I know what it's like to struggle and am running to ensure fairness, integrity and accountability for every Oregonian

Right now, Oregonians across our state are voting by mail. It's our chance to hold elected leaders accountable, decide important issues and express support for things we value. Oregon's Secretary of State is responsible for ensuring that vote-by-mail continues to work for all of us. I'm running for Secretary of State because I share in those beliefs of integrity, accountability and fairness for all Oregonians.

COURTESY PHOTO - Shemia Fagan is the 2020 Democratic candidate for Oregon Secretary of StateI was raised in rural Oregon by a single dad. My brothers and I knew what it was like to struggle.

While my dad and I shared very different political beliefs, he exemplified the Oregon values that I think we all have in common: the importance of family, hard work and caring for our communities. He inspired me to stand up for other people who don't have an advocate. That's why I became a civil rights lawyer and ultimately ran for the David Douglas School Board, the Oregon House of Representatives and the Oregon Senate.

In my work, I have dedicated my career to advocating for other families like mine — Oregonians trying to take care of their families and make ends meet. But I also fight for people like my mom: people experiencing illness, addiction or poverty. I'm an advocate for Oregon's schools because I know what it is to be a kid struggling at school and at home. A public school teacher changed my life and gave me the opportunity to succeed, and I know that is a lifeline for many Oregonians.

As Secretary of State, I will continue to make sure that our government works for working Oregonians. That includes a commitment to holding state agencies accountable. This year, Oregonians who lost their jobs to COVID were left waiting months for assistance. That's why I will audit the Employment Department so we can all understand that failure and make sure it never happens again.

The pandemic has left many hardworking people and small businesses struggling and without a lifeline. Today, unemployment in Oregon is at 8%. As Secretary of State, I will be in their corner every day, ensuring our tax dollars are invested where Oregon families and small businesses need them most. That's why, as a lawmaker, I helped pass a paid sick leave bill, fought for equal pay for equal work, created the Office of Small Business Assistance and worked for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during COVID-19.

The right to vote is not and should not be a partisan issue. And yet, The Trump administration has launched unprecedented attacks on our vote-by-mail system. Oregon's system is one of the most safe and secure in the country. In fact, it is the standard that many other states admire and are trying to follow. As Secretary of State, I will protect Oregon's elections from misinformation, partisanship and cyberattacks. And I will continue the work to help other states seeking to follow our lead.

I stood up to my own party when I believed it necessary because I will never stop fighting for working Oregonians. I have dedicated my life to ensuring that children growing up without much, like I did, have the opportunity to get ahead and reach for their dreams. I'm running for Secretary of State to ensure fairness, integrity and accountability for every Oregonian because that's what our state deserves.

State Sen. Shemia Fagan is the Democratic candidate for Oregon Secretary of State. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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