Why I Ran

To the SE Examiner (March 5, 2023)

I wanted to share why and how I’m running for the upcoming Multnomah County Council District 3 Special Election Race coming up soon!

I first learned about the vacant seat on the Multnomah County Council through an article in the NYT featuring Ana Del Rocio who was the first candidate to declare in January. I have been thinking about running for public office in Portland for years, but this special election which has a very short time frame coincided for me with a time in my life when I am available for the time and effort to run a campaign. I always figured my first run would be for the Portland City Council, but when a door opens at the right time I figure it’s time to open it.
So, I paid the $50 filing fee, filled out the paperwork, and got started building albertkaufman.com in WordPress. I have been working for the past 15 years as a marketing professional, teaching small businesses and nonprofits how to use email marketing and social media. Given that this is a short-window campaign, I figured I would be able to lean on those skills and my name recognition in the region instead of paying people to do that work. I also feel that money is part of the problem in our political system so I have chosen not to take donations for this race. Friends who are politically savvy have advised me that this is a questionable move, but it has given me a lot of freedom to call the shots and not run my campaign by committee. Speaking of money, I next had to write and then file my voter’s pamphlet statement and pay $100 to have my 325 words printed and distributed! For a general or mid-term election, the cost for this is $300.
Next up has been reaching out to organizations for their endorsements. I had a great interview with the Oregon League for Conservation Voters (OLCV) where I learned about that important group’s priorities and I got to share my thoughts about the environment. It also brought forth a memory that I had somewhat forgotten about. When I first moved to Oregon in 2002 one of my first jobs (and a great way to learn the lay of the land) was as a canvasser for OLCV. I spent months walking through East Multnomah County sharing information and talking to voters.

I have interviews with the gray Panthers and the firefighters coming up this week, and I’m looking forward to talking and learning. That’s what this campaign has really taught me – about various perspectives. Depending on the organization, the priorities can really differ. Then there are my priorities. I’ve been a community organizer in Portland for years and I have started and worked on many campaigns. Some have been initiatives and some have been supporting candidates. Then there have been campaigns to plant more trees and ban gas-powered leaf blowers (qcpdx.org). I guess I love politics and organizing people to take action.

I thought it would be valuable for people to know what kinds of things are involved in running for office. I wish more people would take the step forward and throw their hats into the ring. This area has attracted some very smart and capable people. Our lives would be improved by having more people considering spending some years in public service.
Here’s to a better Portland – we can bring our region into a better future together. I just know it.
Albert KaufmanAlbert Kaufman - Multnomah County Commissioner District 3 Candidate