Laurie Wimmer

State Representative, House District 36, Portland’s Westside

Laurie Wimmer is a progressive, pragmatic problem solver who has achieved success in her nearly 30 years working in Oregon policy roles by forging alliances and innovating solutions. She is running for office to strengthen the voice of workers and to address the root causes of poverty in Oregon.

It is not enough to have a seat at the table; Laurie wants to lead with her values and will not be bullied into taking bad votes. Laurie is a 23-year employee of Oregon Education Association and proud member of its Staff Union, PSO, which has unanimously voted to endorse her in her race for HD 36.

Laurie co-founded and chairs the Oregon Revenue Coalition and vice chairs the Board of Oregon’s Virtual Education program (ORVED). She has served on the African American/Black Student Success Advisory Committee since helping to push for its establishment by the Legislature in 2015.

Laurie is a lifelong Oregonian and has lived with her family in northwest Portland for 30 years.

View Laurie's response to the Candidate-Platform Alignment Questionnaire:

Candidate comments (optional)

EDUCATION: In addition to my agreement with the education platform, I would add that as a public school advocate for nearly 24 years, I am deeply concerned about privatization efforts in our schools; about education reforms driven by corporations instead of educators; and about the chronic underfunding of our system. I was a key architect of the Student Success Act of 2019, which is now at risk because corporations, doctors, and health clinics are trying to stop the 2020 implementation of this Act.

ECONOMY: A central goal of my campaign and future legislative service is to take meaningful actions to narrow the widening income inequality gap, which has its roots in the decline of labor unions, a tax code that prioritizes wealth and privilege, and a failure to fully address the issues and root causes that our most vulnerable people are confronting: racism, ableism, housing insecurity, food insecurity, mental health and addictions, wage theft, etc. We must consider how to not only rebuild out of the economic distress caused by the pandemic, but how to refashion our institutions to build a more resilient, fairer, stable economy that works for all of us.

I. Basic Rights
We call on our state legislators to pursue universal publicly funded health care for the state of Oregon.
We call for all members of Oregon’s Congressional Delegation to co-sponsor and actively work for the passage of expanded and improved Medicare.
We support the continuation and expansion of Medicaid.
Agree
We recognize that there is a housing crisis in our local communities and across the state. We direct Multnomah County and the City of Portland to develop affordable housing for individuals and families with zero to moderate incomes. Agree
We strongly support women’s rights to reproductive freedom of choice including unfettered access to reproductive health care services regardless of their ability to pay.
We oppose any legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood.
Agree
Comments (optional)

HEALTH CARE: Health care is a human right. We not only need universal access, but also, we must protect health-care consumers from predatory clinics that refuse to serve the poor and elderly. We can do this right now, by barring shopping mall clinics like Zoom Care from turning away Medicare and Medicaid patients.

HOUSING: The dual issues of housing affordability and homelessness are key elements of my platform, and they are key concerns of HD 36 constituents. We must recognize the many issues underlying these related crises and address them all. It is insane to grant capital gains tax cuts to wealthy investors to build the Ritz Carlton, with its $6 million condo project attached, in full view of our homeless, camped on downtown sidewalks. How much better it would be to use the money foregone to instead provide rent assistance, mental health services, and other supports to our homeless people!

CHOICE: I am the sole candidate in this race endorsed by the Choice Community. Both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-choice Oregon have backed me in this race because of my long-standing advocacy on this issue, dating all the way back to the 1980s, when I was a counselor in a Portland abortion clinic. This right is non-negotiable.

II: Natural Resources Protection and Recovery
We support passage of state legislation to change our goals for economy-wide reduction of Oregon’s Greenhouse Gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and at least 50% reduction by 2035. Agree
We support the development and passage of legislation to provide mandates and incentives to:

• Expand public transportation systems; Advance an early transition to electric and zero-emission vehicles;
• Advance weatherization and structural improvements in existing buildings; Support implementation of solar energy production;
• Advance new net-zero-energy buildings and methane-free new construction; Incentivize energy efficiency in Oregon’s industries;
• Improve tree canopy and rooftop plantings where possible in all urban areas to reduce heat island effect;
• Require that electricity be produced entirely by renewable sources by 2040 and require net zero carbon building codes by 2030.

