It was a plastic straw that broke the proverbial camel's back and led to a small business owner and community volunteer deciding to run for public office.
Amelia Salvador had been kicking around the idea of running for public office for a few years. It wasn't until the state ban on plastic straws, however, that she took the plunge. The ban didn't make sense to Salvador, who believes laws should be practical and enforceable.
"There wasn't any clear reason why plastic straws were such a priority at our State Legislature," she said. "Especially considering all the heaps of plastic tarps, garbage and syringes that litter our streets. That was absolutely the last straw for me."
Now she is the Republican candidate for the soon-to-be vacant House District 50 seat, with a goal of bringing balance back to government. She ran unopposed in her primary.
"As a native Oregonian, I believe continuing to live in Oregon is worth fighting for," Salvador said. "Not only for my own family but for all in Gresham."
Salvador serves on the advisory and budget committees for the Gresham Redevelopment Commission and was appointed to the Charter Review Committee for the city of Gresham. She was the manager of the Gresham Farmers Market and is coordinator of The Portland Immigrant Statue and Award. She is also a charter board member of the Historic Parkrose-Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative.
Salvador is a commercial real estate broker who also runs a small business specializing in marketing/brand-development as well as specialty event design work. She attended Reynolds High School and was born and raised in east Portland.
"I'm frustrated with the partisanship and believe we need change," Salvador wrote. "We live in the beautiful state of Oregon and I will advocate for better livability for all our citizens and community of East County."
She is a mother to five grown children and one grandchild.
"My family deserves a better Oregon," Salvador said.
Affordability is something affecting everyone in East Multnomah County, and Salvador has felt the negative effects of an unexpected spike in bills.
She even considered moving out of the state when her grocery costs jumped. But she decided to stay and do something about it.
"I will not allow the trickle effects of over-taxation to affect our daily living expenses," Salvador said. "I will fight to keep the basic essentials of gas and groceries affordable."
Her campaign goals and strategies range across the board.
One issue that she said has spiraled out of control is the homeless crisis in the region, comparing living in the Portland-metro area to that of a third-world country. She wants to address drug addiction and mental health problems that have pushed us to this point by forming a statewide task force.
"Everyone comes from somewhere, and I believe reconnecting homeless citizens with their families is an important first step in resolving some of the crisis," she said.
Bolstering economic development is important to Salvador. She wants to revitalize the local economy by keeping storefronts vibrant and filling vacancies, which leads to more affordable housing and living-wage jobs.
When she managed the farmers market, Salvador gained experience working in close proximity to a diverse mix of small business owners. A key component is shopping local first.
Salvador also stressed the importance of uplifting businesses and communities through the pandemic.
"We need to continue to be practical," she said. "Social distancing and masks are no fun at all, but they've allowed us to have some sense of normalcy again."
Salvador would advocate for extending business hours back to where they were pre-COVID; plan ahead for colder-weather and the inability to dine outdoors; and create an opt-in hybrid option for in-person and online schooling for kids.
She wants more transparency; an end to the violence and destruction in Portland; and keep people living in East Multnomah County.
Part of that would include reducing the amount of taxation Gresham residents face. She said the solution isn't to seek more money from tax payers to solve financial issues, but instead to properly allocate and balance the funds already being received.
Salvador wants a more efficient checks and balance system in Salem, and she said she can be the one to offer that balance.
"My goal as a representative is to under-promise and over-deliver," Salvador said. "I'm a real person from the community and hope to earn the trust and vote of my fellow community members."
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