John Dugger returns as Beaverton City Council candidate in 2022
John Dugger is once again running for Beaverton City Council, this time with a fresh strategy and endorsements from councilors he once challenged.
Dugger joins two other non-incumbents in announcing their bid for Beaverton City Council. Last November, Kevin Teater, who also serves on Beaverton's planning commission, announced his candidacy for Position 2, which is currently held by Laura Mitchell. Earlier this year, local chiropractor and diversity advisory board Edward Kimmi announced his bid for Position 3 following Mark Fagin's resignation.
Dugger moved to Beaverton in 2005 with his husband, Quinn. He's worked at Nike since 2019, and before that, he worked in healthcare management at the Mayo Clinic, Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, and Cambia Health Solutions.
Since moving to Beaverton, Dugger has been actively involved in several city boards and has co-founded both Pride Beaverton and the neighborhood charity Highland Helpers.
Dugger is seeking Position 5, currently held by Council President Marc San Soucie, whose term expires at the end of this year. He previously sought Position 3 in 2020, which was then held by Fagin.
Now, both Fagin and San Soucie are endorsing Dugger.
Fagin said he always respected Dugger, even when they were on opposite ends of the charter debate.
"John is someone who cares about our community. I respected the way he ran his campaign. It was positive, and he didn't go negative," Fagin said "We disagreed on a couple of things, like the charter change. But in general, I think John's a good person who's trying to work hard for the community, and we need people like that. So it was not very difficult at all for me to endorse him."
Dugger said the level of professionalism exhibited by members of the council is something he enjoys about local politics.
"That says a really important story right here in Beaverton," Dugger said. "Although we don't agree on everything, we can actually be kind to each other and form that relationship, even though we ran against each other the last time."
Just like in 2020, Dugger is using a neighborhood-centric approach for this campaign, building a platform around his "Hometown Beaverton" plan. The plan addresses a number of issues facing Beaverton through an "inclusive, sustainable and transparent" governance.
Dugger, who is originally from a small town outside Jacksonville, Florida, carries with him the small-town ethos of relationship-building.
"I feel like most of our problems in society can be overcome by just getting to know people and getting to understand who they are and their motivations," he said.
In 2020, Dugger was one of the leading critics of Beaverton's recent charter change, when Beaverton changed from a "strong mayor" system to council-manager. Fagin and San Soucie were vocal advocates of that new charter and the push to get it onto the May 2020 ballot, which Dugger opposed.
Voters narrowly approved the charter, which brought Beaverton's form of government closer into line with neighbors like Hillsboro and Tigard. Those cities have long had council-manager systems, in which the mayor is elected citywide and presides over the city council, but the city manager — who is hired by and reports to the elected council — is the city's top administrator and directly supervises the heads of municipal departments, such as the police chief and the community services director.
Dugger says now that he was never against the charter change itself, but rather what he believes was a lack of public engagement during the charter review.
"I think on some level, it's probably something that's a good change," Dugger said of the new charter. "I still think that it was a bit of a misstep without that heavy transparent public engagement process."
Now that the charter debate is over, Dugger is ready to move forward.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on his 2020 campaign. Running against an incumbent when knocking on doors was out of the question, Dugger said, and contending with homophobia on social media was also a challenge, even in socially conscious, politically liberal Beaverton.
"I had to wait for the right time (to run again), and I feel like now is the right time," Dugger said. "I'm ready to get out there and tell my story and share my passion for this community."
As current chair of Beaverton's budget committee, Dugger is especially concerned about the city's general fund since the economic fallout of the pandemic.
"We had to dip into the reserve fund, and we had always had a pretty substantial reserve and we had to spend a good portion of it," he said. "So I think short-term, that's going to be our biggest issue in the next budget cycle."
Transparency with the community is also a key issue Dugger hopes to improve. He points to how Beaverton advertises the availability of pandemic aid for local businesses.
"We should publish the rules. We should publish who's going to be making the decisions," Dugger said. "I want transparency with all this stuff, because I don't want businesses and residents to say, 'Oh, there goes the city just passing out money to people that are already connected.' That's the absolute worst thing we could do."
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