Agree
We support the development and passage of a Forest Protection and Restoration Act that will:

• Eliminate clear-cut forestry on all publicly held and managed lands and maximize climate resilient management;
• Eliminate all tax incentives to industrial forests not employing climate resilient management practices that re-establish multi-species and multi-aged forests, including protecting riparian areas that will lower stream temperature for fish habitat, restore intact functioning watershed areas, reduce landslides, protect municipal water supplies, and restore floodplain functioning to Oregon’s rivers and streams;
• Maintain incentives and subsidize independent landholders who engage in these practices;
• Reduce roads in forests; Develop and implement treatments to restore healthy forest soils;
• Accelerate programs to reduce and eventually eliminate forest stream passage barriers in Oregon;
• And re-evaluate the property tax structure for Oregon’s commercial forests.

Agree
We support a ban for any new fossil fuel infrastructure. Agree
Comments (optional)

I am also a supporter of the Green New Deal.

III: Education
We call for legislation compelling large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes toward full funding to ensure the future of Oregon education Agree
We support public funding of a full-day, full-year, universal public preschool program for children age 3 to 4 in Multnomah County that is high quality, playbased, culturally responsive, and developmentally appropriate for young children. Agree
We recognize that poverty is a systemic problem embedded in society at large and believe that schools can be responsive in addressing poverty-related traumas, including the effects on highly mobile students. Therefore, we recommend that funding be invested in PreK-12 wrap-around services including mentoring, after-school programs, counselors, culturally relevant curriculum and instruction, and critical race theory initiatives, and other programs that have been proven effective in assuring student success. Agree
Comments (optional)

EDUCATION FUNDING: As previously noted, I have devoted nearly 24 years of my career to pursuit of funding adequacy and was proud to co-author the Student Success Act, which is now under threat by doctors, clinics, and corporations who want to delay it, to the detriment of our children. I oppose this delay. The Corporate Activities Tax that funds it was designed to apply only if a corporation is pulling in more than $1 million, and hospitals/fuel/groceries are already exempt. Even in this pandemic, the Amazons of the world should pay this modest (half percent) tax.

PRESCHOOL: I support this goal and would add that I dream of a day when all Oregon children have access to high-quality, free, accessible preschool in every community in our state.

POVERTY: More than half of Oregon’s schoolchildren qualify for free and reduced school meals, and we have the highest rate of unhoused youth in the nation. Poverty presents an array of challenges for our students navigating it, and makes their educational achievement all the more difficult to obtain. Small class sizes, summer school, and wraparound supports are key to addressing the various challenges our students face.

IV: Equity
We call for proactive educational programs for all law enforcement personnel and for all local, city, county, and state government personnel to safeguard black and brown lives and protect them from race-based law enforcement actions that far too often end in death. Agree
We demand equal pay for equal work for women from all employers in Multnomah County. Agree
Black Lives Matter. We call for legislation that provides meaningful protection for African Americans at all levels of the justice system Agree
Comments (optional)

This one is personal for me because mine is a multi-cultural family. I have been proud to work on a wide array of equity issues in my nearly 30 years of policy advocacy. I have been endorsed by a long list of leaders in communities of color in recognition of this work.

V: Tribal Sovereignty
We call for universal, publicly funded health care to close health disparities exacerbated by Congress chronically under-funding Indian Health Service. Agree
We demand compliance with treaties between the United States and Tribal nations and hold the federal government to their trust responsibility. Agree
We support legislation that fully funds teams of investigators to work in consultation with Tribal authorities to respond to each murder and disappearance of Native American persons anywhere in Oregon. Agree
Comments (optional)
VI. Historical and Ongoing Anti-Blackness in Oregon
We call on the Oregon State Legislature to immediately assess the Black correctional populations at the county, city, and state levels.
We also demand that there be review of punishments (bail amounts, sentence lengths, amount of time served before parole) being levied at unfairly high levels on Black Oregonians. This is particularly important for disparities based on gender and race for similar crimes to other racial/ethnic groups.
We demand there be significant Criminal Justice reform in the form of investment into counseling, alternative sentencing, job training, and rehabilitation for Oregon’s over-incarcerated Black population.
Agree
We call on the Oregon State Legislature to authorize bank audits to expose patterns of racial discrimination in lending and require these banks to extend loans to Black businesses and Black institutions. Wells Fargo and Umpqua received bailout from taxpayers and owe a debt to all taxpayers regardless of race. Additionally, Wells Fargo has a long and storied history of using predatory schemes to extract wealth from Black communities. Increasing SBA loans to Black businesses would be an excellent way for banks to begin to redress the past harms they have inflicted on Black communities. Agree
The Oregon State Legislature must create a law that mandates public schools in the state teach students about America’s original sin of slavery and the Jim Crow era that followed, with an emphasis on the state of Oregon.
The legislation should also incentivize the training, hiring, and retention of Black American teachers to teach the aforementioned subject matters. This will help address the Black teacher shortage in Oregon.
Agree
Comments (optional)

With respect to “mandates” in education, it is a matter not of whether we should do this, but how. Unfunded mandates are proposed every legislative session, and nothing ever comes off the table — only new ideas added. We must emulate workable models for such legislation, such as the Native American curriculum bill of 2017 and its predecessor Ethnic Studies bill of 2015, which were careful to involve education experts and ensure that the mandates were funded.

