By George T. Nicola, Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN), Special to PQ Monthly
The August announcement of Kendall Clawson’s promotion to Governor John Kitzhaber’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Community Engagement was greeted with cheers in Oregon’s LGBTQ community. It is a continuation of Kendall’s contributions to our state and as a role model for countless other Oregonians.
After working for several non-profits elsewhere in the country, Kendall moved to Portland in 2008 for a job as Executive Director of Portland’s Q Center. In that position, she did impressive work developing the Center and expanding its services.
In early 2011, Kendall left Q Center to become a member of Governor John Kitzhaber’s Director of Executive Appointments. There, Kendall was responsible for working with the Governor to recruit and make appointments to 312 boards, commissions, task forces, and work groups. Kendall was also given a secondary role as the Governor’s Arts and Culture Policy Advisor.
As an African American lesbian, Kendall has a deep understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion. When Kendall took the appointments job, only 6% of the people in those positions were people of color. Now, that percentage is 22%. During that time, the percentage of women in these positions rose from 17% to 48%. Appointments have included the full range of the LGBT spectrum. The first ever transgender people were appointed. The first African American was appointed to the Fish and Wildlife Commission, and he happens to be a gay man!
Kendall was the subject of a feature article in PQ Monthly’s April 2012 edition. (http://www.pqmonthly.com/from-water-to-mississippi-to-salem/2258) In August of this year, PQ Monthly’s owner Brilliant Media designated Kendall a member of its Brilliant List for the “positive impact” she has made on the Pacific Northwest LGBTQ community.