As a mother with children in the Lake Oswego School District and a voice for the LGBTQ community, Lake Oswego resident Emma Burke wants to make sure the City Council represents a diverse array of people.
Burke is the first to announce her candidacy for the 2020 City Council race. There are three council seats up for grabs in November, as current Councilor Skip O'Neill's term is set to expire and Councilors John LaMotte and Theresa Kohlhoff have announced their candidacies for mayor.
Burke, owner of Seluna Dawn Massage, ran for a seat on the City Council in 2018 and lost.
"I've just fallen even more in love with the community," said Burke, adding that she lives in Mountain Park and would like to be a representative for that part of the community as well.
Burke grew up in Wenatchee, Washington and moved to Lake Oswego in 2007. She then moved away but returned in 2013 to raise her children in the LOSD.
"It reminds me a bit, at least size-wise, of the community I grew up in, in Central Washington," Burke said. "What I really love is that people are actually really concerned about each other in a good way."
Burke said Lake Oswego has a supportive environment that fosters genuine relationships.
Burke grew up as an LGBTQ youth "in the late '90s it wasn't something I was comfortable being out about," she said. "I don't want anyone to have to go through that."
Burke has been involved with diversity, equity and inclusion in Lake Oswego, both at the city level and the school level.
Since 2018, Burke has been a part of LOSD's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Committee and when the city formed the DEI Task Force in 2019, she jumped at that opportunity as well.
The city group is asked to look at how to increase minority participation by diversifying people on the city's boards, commissions and committees, and exploring how to reduce barriers for people applying for jobs at the city.
"I felt very compelled to work for this task force," Burke said. "It's been really interesting, because of the pandemic we're having to meet by Zoom ... If council and the mayor listen to our suggestions, then I think it will be a very worthwhile endeavor."
Burke has also been involved in several other volunteer roles including the Lake Oswego Moms' Club, Leadership LO — an educational program offered by the Lake Oswego Chamber of the Commerce for local community business leaders — and the Clackamas Women's Services Board of Directors as a public policy committee member where she helped pass Senate Bill 995 and House Bill 3293 (both bills related to survivors of sexual assault) during the 2019 legislative session.
"A way my candidacy might differ from the 2018 campaign is I strive to represent all Lake Oswego residents, and hope to honor the nonpartisan conduct that City Councilors are elected to perform. My political views don't fit into partisan ideology and I aim to help unite the divide that our community has felt from state and federal politics the last few years," Burke said. "All my top five leadership skills from Gallup's StrengthsFinder assessment are within the realm of strategic thinking and helping others connect so as city councilor, I'll bring a unique perspective to the role and help bridge the political divide so we can be even stronger as a community."
Click here for more information about Burke.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.