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Education professor is a Democratic candidate for the position Mitch Greenlick is vacating.

COURTESY ANDY SAULTZ - Andy Saultz of Cedar Mill, an education professor at Pacific University, seeks the Democratic nomination for the open House District 33 seat in the May 19 primary.As an education professor at Pacific University, Andy Saultz says it's no surprise education tops his list of priorities if he is elected to the open District 33 seat in the Oregon House.

But Saultz, who grew up in Cedar Mill, also says those priorities include action on housing, homelessness and climate change.

"Oregon's economic future depends on strengthening our public education system," he said in a statement.

While the 2019 Legislature pumped $1 billion more annually into public schools through a new commercial activity tax, he said, "it is more important than ever that we think critically about how to invest those dollars, and other ways we need to support students outside of the classroom. Stable families, access to shelter, food, and health care all affect how well kids perform in school."

As for climate change, he said, "we need a state to step up and implement a model climate plan that other states can look to."

Saultz, 37, is an assistant professor at director of the doctorate program in education and leadership at Pacific University. He is married to Jenny Saultz — they dated while both were at Sunset High School — and have two young sons who are being raised in the same neighborhood they grew up in.

He is one of four candidates for the Democratic nomination in the May 19 primary in District 33, which extends west from Northwest Portland to the unincorporated communities of Bethany and Cedar Mill, and is the only one who lives in Washington County. Mitch Greenlick of Portland, the 18-year Democratic incumbent, is retiring.

Saultz earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 2005 from Oregon State University, a master's in teaching secondary social studies in 2007 from Lewis & Clark College, and a doctorate in educational policy in 2014 from Michigan State University. He has taught high school in Okemos, Mich., and was on its school board afterward in 2010 and 2011. He also taught at Michigan State and Miami University of Ohio before he got his current job in 2018.

He said he is proudest of his service on the Okemos, Mich., school board in resisting privatization efforts by Betsy DeVos, who was prominent in Michigan's school-choice movement before President Donald Trump named her U.S. education secretary in 2017.

In addition to more state aid to community colleges and state universities, Saultz said, "as a freshman legislator, my expertise in education policy will be an asset and help us capitalize on this unique opportunity to help our children succeed."

Saultz says he is a housing-first advocate, although housing must be coupled with supportive services.

"We need to invest in long-term affordable housing options, ensuring that there are enough affordable and free units so that everyone regardless of income level has shelter," he said. "We also need better and more accessible mental health care and addiction treatment."

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