State Representative, House District 51

Janell Bynum:

Lori Chavez-DeRemer:

1. What racial/cultural/ethnic identities do you claim?

Bynum African American

Chavez-DeRemer – Hispanic

2. There are over 800,000 People of Color in Oregon, and growing.  Generations of racial exclusion, exploitation and divestment have historically marginalized communities of color from the political process.  What steps will you take to engage communities of color?

Chavez-DeRemer – More of us need to seek elected office. We also need to engage populations to participate by going to them – not waiting for them to come to us. As Mayor of Happy Valley, we recently had a police levy fail by one vote, so we aggressively went out into the neighborhoods to meet at homes, coffee shops, parks … wherever we could find people. The next levy passed overwhelmingly. Engaging communities in the political process takes effort, and I’ve demonstrated I’m willing to do the work.

Bynum Most directly, I look forward to bringing my perspective as a woman of color to the legislature. I will also continue my work in schools and with business groups. I have a passion for working with young people, as a role model, mentor, and living proof of the opportunity education provides. I will continue to push for equity in educational funding and outcomes. I will engage business owners and connect them with resources to help grow their enterprises and create wealth for future generations.

3. What are the root causes of racial inequities in Oregon?

Bynum Oregon was born into racial inequity, even as she entered the Union a free state.  Former African slaves and freemen, people of Chinese descent, and First Americans were systematically excluded from the start. This continued during war time, where access to the job market and union wages were limited based on the color of one’s skin. Redlining further impacted our communities and continues today. These are the facts and the roots that we must grapple with if we are to make progress.

Chavez-DeRemer – Most inequities are caused by economics, opportunity and racial/ethnic bias.

4. What is your response to comments that target and stereotype specific populations, such as immigrants and refugees to this country?

Chavez-DeRemer –  It upsets me.

Bynum There is no place in our country for hateful language that targets and stereotypes certain populations, and its prevalence is unacceptable.  The recent anti-immigrant rhetoric that has been at the forefront of the presidential election illustrates how much further we have to go as a state and a nation.  We must collectively denounce the negative, often bigoted comments and promote tolerance and brotherhood.

5. What solutions will you champion in response to the OHEA Mend the Gap Report highlighting the 383,000 uninsured Oregonians?  This includes COFA, immigrant, women and low-wage workers who face exclusions and barriers to healthcare.

Bynum I believe that healthcare is a human right and we need to work towards ensuring everyone has access to it.  Not only is this the right thing to do in a humanitarian sense, but in the long term it will benefit our state government as well as the residents of Oregon fiscally.  Drug prices have continued to rise to the point that necessary medication becomes unattainable for some, while in neighboring countries people can acquire the same drugs for a fraction of the price.  The Affordable Care Act has begun to move us in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go and need to continue its progress.  We must take action on the state level to make sure every person living in Oregon is covered and in the legislature I look forward to working with experts and advocates on solutions to make that a reality.  

Chavez-DeRemer – I’ll need more information on the issue.

6. What are your solutions to the Housing Crisis facing Oregonians?

Chavez-DeRemer – We need to make housing more affordable and accessible. Home ownership is as a historic low, and lending laws have made it nearly impossible for people to go from renting to owning. Zillow recently reported that 84% of renters don’t have the income or the credit to qualify for a home loan. When people own homes in their communities, they take more pride in their neighborhoods. I think home ownership is one of the greatest economic freedoms we can enjoy.

Bynum This is an extremely complex issue that will take a great deal of collaboration from experts around Oregon and our country.  That being said we need to get started on resolving the issue.  The inclusionary zoning ban we had in place does not work as evidenced by the crisis we are facing now.  I am interested in the legislature’s work in 2016 to end the ban, and will want to see inclusionary zoning laws moving forward be very targeted and focused directly on the communities they’ll affect.  The bottom line is that we’ll need more funding for affordable housing.  However, we are already deficient in funding in important areas such as education, so in order to increase housing funding we will have to be creative, whether it is through our state’s bonding capacity or a focus on local communities finding solutions.

7. What ideas do you have for improving curriculum to prepare our K-12 students to be business, political and social leaders in a racially and culturally diverse state?

Bynum Changes to our curriculum will be much more effective when we increase the diversity of individuals presenting and selecting it. I would also like to see an increase in CTE programs so that children are able to experience a wider variety of subject areas in order to find one that they are passionate about.  While canvassing in my district I’ve spoken with many young people that lament a lack of civics education in their schooling, and would like to see an increased focus on community engagement.  Helping young people get real life experience by connecting them to businesses, government agencies, and community organizations will pay large dividends in their aspirations and understanding of what they can do to become future leaders.

Chavez-DeRemer – I work closely with the Happy Valley youth council, which currently does this through mentoring programs and extra curricular activities to engage them in policy, business and community. I would love to see this type of program expanded and put into place elsewhere.

For more information on these candidates, please visit their website:

Janell Bynum:

Lori Chavez-DeRemer:

To get involved in APANO’s civic engagement work, please contact or call 971-340-4861.