Shemia Fagan

Secretary of State

Growing up in and out of poverty and homelessness in Dufur and The Dalles, Shemia Fagan’s life was fundamentally changed when her 4th-grade teacher took her under his wing. After putting herself through college and law school, Shemia has dedicated her career to ensuring that the path out of poverty exists for every Oregonian.

As a school board member, in the state House and Senate, and as a civil rights attorney, Shemia has been a fearless fighter for Oregon families. In Salem, Shemia has fought for increased education funding, fair housing solutions and increased access to health care for Oregonian. A proud mother of two, Shemia is running for Secretary of State to bring a fair Oregon within reach for her children – and ours.

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

Candidate statement (optional)

Basic Rights
Those fighting against racism and sexism need to see equality within reach. The fight to save our planet will only succeed if climate action is within reach. Whatever your fight: whether to end gun violence or for universal health care; for LGBTQIA equality or a just immigration system; for reproductive justice or workers’ rights; for income inequality or any other challenge facing your family – all require progress to be within reach.That’s what draws me into to race for Secretary of State — the job that puts progress within reach because of our faith in democracy. To make sure every Oregonian knows their voice, their actions, their ballot, can make a difference because, when democracy works, progress is always within reach.That is why I have earned the support of organizations like Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, PCUN Farmworkers and Latinx Working Families United, SEIU, AFSCME, Oregon AFL-CIO, the Oregon Education Association, and State Building Trades.

As a white, cis-gender, straight, able-bodied woman, I actively work to identify areas where I, my team, and the institutions I represent fall short in serving Oregon’s increasingly diverse population. It is work I am committed to both personally and professionally, and I know it will never be complete. I have made hiring diverse candidates a priority in my Senate office and on my campaign, building teams comprised largely of black, Latinx, and LGBTQ women, men, and non-binary individuals. As critical members of my team, I value the diversity of their lived experiences and respective contributions rooted in incredible talent. As Secretary of State, I will continue to hire with an equity lens and structure an Office of Equity within the Secretary of State Department.

Election Integrity & Legislative Alignment
I have an extensive record supporting expanded voter access to ensure that every eligible voter can confidently cast a ballot. As a Representative in the House, I worked closely with then-Secretary of State Kate Brown to lead the effort to pass automatic voter registration. And in the Senate, I championed the successful push for pre-paid postage on ballots, truly transforming every mailbox into a ballot box. That is proving to be an essential option amid our current public health concerns around COVID-19.As Secretary of State, I will work proactively to maintain and strengthen the integrity and accessibility of Oregon’s elections. I will develop and implement an election security master plan that previous and potential threats, oppose proposals that restrict ballot access, establish fair poll monitoring guidelines with a focus on equity, expand non-English language resources, improve data security systems in conjunction with the State CIO, and err on the side of transparency and usability when publishing public data and records.

And we must take seriously the threat misinformation plays in our elections, because if malicious forces want to undermine our elections, they only need to convince voters they hacked our system. I believe misinformation is voter suppression, and I will integrate the Office of Civic Education within the Elections Division to help voters spot such misinformation.

Labor & Worker Rights
I am proud to have championed reforms such as paid family leave, statewide rent stabilization, and I continue to fight for a prevailing living wage across the board. I hope our current challenges surrounding COVID-19 make it clear to everyone how critical front-line workers are to the systems we depend on every day — from healthcare, to education, to social services, and providing our food from seed to shelf. I have consistently supported hardworking Oregonians inside and outside the Legislature. I have joined them at pickets, represented them in my legal practice, and advocated for them throughout the state. I have fought to protect the contracts they have fought for, including actively and publicly retirement benefit cuts when even most of my party did not. We must keep our promises to Oregon’s working families.

Natural Resources Protection & Recovery
I am proud to have the support of environmental activists throughout Oregon, including the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. My record supporting bold climate action legislation such as SB 2020 last session and SB 1530 this one demonstrated my willingness to stand firm in fighting for our environment and communities, not just today but for generations well into the future. Additionally, I support efforts to protect natural resources and workers from harmful toxins and chemicals. As one of only three members of the Oregon Land Board, my role as Secretary of State will be to serve as a good steward of the state’s lands and natural resources. We can effectively manage those lands to provide protection, recreation, and projects that help Oregon grow sustainably.

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.
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.
Comments (optional)
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.

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.

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

I believe we must transition to net zero emissions as soon as possible. As a member of the State Land Board, I will serve in the interest of protecting the state’s lands and natural resources. We should always measure the environmental impacts of a project and the economic needs of communities, recognizing the long term impacts of this type of development.

I’m proud to have taken a pledge to not accept campaign donations from anyone in the fossil fuel industry. Not every opponent of mine can say the same thing.

Acting with long-term sustainability in mind, we can also work to bring jobs, wage growth, and economic development to communities throughout the state by permitting projects that provide economic development in high-need areas while minimizing environmental impact. I grew up in small towns in rural Oregon, and my two brothers are tradesmen living in Stanfield and Pendleton. We must recognize that fossil fuel development has historically been built with union labor, supporting families across the state. We must also require those same standards from transitional developers. I can’t tell my brothers that they can’t feed my nieces and nephews, but their kids will be able to breathe. That’s a false choice. I’m proud to have supported HB 2020 and SB 1530 that prioritized reducing carbon emissions and contained strong labor standards and remain committed to those values.

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)
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)
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.
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.
Comments (optional)
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)
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
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
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)
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.
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)
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)