If it feels like you have been holding your breath, you are not alone. Across Oregon, and across the country (very possibly the world), so many of us have been anxiously awaiting election results. “Too close to call” sounds like the status of our future. And today, we are still waiting. But as the voices of voters are heard and all the ballots are counted, we can all take a deep breath. We can start to see a better future ahead.
In Oregon, like across the country, we are still waiting on some election results. However, I didn’t want another day to go by without sharing what we know now. (Sneak peek: we have some good news for Oregon!)
It’s abundantly clear that Oregonians overwhelmingly support climate champions over climate deniers. Just look to our top priority race – secretary of state. We congratulate and celebrate OLCV-endorsed candidate Senator Shemia Fagan for winning this race and ensuring Oregon’s next secretary of state will be a fierce protector of our environment and our democracy! Shemia defeated (by a large margin) Senator Kim Thatcher, a climate denier who was on LCV’s ‘Dirty Dozen in the States’ list for walking out twice to kill climate action in Oregon.
Shemia wasn’t the only one to defeat a climate denier…
- Jason Kropf had a resounding victory in Bend’s House District 54, defeating incumbent Rep. Cheri Helt – who voted against the Clean Energy Jobs bill and received thousands from oil companies. The people of Bend will finally have a representative who shares their strong environmental values!
- Deb Patterson is currently ahead in Salem’s Senate District 10. This race is too close to call. But, we are hopeful that this fighter for clean air and clean energy will ultimately prevail against incumbent Senator Denyc Boles, who has the distinction as the only one who both voted against the Clean Energy Jobs bill while in the House and then walked out to kill it when she joined the Senate.
- Climate champions in the House, including freshman Reps. Courtney Neron, Rachel Prusak, and Anna Williams (another close race here so a bit of holding my breath still), who voted for the Clean Energy Jobs bill look to be returning to the House to keep fighting for climate action.
- Also joining the House, will be new climate champions State Representatives-elect Wlnsvey Campos of Aloha; Maxine Dexter, Lisa Reynolds, and Khanh Pham of Portland; Dacia Grayber of Tigard; Zach Hudson of Troutdale; and Ricki Ruiz of Gresham.
- The Senate will add at least two new fighters for climate action – State Senators-elect Kate Lieber from Beaverton and Chris Gorsek from Troutdale/Gresham. Fingers crossed, we will add Deb Patterson to this list!
- Statewide, we also reelected Oregon’s climate champion in the U.S. Senate – Sen. Jeff Merkley, and climate champs Treasurer Tobias Read, and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum!
- In local races, climate champions won across the state, including Lacey Beaty for Beaverton Mayor, Nafisa Fai for Washington County Commissioner, and Phil Chang for Deschutes County Commissioner.
While we didn’t win in every race, we’re so proud of all our OLCV-endorsed candidates for running strong campaigns and making climate change a central issue. Many of these candidates, like Eileen Kiely for SD 27, came incredibly close to winning, and should be applauded for stepping up to run and working hard to hold climate deniers accountable.
Over 2.4 million Oregonians voted in this election, more than in any election in Oregon’s history. That happened in the midst of a pandemic. It happened because Oregon has fought for decades to increase voter access. And it happened because you showed up and made your voice heard by voting. Thank you! And an extra thank you to all the OLCV volunteers who joined phone banks from home, getting out the vote while staying safe.
While we can start to breathe a bit easier, we can’t stop fighting for real climate action. Our future depends on these new elected officials, but it also depends on us. We need to continue making our voices heard around the issues we care about – clean air and water, public lands, climate action, and environmental justice. Will you keep fighting with us?
Thank you, Francesca, for being a climate voter! And congratulations to all of our OLCV-endorsed candidates. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish. Together, we can work toward a healthier, more equitable, and more resilient Oregon. Today, we can hope for a better future, but we can’t stop there. Let’s keep working together to make a better future for all.