VII. Justice
We call for the repeal of all mandatory minimum sentencing in Oregon, substituting Guidelines in its place, and allowing a judge to have discretion in all cases. Agree
We call on the State Legislature to pass pay equity legislation for Public Defenders and Prosecutors and their staffs. Agree
The Oregon Legislature should do away with cash bail, which discriminates against poor people, who are disproportionally people of color. Agree
We believe that the voters of Oregon should abolish the Death Penalty and life without parole sentencing. Agree
Comments (optional)

We used to have sentencing guidelines that were nationally revered, until Republicans took control in the early 1990s and replaced them with mandatory minimums and other degradations. With respect to funding equity, right now, our justice system pits David against Goliath, to the detriment of true justice for defendants. This must change.

VIII. Election Integrity and Legislative Alignment
We demand campaign finance reform.
We demand that the state Attorney General challenge corporate personhood, and that state and federal legislators pass laws and a constitutional amendment clarifying that corporations are not people and money is not speech
Agree
We encourage voters to pass an Oregon constitutional amendment to allow the state to regulate political contributions and expenditures.
We call for Oregon state legislation to set limits on contributions by individuals, PACS, corporations, and unions to candidates, candidate committees, political party committees and any other political committee
Agree
We support legislation that requires voter-verifiable paper ballots in all elections, and tabulation software that is open source, non-proprietary, and available for public scrutiny and analysis with source code that is verified using a public method by qualified third parties independent of any political party or vendor, and that guarantees secure chains of custody so there can be no modifications after certification. Agree
Comments (optional)

I support small donor PAC-protected campaign finance reforms, to truly equalize the power and money playing field.

IX. Media
We support a comprehensive net neutral public utility to provide state of the art internet access to serve all end users. Agree
We support the full funding of Public Broadcasting stations and networks, possibly supplemented by small donations from the public, to eliminate the inhibition of investigative reporting of sponsoring entities.
We support the development of ways to assure stable funding well-protected from political interference.
Agree
We support corporate responsibility with the management of our personal data. We demand internet media companies pay individuals for use of their personal data, and if there is a data breach to pay for all damages. Agree
Comments (optional)

I want to see us ensure that public broadcasting is protected from political AND CORPORATE interference.

X. Economy
We support breaking up monopolies, starting with barring Internet common carriers (i.e. Google, Facebook) from competing with businesses that use them. Agree
We support the creation of a public bank in Portland/Oregon Agree
We support the creation of either a cap-and-trade program or a carbon tax with dividend to recognize the need to eliminate fossil fuel use as one means to fight global warming. Agree
Comments (optional)
XI. Labor and Workers’ Rights
We call for the decriminalization of paid sexual acts between consenting adults and legislation allowing sex workers to organize. Agree
We oppose all legislation that diminishes workers’ rights to organize. Agree
We support legislation requiring retraining of displaced workers. We call for state and federal legislation to provide transition plans as technology and innovation change the workplace Agree
Comments (optional)
XII. Immigration
We call on the Federal Government to never take immigrant children away from their detained parents and to reunite families that have already been separated. Agree
We call on every member of the Oregon Congressional delegation to cosponsor and actively work for the passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM Act). Agree
We call on the State and local governments of Oregon to adopt policies that protect immigrants from unlawful enforcement of immigration laws. In addition, we call on the institutions to not participate in the enforcement of Federal immigration laws Agree
Comments (optional)
XIII. Infrastructure
We support legislation to promote and implement high-speed rail or other high-speed technology, including monorail, within Oregon and along the West Coast. Agree
We support construction of renewable energy facilities or facilities that include carbon sequestration technology. Agree
We support public funding for electric vehicle infrastructure throughout Oregon. Agree
Comments (optional)
XIV. Abuse of Power
We support efforts to stipulate that corporations are not people, and money is not speech. Agree
We call for responding to drug addiction with treatment not imprisonment. Agree
We support legislation holding law enforcement personnel liable for inflicting harm through the use of excessive force. Agree
Comments (optional)