Meet the Candidates to Replace Rod Monroe

Meet the candidates vying to replace Senator Rod Monroe in Senate District 24: Kayse Jama & Shemia Fagan.

Ask them your questions, hear about why they’re running, and their plans for our state! Afterwards, we’ll send out an endorsement poll via email for you to cast your vote.


Kayse Jama, Executive Director of Unite Oregon, was born into a nomad family in Somalia. He left when the civil war erupted, and finally found sanctuary in Portland. From 2005 to 2007, he trained immigrant and refugee community leaders in five Western states—Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah and Idaho—under a prestigious New Voices Fellowship at Western States Center. He has been awarded the Skidmore Prize for outstanding young nonprofit professionals (2007), the Oregon Immigrant Achievement Award from Oregon chapter of the Immigration Lawyers Association (2008), the 2009 Loweein Trust Award, which is presented yearly to “that person who demonstrated the greatest contribution to assisting the poor and underprivileged in Portland,” and the 2012 Portland Peace Prize.


As a mom and a civil rights attorney, Shemia has a proven record of standing up for working families with an unparalleled sense of urgency. Oregon’s greatest challenges like housing, education, and healthcare are more than just empty statistics for Shemia. For most of Shemia’s childhood her mother was homeless in East Portland. She was raised by her father who struggled to provide food and healthcare. Thanks to great Oregon schools, Shemia was able to put herself through college and law school. Her first legal job was as a pro-bono attorney for Oregonian’s facing evictions to ensure that their rights were being upheld. On the David Douglas school board and in the Oregon House Shemia lead the fight to protect Oregonians’ healthcare, raise the minimum wage, and fully fund our schools. Today, Shemia is running to bring that fight to the Oregon Senate on behalf of East Portland.