Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Hotel broker and political activist is one of four Democrats running May 19 to succeed Jeff Barker.

COURTESY RAMAN VELJI - Raman Velji of Beaverton seeks the Democratic nomination in the May 19 primary for the open House District 28 seat.Raman Velji of Beaverton, who has been a political activist in Oregon and his native Fiji, seeks election in his own right to the open District 28 seat in the Oregon House.

"I want to be the voice of people of color and the disadvantaged," he said in a statement.

He is one of four candidates who seek the Democratic nomination in the May 19 primary in District 28, which stretches west from west Beaverton into Aloha and Reedville. Jeff Barker of Aloha, the 18-year Democratic incumbent, is retiring.

Velji, 68, has been chief executive of Pacific Hotel Brokers since he returned to Oregon in 2019 after eight years back in Fiji. He said the company is registered in Fiji, but plans to re-register it in Oregon. He has three grown children who attended schools in Beaverton and Tigard.

He hopes to be the first Indian-American elected to the Oregon Legislature. He was the losing Democratic nominee in 2000 against Republican Rep. Max Williams of Tigard, who won 71% in a second-term bid.

He came to Oregon in 1980 after he left Fiji and worked for four years in the hospitality industry in Atlanta.

He worked on Jesse Jackson's presidential bids in 1984 and 1988 — and for Michael Dukakis after the Massachusetts governor became the party's presidential nominee in 1988 — and on Bill Clinton's two successful presidential runs in 1992 and 1996.

He also was chair of the 1st Congressional District Democratic Party committee. He is the current vice chair of the Asian American Pacific Islander caucus within the Democratic Party of Oregon and is a delegate to the Democratic State Central Committee.

On his campaign website, Velji said that among his priorities are actions aimed at reducing greenhouse gases — Pacific island nations such as Fiji are endangered by climate change — and boosting public education in Oregon.

He also seeks recognition of the struggles that immigrants and refugees face.

He also lists gun regulation as a priority.

"We must work together to change the status quo and make sensible gun laws," he said. "We need to close loopholes that make our communities vulnerable. We must have background checks on everyone that intends to purchase a gun. I call for a complete ban on assault weapons in the state of Oregon."

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