So, I hate advertisements. In fact, I often blow the minds of the kiddos I work with because, for example, I tape over conspicuous logos on things I own so as not to represent brands that I have no stake in. So it’s unusual that I would put an advertisement on anything of mine — but this is what my bike looks like these days:
And it’s because my super amazing partner, James Ofsink, is running for Oregon Senate, and that is one thing I want everyone to know about.
James has been involved in politics for the last decade, working on the kinds of things that don’t lead to easy glory but that are actually important, things like election and redistricting reform and getting money out of politics and helping educate citizens about their options when they vote. He’s been on the board for the League of Women Voters, has chaired a variety of good-government committees for the City Club of Portland, and is on the Multnomah County Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission. He’s involved with the edgy issues that most entrenched politicians won’t touch but that are, again, actually important: black lives matter, single-payer healthcare, tenant’s rights and rent control, the Eastside Portland Air Coalition. If you’re interested, he’s got some pretty sweet videos posted on his facebook page that explain a lot of his thoughts on these and other key issues way better than I can here (check them out!).
I guess my point, though, is that James actually has ideas and wants to hear yours — and he wants to work to enact those ideas, not just follow some party line and vote the “right” way on all the “right” things, never rocking the boat. Like everything he does in life, he leads by his principles, not by what’s popular or what’s likely to get him accolades or make the journey easy for him, and that’s why I think he’ll be so good at this.
And here’s the invitation! If you’re intrigued, want to hear more, want to share an idea or two, or just want to hang out, come meet James at the Sellwood-Milwaukie Sunday Parkways this Sunday! We’ll start at 11am at the Milwaukie Farmer’s Market (such a delicious place to get an early lunch, tasty treat, or amazing produce), then head out around 11:30 to make the Parkways loop, biking slowly, moving clockwise, and stopping at all the parks. Just look for bikes with Ofsink signs:)
This Sunday Parkways is particularly awesome because it’s smack in the middle of District 21, which is the district James would represent if he’s elected. (In case you’re curious if you’re in District 21, there’s a fun map of all the Oregon districts here; zoom in to where you live to see what district you’re in. It’s kind of fun.) Plus, like all Sunday Parkways, it’s sure to be a rockin’ good time.
As a minor party candidate, James has a hard journey ahead of him. Despite the political climate for most normal people, the political climate among the powers that be still definitely calls for maintaining the status quo at all costs — and it’s been astounding to me to realize throughout this process how much is actually decided by those powers that be before I as a normal citizen even get to the point where I see I have options. That more than anything is why I think we need people like James in the Legislature: we need people not beholden to a two-party system that doesn’t work, people who listen to people rather than money, people with fresh ideas and the energy and will to pursue them. James is one of those people.
By the way, you know what else is cool about James? He’s running his campaign largely by bike. That is, when he stops by your door to chat with you and hear what you think should happen in Oregon’s state government (or to offer you a lawn sign:), chances are about 100% that his bicycle is locked up nearby, and that he will hop back onto it to bike home.
So I think James is worth decorating my bicycle with advertisements. I think he’s worth plastering signs across our front yard. And if you think so too, I invite you to spread the word. Since he doesn’t have a bazillion dollars to spend on advertisements nor does he have the built-in support of a broken two-party system, a campaign like his depends on real people like us carrying it forward.
Again, you can find way more details about his platform on his excellent website; if you’re more of a video person, his campaign facebook page has a whole bunch of videos explaining a variety of his thoughts in more detail. Heck, you can even sign up to get a yard sign, which is basically the best thing ever. :)
And come join him at Sunday Parkways! It’s going to be awesome.