Rep. Anna Williams to retain House District 52 seat for second term
Rep. Anna Williams, D-Hood River, has won her re-election bid for House District 52, according to results of the 2020 election reported as of 11:37 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4.
"I feel pretty good about the results," Williams said. "I'm excited to continue on serving the district, (especially) in working for economic recovery and wildfire recovery. I feel like I was in the midst of a lot of work for the district, and I'm glad to get to continue that. I'm grateful for the support of this district, my family and the church ladies who've been bringing me meals this week. That support makes this all worth it."
House District 52, stretches from Hood River County to Gresham.
The Oregon Secretary of State is reporting incumbent Williams has 17,100 votes, or 52.25% of the vote.
Opponent Jeff Helfrich, R-Hood River, has 14,830 votes, or 45.31% of the vote.
Williams garnered the most support from Hood River County, where she has 8,019 votes to Helfrich's 4,204 votes.
In Clackamas and Multnomah counties, Williams is actually behind. In Clackamas County, Williams has 5,725 votes to Helfrich's 6,545 votes, and in Multnomah County, Williams has 3,356 votes to Helfrich's 4,081 votes.
According to the Oregon Secretary of State, 80.28% of votes have been reported statewide.
"I congratulate Rep. Williams on her victory," Helfrich said. "Running a campaign during a global pandemic has been truly a once in a lifetime challenge. We have had to figure out the new rules of the game as it went on. My team and I engaged with the people of House District 52, working toward a brighter vision for the state of Oregon. After 30 years of public service, I am going to turn toward a new chapter in my life - focusing on family and the needs of the people around me."
With this race has come a feeling of déjà vu for many in the district, as the same candidates competed for this seat in 2018.
Helfrich was appointed in December 2017 to complete the unexpired term vacated by Republican Mark Johnson, who resigned midterm to take a job as a business lobbyist. He was unseated by Williams in the November 2018 election.
Helfrich is a longtime public servant. He served on the Cascade Locks Planning Commission and City Council, the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District Board, in the Air Force during the Gulf War and as a Portland police sergeant.
Williams is an academic adviser for social work students at Simmons College and has taught in middle and high schools in the Hood River, North Wasco and Dufur School Districts.
Most of Williams' prior political experience was advocating for communities along the Columbia River Gorge with groups like Aging in the Gorge Alliance, a regional grassroots organization that campaigns for elder rights on topics of housing, food, transportation and caregiving, and with nonprofit groups, which focus on services for women, children and seniors, public health and education.
In her time in the House, she has sponsored multiple bills aimed at police reform and aid for children in unsafe conditions, and made agriculture a priority.
Currently, Williams is involved in taskforces aimed to help the district recover economically and also from the impacts of this year's wildfire season.
"We'll also continue to work on child safety issues," Williams said, adding that she and colleagues have been working to fund child advocacy centers, implement child abuse prevention curriculum in school districts across the state and more to promote child safety. "We're also looking at how we have different conversations on climate change and environmental responsibility (and) continuing to prioritize search and rescue funding."
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