Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal is the only board member not seeking the county chair position.

CAMPAIGN PHOTO - Mutlnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal is seeking a second term on the county board. Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal is ready for round two — she's running for re-election next May.

The first-term elected official, whose district covers North and Northeast Portland above Interstate 84 to Gresham city limits near 162nd Avenue, will be the only sitting member of the council not jousting for the chair's seat.

"I ran for this office because the county is our safety net provider," said Commissioner Jayapal. "It was clear then, and even more so now, that our work is critical to the success and wellbeing of our region and our state."

In a campaign announcement, Commissioner Jayapal said her priorities if reelected include working with urgency on climate issues, tackling community violence, moving more homeless people from the streets to permanent housing and creating economic resilience programs such as debt reduction, asset building and "unconditional cash transfers."

With current Chair Deborah Kafoury timed out by term limits, her colleagues. Commissioners Sharon Meieran, Jessica Vega Pederson and Lori Stegmann are each running to be the county's chief executive.

Born in India and arriving in the U.S. at age 16 for college, Jayapal is the younger sister of Seattle, Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who frequently makes the national news as the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Commissioner Jayapal, a former attorney, was first elected after earning 61% of the vote in a four-way race in May 2020. Her political campaign committee has about $14,300 on hand at present, state records report.

"The pandemic so clearly showed us the consequences of systemic injustice and inequality — and it showed us, in very concrete ways, that our individual well-being depends on our collective well-being," said Commissioner Jayapal. "I am committed to applying these lessons to create the future we want for all of our residents."

Zane Sparling
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