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She edges Republican Mike Erickson; Oregon now has four women in Congress, three of them newcomers.

PMG FILE PHOTO: PETER WONG - Andrea Salinas at a Sept. 8 event of Willamete Women Democrats. The three-term Democratic state representative from Lake Oswego edged Republican Mike Erickson, a businessman from Lake Oswego, for Oregon's new 6th District seat in the U.S. House. The Associated Press called the race for Salinas on Monday night, Nov. 14.Democrat Andrea Salinas of Lake Oswego has claimed victory for Oregon's new 6th District seat in the U.S. House.

Her race against Republican Mike Erickson, also of Lake Oswego, was the final congressional seat to be called by The Associated Press. With more than 260,000 ballots counted as of Tuesday morning, Nov. 15, Salinas led Erickson, 50% to 47.6%; Constitution Party candidate Larry McFarland accounted for 2.3%. Unofficial final counts are due Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Her statement Monday night, Nov. 14:

"My dad came to the United States from Mexico in 1950 and worked in the fields picking cotton and tomatoes before he was in the first grade. It's my family's story that made me believe change is possible in a single generation — but only if we work for it.

"I can't promise that change will come easily," Salinas added. "But I can promise that no matter who you voted for or what lies ahead, I will be your champion — always. It's the honor of my lifetime to be your congresswoman-elect."

Oregon gained a sixth seat in the U.S. House after the 2020 Census. The 6th extends from parts of Clackamas and Washington counties south into Yamhill and Polk counties, and the part of Marion County that includes Salem, Keizer and Woodburn.

Salinas and Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer of Happy Valley in the neighboring 5th District are the first two Latina representatives elected from Oregon. They are in addition to Rep. Suzanne Bonamici of Beaverton, who easily won a sixth full term in the 1st District, and Val Hoyle of Springfield, who won the 4th District seat being vacated by Democrat Peter DeFazio after 36 years.

It will be the first time that Oregon will have four women in its congressional delegation. The other times Oregon had more than one woman were from late 1960 through 1966 — when Rep. Edith Green was joined by Sen. Maurine Neuberger, still the only woman elected to the Senate from Oregon — and Reps. Elizabeth Furse of Hillsboro and Darlene Hooley of West Linn from 1997 to 1999. Furse's final term coincided with Hooley's first term.

Salinas, 52, was a lobbyist for Local 503 of Service Employees International Union when she was appointed to the Oregon House seat vacated by Ann Lininger upon appointment to a Clackamas County circuit judgeship in 2017. Salinas was elected in 2018 and 2020.

She led the House Health Care Committee (2019-20) and was majority whip, the third-ranking leadership spot. She was one of the prime advocates for 2022 legislation instituting overtime pay for farmworkers, and for 2017 legislation protecting reproductive rights.

"I know how to work with industry and advocates, and I know how to get things done," she said.

Salinas was an intern for California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and an aide to three other members of Congress — Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, California Rep. Pete Stark and Oregon Rep. Darlene Hooley.

Erickson, a businessman and shipping consultant from Lake Oswego, was making his third bid for Congress. He was the losing Republican nominee in the 5th District to Hooley in 2006 and to Democrat Kurt Schrader of Canby in 2008.

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