If you read here regularly, it's pretty clear that my best fantasy would be a future with many, many more educated Democratic women in public office. Not a surprise then that I was pleased when Eileen Brady, a newcomer to Oregon politics declared her run for Portland Mayor a year ago.
Today was the last day of the primary. If you waited this long to do it--and many did just that--it was necessary to deliver your ballot to one of the special mailboxes around town. We waited till yesterday. I still do not like voting by mail (unless one has a serious handicap or is out of town). Something is lost in a democracy when we no longer stand in line with our neighbors, catch them between textings, hear their hopes and disappointments for the City's future.
Enthusiastic at the outset, I'm pleased to have had the chance to introduce Eileen at our retirement community early in her campaign. Like many others, I've found electioneering on a national level wearing. I'm sure that has bled over into peoples' attitudes about local races. It must be exhausting for the Portland mayoral candidates though they have been quite polite with one another. Out of the 23 who ultimately entered the race (not a typo), there are two other Democrats, men, who are running close to Eileen.
Over time I have spoken with her again, heard her improve in presenting her case at a campaign event halfway along. Talking her mother, Sue, who'd been very active in suburban Chicago community politics, was a reflection of my own influence on my daughter's trajectory.
Is she the perfect candidate? Do I agree with her about all-things- Portland? Am I being an essentialist feminist (25 pages in this link) in supporting her? No, no, and possibly. At the moment the idea of a Democratic woman who successfully managed single motherhood early in her life, who has been a partner to her second spouse in running a large food business with excellent values, who has put much energy into non-profits dealing with the environment and health...this is a woman who can learn things from those of us who have supported her. She could even be open to change.
And this is not the end. None of the three leading Democrats will get 50 percent so two of them face a runoff. Then the final election in November. If Eileen is not one of them, I hope she finds another avenue for her liberal politics and great energy.