Troutdale City Councilor Zach Hudson announced on Monday he will run for the Oregon House of Representatives District 49 seat that Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale, will leave open to pursue a 2020 run for a District 25 Senate bid.
Hudson, a Reynolds High School teacher elected to Troutdale council in 2016, said running for higher office is something he's "always wanted to do."
"It seemed like now is the time," Hudson told The Outlook on Monday afternoon, Nov. 18. "When Rep. Gorsek decided to run for the Senate in District 25, I was excited about the opportunity to step up and put my name in.
"Politics has always been one of my passions," he added, "and promoting issues I feel strongly in, including looking for ways to make government run better and be more responsive to people."
Gorsek filed with the Secretary of State's office in September to run for a Senate seat representing Fairview, Gresham, Troutdale and Wood Village that Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, has held since 2004. Monnes Anderson, a retired public health nurse, is not seeking re-election next year.
Hudson said he will not run for a second Troutdale City Council term in fall 2020 if he wins the May primary election.
"There are so many issues I'm passionate about: civil rights, campaign finance reform, electoral reform — many, many things," he said. "I've been working at the city level as a city councilor on things that are important to our community, but as a state representative it will be a whole different set of issses the state deals with that I will be excited to work on."
Gorsek said he will run for Senate as a champion for marginalized people and to support working families from the Legislature's upper chamber.
"I look at the impact that some of our more progressive senators are making and I believe I should put my shoulder to the wheel and do what I can to help these efforts," he said in September.
Hudson, who was a teaching colleague of Gorsek's at Mt. Hood Community College, said he's supported Gorsek's legislative positions and would likely continue championing similar issues if he reaches the Senate.
"Both of us are educators who believe strongly in the transformative power of education and believe in supporting it at the state level," Hudson noted. "Both of us definitely have the same priorities."
Based on filings with the Secretary of State's office, the only other candidate seeking the District 49 seat so far is Joe Demers, R-Gresham.
A native of Ashland, Ore., Hudson teaches special education and math at Reynolds High and served on the Troutdale Citizens Advisory Committee and Troutdale Budget Committee for six years before winning his council seat. He helped organize the Troutdale Summerfest event and volunteers at the Multnomah County Animal Shelter in Troutdale.
Hudson and his wife, Jenny, have two daughters, Aurelia, 13; Sophie, 11; and a son, Rhys, 8.
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