Willamette Week Endorsement
34th District (Cedar Mill, Tanasbourne, Rock Creek)
Ken Helm, Democrat
The retirement of Democratic incumbent Rep. Chris Harker (D-Beaverton) has opened the door for one of this election’s best new candidates, Ken Helm.
Helm is a land-use lawyer who has represented both real-estate developers and the planning agency Metro; he now works as a land-use hearings officer across Oregon.
His mediation skills will be much needed in Salem, as rumblings of discontent over the urban growth boundary rise in Washington and Clackamas counties.
Helm is already crafting legislation to tweak those rules where they aren’t working, but what the Legislature most needs is his commitment to the conservation principles that have made Oregon a national model for avoiding sprawl.
We were pleasantly surprised by Helm’s opponent, 27-year-old bank supervisor Brenden King, who won the Republican nomination as a write-in candidate. The GOP could use more of King’s nuanced support for same-sex marriage and driver’s cards for undocumented immigrants.
We hope to see King on the ballot again—but he can’t yet match Helm’s expertise.
The Oregonian Endorsement: No-Brainer
The Oregonian agrees that the race for House District 34 is a No-Brainer.
House District 34: Vote Ken Helm (D)
Progressive activist T.A. Barnhart writes on Blue Oregon:
"One one side is a traditional liberal Democrat with backing from labor, environmentalists and the trial lawyers. On the other, a Democrat who is taking money from resource extractors, banks, businesses that oppose a progressive minimum wage, and the biggest name in the education “reform” movement. At least HD34 voters have this going from them: the choice between Tosky and Helm is pretty clear — if you follow the money."
Read the rest here:
The Oregonian profiled the three candidates in the race, focusing on the base of support for front runners Ken Helm and Brian Tosky:
"Helm and Tosky have also mostly split major endorsements and subsequent contributions from important backers. Helm has been endorsed by the Oregon Education Association, Beaverton Education Association and the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, among others. Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington have also backed him.
"Tosky lists endorsements from the Oregon Business Association, Oregon Stand for Children and the Portland Business Alliance, among others."
Read the full story here.
Why this Matters
First, it has been a great week for the campaign.
The Willamette Week endorsed me, emphasizing that Helm is “calm, balanced and brings a particular skill (his expertise in land-use law) the Legislature needs.”
I’m also honored to see the education community rallying behind me.
Adding to the teachers at the Beaverton Education Association and Oregon Education Association, this week I was endorsed by the Oregon School Employees Association and Beaverton School Board members Mary VanderWeele and Anne Bryan.
I’m receiving this support because they know I care as deeply as they do about the funding and quality of our schools. In Salem, I’ll be a tireless champion for reducing class sizes and restoring lost school days.
But all of that is only possible if we win this election. That is why I’m out every day talking to voters in the community.
We could use your help in this home stretch. Ballots just went in the mail and the election is just a few days away.
We have a big door-knocking canvass this Sunday and many other opportunities to phone bank or go door to door.
It would mean a lot to me if you can volunteer a few hours in the coming weeks. To do so, email Miles on my campaign at Miles @ kenhelm.com.
Thank you to everyone for your support – together we will do this!