have the conversations that matter in an election that is as important as this one.
“My parents immigrated from Jamaica so I could access free public education, as it costs money to attend school after the 6th grade in Jamaica. My ability to succeed in the classroom was doubted, which led to me not finishing high school. After pursuing a GED, I received an undergraduate and graduate degree. In my later educational pursuits I discovered the true impact of educational equity work, and dedicated my career to centering students at the margins. As a community organizer and educator who centers culturally-responsive pedagogy, I would be in a position to better advocate for the needs of teachers and community members.
As an educator, an advocate, and a progressive community organizer who proudly calls Portland home–I care deeply about our students, families, and education professionals. I’m a 26 year old high school dropout, and my journey brought me to become the educator I wish I had in high school. This puts me in a position to better understand how students are impacted by policy change in PPS.
We are long overdue for schools that guarantee any student a promising educational experience, regardless of who they are, or where they come from. That’s why I am running for Portland Public School Board, Position 2. I am running to lead our district towards a future where equitable student success is a given and not a perennial goal.”
Learn more at http://tinyurl.com/shanice4pps
Read BerniePDX’s endorsement statement at www.BerniePDX.us/2019-endorsements
Michelle DePass and Shanice Clarke are both such qualified candidates for the Portland Public School Board (Zone 2) that for the first time, we are offering a dual endorsement in the May 2019 election, because both candidates received virtually the same number of votes from BerniePDX members.
Both are women of color who are deeply involved in the community and education — Michelle as a fourth generation PPS student and parent who has been involved in advocacy and volunteered in schools, and Shanice as an educator and advocate.
Michelle and Shanice are passionate about centering the needs of the most vulnerable students, including students of color, houseless students, and those from low-income backgrounds. They both oppose the presence of School Resource Officers in schools, and they support raising taxes on the most privileged in our community to properly fund our schools.
If elected, Michelle would focus on the priorities listed above, and on the achievement gaps that are systemic in PPS, while Shanice is also passionate about creating wraparound services to aid students in crisis. Most importantly, both women are committed to changing the systemic issues in Portland Public Schools that have left so many students behind.
These candidates represent the values of BerniePDX and we are proud to endorse Michelle DePass and Shanice Clarke.
Deb Mayer also requested an endorsement from BerniePDX for the Portland Public School Board (Zone 3). Unfortunately, it was after our endorsement process. BerniePDX is excited that more progressive candidates are stepping up to bring fresh perspectives to all levels of government, and we wish Deb the best.