By Lori Chavez-DeRemer
Posted on Clackamas Review on 08/01/18
Within the present political climate, it is generally known that there is not a lot of diversity in politics, especially when one looks at current makeup of the Republican Party. While this may not appear to be an issue to some, I strongly believe that the lack of diversity within the GOP will, in the future, ultimately impede our efforts in successfully representing and serving the ever-diversifying American populace.
This is one very important reason as to why I am running for state representative of House District 51: to serve as a conduit linking the ideals of the party with current minority communities and to target the youth specifically in these communities to let them know that they can be the future faces in elected leadership.
If I were to win my election in November, I would become the first Latina Republican state representative in Oregon’s history, as well as the first Latina elected representative in House District 51. I have served as the mayor of Happy Valley for eight years, and throughout my tenure have met with and interacted with various communities. The Eastern European and Asian populations have a very strong presence in Happy Valley, and of course, have a great and positive impact on our city. To further this idea of our diverse population providing an impact, one of my first acts as mayor was creating the Happy Valley Youth Council to get the youth involved in community outreach. As an indication of our town’s diversity, our Youth Council consists of kids from a multitude of backgrounds, especially those of Asian backgrounds. With this council I have not only had the great pleasure of meeting so many bright and pragmatic kids, but have also had the amazing experience of conversing with a group of people that can offer so many differing viewpoints that I myself would have never thought of.
And to me, that experience definitely epitomizes the necessity of diversity and independent thinking within politics. It is impossible to deny that the cultural landscape of Oregon (as well as America) will continue on this course, and believe that our representation needs to adapt to this shift. As an American-Latina, particularly within the context of the Republican Party, I have learned so much from all the people around me. It has been through the interactions with the people of these communities that has taught me the obvious, yet vital realization that there needs to be people who can effectively represent and fight for our increasingly diverse population. The latest Pew Research Data shows that Oregon’s Hispanic population hovers around 12 percent. This will undeniably rise in the next 30 to 40 years and with a new generation of Hispanics, they will eventually decide where they fall on the political spectrum. It’s up to the generations before them to lead by example that share their values and culture.
The Republican Party has accepted, embraced and fully understands the need to accommodate more diversity. My peers, colleagues and party all believe in my ability to act as the liaison for minorities to grow the Republican tent, and in turn, I believe in their full support for this task.