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City employee, Rockwood native, vies for Oregon Legislature opening in 2020

PMG FILE PHOTO - Ricki Ruiz celebrated the opening of a new futsal at Wilkes Elementary School with Reynolds Superintendent Danna Diaz and fellow board member Valerie Tewksbury. A Reynolds School Board member and longtime Gresham resident has declared his candidacy for the soon-to-be vacant House District 50 seat.

Ricki Ruiz announced his intent to run Wednesday, Nov. 13, for the position that represents Gresham, including the Rockwood neighborhood where he grew up. Ruiz is currently the Community Services Coordinator for the city of Gresham.

His stated priorities would be to push for stronger education resources, housing affordability, public safety, healthcare, environmental justice and the overall quality of life for East Multnomah County residents. He is running as a member of the Democratic Party.

"It's an honor to go to work every day and help improve the lives of our Gresham residents," Ruiz said. "I'm grateful for the support the community has shown me as they encouraged me to step up and run for State Representative."

Attention turned to House District 50 after current Rep. Carla Piluso, D-Gresham, announced earlier this week she was not running for re-election in 2020. Piluso was elected to the seat in 2014 and served three terms after more than 30 years working in law enforcement.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Ricki RuizIn 2014, Ruiz co-founded the Rockwood Initiative, an organization focused on community development in the Rockwood Neighborhood. One of the group's accomplishments was the creation of mini-futsal pitches that drew community praise and serve more than 10,000 youth and families.

For the city, he oversees Gresham's Neighborhood Watch Program, the Youth Recreation Programming and co-advises the Youth Advisory Council.

"I'm determined to work hard and win this campaign," Ruiz said. "I then plan to work even harder to give Gresham and East County a voice in our state's Capitol."

In 2017, Ruiz was elected to the Reynolds School Board and was successfully re-elected in 2019. As a school board member, he has prioritized the voices of students and teachers. Classroom visits have been at the top of his to-do list.

"Ricki is a bold and effective leader we need and I am elated to endorse his campaign," said Reynolds School District Board Chair Yesenia Delgado. "He knows what makes this district thrive and has experience collaborating to build the community, create sound public policy, and apply strategic plans to get things done."

Ruiz received his bachelor's of science degree in social entrepreneurship at Warner Pacific University in Portland.

He lives in Gresham and in his spare time trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


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