The murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis has laid bare the grim reality of our nation’s history with racism. Despite all the progress and changes we’ve made throughout the years, there’s still much work to be done. Thankfully, out of this tragedy, peaceful demonstrations locally and across the country are calling for justice and change and providing us with hope for the future. As a citizen and elected leader, I am doing my best to listen and learn from the voices marching on our streets. Sadly, those with a different agenda than justice — lawbreaking, violence and anarchy — have tried to hijack legitimate protest. We must hold the lawbreakers legally accountable and not let them overshadow the majority of peaceful voices united for justice and change.
Now more than ever, we need all of our leaders to step up, but throughout this national crisis, President Donald Trump has not only failed the test of presidential leadership — he is making the crisis worse and has failed America. I’m not surprised. I didn’t vote for Donald Trump in 2016 because I believed he was unfit to serve as president — I believe that even more strongly today. At a moment when America needs a president to show compassion, restore order and lead for constructive change, President Trump creates chaos and exploits fear and division. He simply lacks the character, temperament, integrity and moral authority to lead our nation. When America was confronted with the global pandemic, the president’s response was bad — but his rhetoric and actions since the killing of George Floyd are even worse. America has serious problems that began before Trump and will last beyond him — but Trump has made our problems worse, our divisions deeper and our politics and culture more corrosive. In November, America needs to elect a new president who can lead our nation in a more positive direction. Given what’s at stake, I feel I must speak out against the president who happens to share my party registration but does not share my moral compass and values.
For the past ten years I served on the Bend-La Pine School Board and now as Bend’s state representative. I am a working mom with three kids and a local restaurant owner. I didn’t run for office to get involved in party politics or to offer social media commentary on national politics. In fact, I’ve avoided both. I run and serve because making Bend a better place is my passion. The work of combating inequality isn’t new to me. At the heart of my school board service was ensuring access to a quality education for every child as a means to combat poverty and create opportunity — no matter your skin color or economic circumstances. But even well-educated children and adults with black or brown skin are not immune from racism and injustice. Which is why change, reform and accountability is needed. Words are a good place to start — but leadership and action is how we will be measured.
More than ever, we must work together to repair and bridge our historic and racial divides. I am ready. In his letter from a Birmingham Jail in 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”