In running for Lake Oswego City Council, Katherine Lupton, 33, hopes to be a voice for young families with busy lives and little time to run for office.
Lupton has filed her candidacy in a race for three open council seats — with Councilor Daniel Nguyen running for the state legislature and Councilor Jackie Manz not allowed to run for reelection due to term limits, while Council President John Wendland is running for a second term in his seat. Former councilor Jeff Gudman and Charles Bryan have also filed candidacies.
Lupton grew up in Salem and was the child of teachers. She then decided to become one herself, educating kids in Spain and Baltimore public schools while also earning a Master of Science in education from Johns Hopkins University. Now, she develops curriculum for Spanish-language classrooms through her business The Immersive Classroom.
"I think my experience in teaching has really prepared me well for being part of local government. Teaching, as any high school teacher would understand, takes a lot of organization, willpower and leadership skills to lead five classrooms of 35 kids every day. I think I bring those skills to the table," Lupton said. "Also being a parent of young children is another skillset that is very valuable."
Lupton was inspired to run for office during the pandemic as she navigated raising two young children. She believes there are not enough local support systems for parents. A couple amenities she would hope to advocate for include drop-in play centers for children 5 years old and under, prenatal classes and postpartum support groups.
"There's a lot of things that could be run through the city to make the city a welcoming place for parents of young kids and parents of older kids as well," she said.
Further, Lupton said she hopes to focus on providing improved pedestrian pathways in the community, though she acknowledged that the city currently has a pathway improvement program in the works.
"There are key areas where my family and I can't walk safely to grocery store, the bank — places we need to access. I would like to have a hand in local government to get those pathways safer for all pedestrians," she said.
Along with her career, Lupton co-founded the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation of Oregon and is a part of the group Mothers of Preschoolers. Regarding her lack of government experience, she said you have to start somewhere and noted the barriers that young women and parents face while running for local office.
"I think that we need more officials who are able to represent big parts of the population that don't necessarily get to speak in the city, and for me that's parents of young children I think I can represent," she said.
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