Why I’m Running

I am an environmental policy expert who has successfully helped shift climate change policy at the local, national and international levels. As a woman who has fought and won victories for others throughout my life, I am entering the race for Senate District 19, Senator Richard Devlin’s soon-to-be-vacated seat because I believe we need more women and stronger progressive champions in Oregon’s statehouse.

Our state-- and our nation-- is at a defining moment. Income inequality is wider than it’s been since the gilded age, with devastating consequences for all of us. Oregon has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the country. As your senator, I will work to ensure revenue reform that benefits working families.

Our healthcare system is under great strain, with insurance rates rising to record heights. Many people have no choice but to opt out of purchasing health insurance—a choice that will increase our tax burden with costly emergency room visits and less preventative care. My father devoted 12 years of his life delivering healthcare to the poorest in India. I share his belief that everyone deserves quality healthcare, regardless of ability to pay. I’ll work with you to preserve health care for all Oregonians while working toward a better system that makes quality health care truly accessible to everyone.

Our schools in District 19 are some of the best in the state. Yet even here, overcrowded classrooms are the norm. As the daughter of a teacher, I know how hard teachers work for our kids, and I'll work to support legislation that invests in our public schools while making college affordable, so that students like my teenage son can have the best possible education without being burdened by overwhelming debt.

Every day brings more news of sexual harassment claims in the media, in the halls of Congress and in Salem. Yet most women face insurmountable odds in taking on these perpetrators, whether it’s in the statehouse—where women are in the minority-- or in their workplace. As a young woman, I fought and won a sexual harassment settlement that improved the workplace situation for hundreds of others. We need more women in Oregon’s statehouse willing to stand up for women’s rights—including our hard-fought reproductive rights—while ensuring all people can work free from harassment.

Climate change is costing us over $300 billion dollars just this year, costs that are already crowding out spending on other critical public services like transportation and education spending. We ignore it at our collective peril. Yet Oregon has yet to pass meaningful, comprehensive climate legislation. I have fought and won numerous, groundbreaking victories for climate justice, in Portland, in Washington, DC, and internationally, and I look forward to working with you in ensuring Oregon maintains our role as an environmental leader. In District 19, I will work with you to ensure traffic gridlock and over-development doesn’t continue to damage our region’s quality of life. We need high-speed rail connecting our major cities and better light rail in the Southwest Corridor.

As a candidate for office, I will take no campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry. I will continue to fight to support our region's Tribes and fellow activists in saying “No!” to all new pipelines and fossil fuel terminals, while making the polluters pay for their costs. I will continue to work for a just transition to 100 percent renewable energy and sustainable transport options for all Oregonians and sustainable management of our forests and farms.

Both nationally and in District 19, we have seen an alarming rise in the incidence of hate speech, words that can too often turn into deadly violence. When a West Linn police officer urged violence against Black Lives Matter protesters on his Facebook page last year, I joined with others to make sure this officer was fired. And I was proud when my son joined hundreds in walking out of his high school in response to racist, antisemitic graffiti on school walls. To support him and others, I joined with others to set up the West Linn Alliance for Inclusive Community, to ensure that all of our neighbors are safe from hate crimes, abuse or harassment; and that no person or group in our community is subjected to discrimination, bigotry, or prejudice. I will continue to work to protect and defend all of our civil rights, while standing up to hatred and bigotry in our community.

If you are ready to fight—and win-- with me, I ask you to share your concerns and ideas, volunteer for my campaign and donate to protect the natural beauty and the progressive values that make Oregon a wonderful place to call home.

A portrait of Daphne