The Troutdale city councilor will focus on education, climate, health care and civil rights


After more than three years on the Troutdale City Council, Zach Hudson has set his sights on the Oregon House of Representatives. The Troutdale Democrat seeks to represent House District 49, replacing Chris Gorsek, who has made a Senate bid for the soon-to-be-vacant seat held by Sen. Laurie Monnes-Anderson

"I saw this as a great opportunity to fight for the people of our area in Salem," he said.

His focus is on education, health care, civil rights and protecting the environment.

"As a legislator I know I'm only going to be one of 60. I will be part of a team," he said.

The father of three teaches special education math at Reynolds High School. He has taught for 14 years at different schools including Gresham and Corbett high schools and Mt. Hood Community College. That experience gives him a special interest in education.

One example of an education initiative he's behind is the Student Success Act, a bill passed by the legislature in 2019 to boost graduation rates and student achievement.

"We want to make sure that gets implemented properly and used effectively," he said.

He's also interested in a bill being discussed that would increase civics education in schools.

Another proposal he'd back is one that would extend health care benefits for part-time college faculty.

The environment is another pressing issue for Hudson.

"Climate change is real. It's imperative that we act quickly to reduce carbon emissions," he said and decried the fact that in the spring Republicans in the state house walked out and did not address climate change bills.

Hudson, 41, also wants to "promote clean air and water and to develop energy sources that are healthy and sustainable."

With protests locally and across the country over racial justice issues, Hudson said "discrimination should have no place in Oregon." He vowed to work to "make sure people of all races, backgrounds, abilities, genders and identities have equal access and equal protection."

Staying connected to local governments is important to him and he points out that the 49th Legislative District covers Troutdale, Fairview, Wood Village, part of Gresham and a small part of Portland. He would also communicate with officials with Multnomah County and Metro regional government.

"We'll get the best results if we are all talking openly," Hudson said.

Hudson knows many local players. Prior to serving on Troutdale's City Council, Hudson spent five years on the city's Budget Committee and Citizen's Advisory Committee from 2011 to 2016.

He has also helped organize Troutdale's popular SummerFest. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, he and his oldest daughter volunteered weekly at the Multnomah County Animal Shelter.

When he's not teaching, working in government or volunteering, Hudson spends time with his family. He also plays banjo and fiddle and has played local gigs, sometimes with his dad, Jere. The duo collaborated on a children's book, "The Banjo."

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