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'Now is the time to vote for the best team of five to build Portland forward. Please join me in voting for Dan Ryan for Portland City Council.'

PMG FILE PHOTO - Commissioner Jo Ann HardestyWe are living through unprecedented and historic times that have pushed our city to the brink and brought systems in crisis and a long-overdue crisis of consciousness. COVID-19 is a random act of nature that we couldn't have predicted this time last year or the year before that. The death of George Floyd was sadly completely predictable, aside from his name and hometown. Black Americans have lived for centuries knowing that we or someone in our family or our community could be and would be killed with impunity just for the color of our skin.

The reason I chose to live in and serve the city of Portland for the last 30-some years is that I know we can be better. And as difficult as times like these are, they also present us with an incredible opportunity to make long-overdue systemic changes that will make Portland a stronger, more just and equitable city where we all can thrive. And if we do it well, we will also grow to truly see each other, revel in our diversity and individual talents, and value each other as neighbors and colleagues.

Many of the decisions and responsibilities for creating a brighter future for all Portlanders are going to rest on the shoulders of the Portland City Council in the next two years. That is not to say that we aren't going to need your help, support and advocacy. We will. But the four commissioners and the mayor are tasked with the job of running, and now of reforming our city.

There is an election in just a few weeks — Aug. 11 — to replace a real Portland champion, our friend and colleague, the late Commissioner Nick Fish. One of Nick's strongest attributes was his genuine love and care for our city and his ability to be a bridge-builder and bring us together to focus on our common goals, instead of our individual differences. We need that more than ever right now.

That is why I am supporting Dan Ryan to be our next Portland City Councilor. Dan has worked on equity and educational opportunity for our children for decades here in Portland. And he has been successful because of his ability to get disparate stakeholders to the table and get them to focus on problem-solving, playing to their strengths, and their common goals while maintaining an atmosphere of respect and care for all. Doesn't that sound like a skill set Portland can use some more of?

Now is the time to vote for the best team of five to build Portland forward. Please join me in voting for Dan Ryan for Portland City Council.

Jo Ann Hardesty is a Portland City Commissioner.


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