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The freshman legislator and pediatrician says she will move to Washington County, sidestepping a potential primary.

COURTESY - Lisa Reynolds

As she described it Monday, Nov. 8, when she announced her plans for 2022, state Rep. Lisa Reynolds, D-Portland, is running for re-election in the district of her patients.

The pediatrician and freshman state representative from Northwest Portland, who currently represents House District 36, announced on social media Monday that she is running in newly drawn House District 34. That move avoids a Democratic primary matchup with her current legislative neighbor and fellow doctor, Rep. Maxine Dexter, after they were drawn into the same district in September's redistricting.

The newly drawn HD 34 encompasses a large chunk of unincorporated eastern Washington County, including Bethany, Oak Hills, Terra Linda, Cedar Mill and Bonny Slope.

Reynolds noted in her campaign announcement that she has been caring for patients in the area for the last two decades.

"In my exam room, I see what is working and not working for Oregon's children and their families," she said in her announcement. "It's this understanding that informs all that I do as a state representative in Salem.

Reynolds told Pamplin Media Group that being drawn into the same district as Dexter, who she considers a personal friend, prompted her to seek another district in which to run in 2022. That's when it dawned on her to move near her practice and where her patients live: eastern Washington County.

"I am just so grateful that it worked out to be this way, and I think this is actually probably a better fit for me," said Reynolds, who just moved to Oak Hills from Portland's Alphabet District in early November. "I think more people probably know me in House District 34 than know me in my current district."

She doesn't mean as a policymaker, Reynolds clarified — she means as "Dr. Lisa."

As "Dr. Lisa," Reynolds was an advocate for Washington County's recent ban on flavored tobacco products. Reynolds has also worked with the Beaverton School District in the past to advocate for LGBTQ students.

"I've already been kind of doing the work in this district, as a pediatrician," she said. "It just feels like this really nice synergy that I'll be doing the legislative part of it, too, in a year."

Reynolds will have to win her party's nomination and the general election.

She won't face any opposition from the current representative from HD 34. Rep. Ken Helm, D-Beaverton, plans to run in House District 27, a more Beaverton-centric district.

Democrats hold a big advantage in HD 34 and other suburban districts on Portland's Westside, where they significantly outnumber Republicans by voter registration. The district Reynolds hopes to represent is not expected to be competitive in the general election.

Reynolds defeated Republican James Ball in the current version of HD 36 by a 66-point margin last November. Helm ran unopposed in the current version of HD 34.

Reynolds has already earned the support of several of her Democratic colleagues, including Dexter, Helm, Rep. Dacia Grayber and Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward.

Reynolds has also received endorsements from several Washington County elected officials, including County Chair Kathryn Harrington of Beaverton, County Commissioner Pam Treece of Portland, and County Commissioner Nafisa Fai of Aloha.

Reynolds likes to apply her science background to her work as a representative and communicator.

??"This is what I do, actually — I take science, and I distill it down, and I explain it to people," she said. "And whether it's talking about an ear infection, or the importance of the MMR vaccine, that's what I do."

Reynolds takes the same approach to social inequities, remarking, "I have realized over the past 10 to 15 years … that the deck is stacked against some people. And until everyone can be whoever they want to be, I'm not going to rest."

Correction: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story misstated the first name of the Republican candidate Lisa Reynolds defeated in 2020. His name is James Ball. The story has been corrected.

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