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Council Position 6 challenger to bring government to working class, support children

COURTESY PHOTO: GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOL DISTRICT - Amanda Orozco-BeachA Gresham-Barlow School Board member is looking to bring her ideas and passion to City Hall.

Amanda Orozco-Beach, 34, is running for Council Position 6 against incumbent Janine Gladfelter in the upcoming November general election. Orozco-Beach is a legislative assistant to Rep. Ricki Ruiz, D-Gresham, where she helps people break through bureaucracy found in state government.

She was elected to the school board, and is active with nonprofit organizations like Play Grow Learn, Latino Network, and East County Rising.

The Outlook reached out to all of the candidates running in the November general election. Here are Orozco-Beach's responses, edited for space:

Outlook: Why are you running for Gresham City Council?

Orozco-Beach: "While serving working families, teachers and students on the Gresham-Barlow School Board has been rewarding, I feel a deep calling to do more for our community. My work at the State Legislature gives me a perspective on government that we don't currently have on the City Council. I know we need to work toward a more prosperous city for future generations."

O: What solutions do you have for public safety?

O-B: "We can try to do more with less, (which) means investing in the future. Making sure kids don't turn to crime, there are good opportunities for youth, and our schools and local economy provide (options) that it doesn't make sense to turn to drugs or crime. We (can also) raise revenue to create additional funding for our emergency services. This allows us to better fund our police and fire departments and make sure they have the support they need to keep our city safe."

O: How concerned are you with historic levels of crime?

O-B: "Gun violence has made some of my friends move out of East County to Beaverton. Inflation is at an all-time high while the wages stay low causing desperate people to turn to crime. Kids are being brought into a world where they feel like their voices do not matter and little to no support is being given. We need a collaborative approach that works with law enforcement, invests in our families, invests in our young people and gets at the root causes of violent crime."

O: How would you support the business community?

O-B: "I would work with the city to encourage more diversity and innovation with our citizens to create their own businesses. I want to reach out to our immigrant and BIPOC communities to encourage them to create their own businesses to bring more culture to Gresham. While the City of Gresham working with MESO (Micro Entrepreneur Services of Oregon) does a lot of good with Rockwood Market Hall, we need to follow up with these businesses to make sure that they have the support they need."

O: Do you have ideas to bolster parks and youth recreation?

O-B: "One of the first things I would do is set meetings with stakeholders in our community to strategize bettering our parks. The city also needs to work on having a parks district to elect leaders (along with a fire district) so we can have (electeds) who are passionate about these topics and focus solely on bettering our city. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work plays a part to make sure we are reaching out to diverse populations in the area."

O: What needs to be done around homelessness and livability?

O-B: "The number one cause of these issues is poverty. We need more family wage jobs to match the increasing cost of living. We need more mental health and rehab services for people who have found themselves in these unfortunate circumstances. Corporations also need to stop buying up residential property, halting future generations from owning property for their family. We need to be coordinating with other cities and with the state to solve this problem, none of us can solve it alone."

O: What other issues are important to you?

O-B: "Environmental and water issues are very important to me, especially right now as the planet is facing a global drought. (DEI) is also important. It's important for our local government to take this work seriously and listen to (residents) from all walks of life. Finally there are a lot of reports coming out that Oregon is going to have another major recession in 2023, which Oregon families are not prepared for. We need to work together at the state and local level to support our fellow Oregonians."

O: What sets you apart from the other candidate?

O-B: "I can offer my life experience as a new young mother to a three month old daughter. I am married to a disabled combat veteran and purple heart recipient. I grew up as a woman of color to a single mother in homogenized communities with no support outside of the public school system (and worked) most of my life as a server, bartender, or barista. I have fought for everything I have in my life and am ready to fight for working people in Gresham."

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