pinit fg en rect gray 20 And then there were two: Portland mayoral candidates answer to PQ
By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly

 
With the once-unwieldy Portland mayoral race now down to two candidates and the election just over a month away, we wanted to get to know Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith a little better. So we asked each of the men a lucky 13 questions ranging from the serious to the humorous. You can read the completed questionnaires in their entirety online and — because the pair (especially Jefferson Smith) were particularly verbose — a select seven here.

grey And then there were two: Portland mayoral candidates answer to PQ

Charlie Hales. PQ Monthly file photo


CHARLIE HALES

Age: 56
Political Experience: Former Portland City Council member
Random fact: In high school, he was involved in band and drama

PQ Monthly: What is the most important difference between you and your opponent?

Charlie Hales: I believe that the biggest difference between me and my opponent is experience. I’m the only candidate running for this office with any local government or business experience. I have already proven that I can be effective working in Portland’s unique city government. I’ll be ready on Day 1 to start addressing issues like our gang problem, economic development, the lack of basic services in every neighborhood, and the clean-up of our river.

In terms of policy, the area we differ on the most is around gun control. I have always, and will always take a strong stance on guns. We should do everything we can to keep guns under control and illegal guns off the street.

PQ: How have you supported LGBTQ rights in the past, and how will you support them as mayor?

Hales: As city commissioner, I joined my colleagues in establishing one of the nation’s early domestic partner registries. This was at a time of the first anti-gay ballot measures sweeping our state — around issues of local anti-discrimination laws. I volunteered on both the first Measure 9 and Measure 13 opposition campaigns.

I have long supported marriage equality and will continue to be a vocal proponent until everyone in Oregon can be married to whomever they choose.

When asked to write a little bit about why she supports me, Former Representative Gail Shibley wrote this: “I’m with Charlie because of ferocious dedication to justice for all. Charlie isn’t afraid to stand up to powerful interests to make sure people have the protection they deserve. And he doesn’t just mouth the ‘right things’ that are politically helpful in 2012; he has a strong track record of walking the walk. In short, he’s on OUR side.” I am very proud of this.

PQ: Will you carry the torch lit by Mayor Sam Adams and encourage local companies to extend transgender-inclusive health benefits to their employees?

Hales: Yes, I will absolutely carry on Mayor Adams’ advocacy.

PQ: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing LGBTQ Portlanders, and how will you work to fix it?

Hales: Discrimination. Looking forward, I will be an active part of the public education campaign and advocacy campaign to bring marriage equality to our state, and will be an outspoken advocate as mayor for the freedom to marry for all caring and committed couples.

Additionally, I will work with our public safety bureaus to continue to better reflect our community, including LGBTQ members of the bureaus’ workforce. We need to continue to ensure safety for everyone by acting decisively when hate crimes have been committed, threats are issued, or safety is at all in question. …

PQ: Everyone makes mistakes. Tell us about something you once did/said that you later regretted. What caused you to have a change of heart, and how did you rectify the situation?

Hales: The most humbling experiences I have had in my life typically revolve around fatherhood and wanting to be a good parent. Teaching my children a love for the outdoors is important to me, and so I do a lot of hiking, camping, and sailing with them. On a trip in the Pasayten Wilderness in the North Cascades, I made a bad navigation decision, and then stubbornly stuck to my bad decision. This resulted in a difficult and literally painful couple of days, in which my daughter was injured. The lesson, of course, was to listen to others ideas and suggestions, and to be willing to reverse course in a bad decision. That’s true in more than just a backpacking trip.

PQ: How will you distinguish yourself as the new mayoral intern on “Portlandia?”

Hales: By demonstrating that makeup artists can make you look really pierced and tattooed, even if you aren’t!

PQ: Are there any myths or misconceptions about yourself or your candidacy you’d like to debunk?

Hales: There is a misconception that I lived in Washington to evade Oregon’s higher income taxes. This is absolutely false. Just over 10 years ago, I fell in love with my wife, Nancy. At the time, she lived in Washington and had children finishing up their high school education; we felt it was imperative that her kids be allowed the continuity of finishing school where they started, so when we got married, I moved in with her. We stayed in Washington just long enough for her youngest child to go to college, and then we moved back to Portland. It was a personal decision and I do not regret it one bit because it was one made for love.

grey And then there were two: Portland mayoral candidates answer to PQ

Jefferson Smith. PQ Monthly file photo


JEFFERSON SMITH

Age: 39
Political Experience: Member of the Oregon House of Representatives and co-founder of the Bus Project
Random fact: Rick-rolled the House in 2011.

PQ Monthly: What is the most important difference between you and your opponent?

Jefferson Smith: My political values and leadership strengths fit the city and our future. I have experience leading an organization and managing staff, as well as operating in politics; that combination will be helpful as we lead our city in this century. I have a record of bringing people together, developing new leaders, and advocating for progressive policies and social justice. I take the work seriously, but I don’t take myself too seriously. Here are some things my candidacy offers:

1. The candidate who has served in recent elected office. … 2. The candidate who has founded and run a successful organization. … A recent and relevant track record of making government better. … The candidate committed to running a positive, progressive campaign. … A deeply-felt focus on equity. …
PQ: How have you supported LGBTQ rights in the past, and how will you support them as mayor?

Smith: You can count on me to not just support, but to champion equal rights. This will not be a new commitment. I have had support from the LGBTQ community to win my previous elections, and I’ve been there to stand up for our shared values. I’ve gone toe-to-toe with Lars Larson on “Face-Off” on the air specifically supporting the freedom to marry. I’ve walked (and occasionally cartwheeled) in more than a half-dozen Pride Parades. I don’t think I’ve missed a year without attending a BRO dinner (as a co-host when I could afford it) in the last decade.…
We still face challenges. There were incidents this year where gay people have been victims of violence. So as much as we think of Portland as this haven of civility and tolerance, the basic idea of protecting the community’s right to exist and be free from harassment is still a huge concern. I think the Q Patrol is a great thing. We need to do more. I will push for more “eyes on the street,” from ONI [Office of Neighborhood Involvement] foot patrols to police officers walking the beat to Clean and Safe personnel to street-oriented commerce. I want to hear your ideas too.

We need to maintain our commitment to our residents who are homeless. According to Outside In, 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ youth. All of Portland should share in our commitment to ending homelessness for more and more people.

PQ: Will you carry the torch lit by Mayor Sam Adams and encourage local companies to extend transgender-inclusive health benefits to their employees?

Smith: Yes. Health care is a basic right, and we can make Portland a model for the nation in terms of inclusive benefits.

PQ: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing LGBTQ Portlanders, and how will you work to fix it?

Smith: We need to work together to address lingering homophobic elements of our culture and practices. These include [homeless youth, discrimination at school and work, and marriage equality.] …
PQ: How will you distinguish yourself as the new mayoral intern on “Portlandia?”

Smith: I do not intend to be on “Portlandia” unless other council members and city staff are featured. Perhaps for a musical number.

PQ: Are there any myths or misconceptions about yourself or your candidacy you’d like to debunk?

Smith: One misconception that’s easy to perpetuate in a campaign is that the mayor can solve all problems. If you elect me mayor, there will still be too many unpaved roads. Our homeless population will still be too high. I won’t turn around the global economy. I want to be candid about the challenges we will face, and the work it will take — from the whole city — to get the city working better for everyone.

Read the rest of the candidates’ responses on our blog.

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