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Taylor knocks out Barnes in early returns

Based on preliminary election results, Southeast Portland resident Kathleen Taylor will represent District 41 in the Oregon House of Representatives.

Unless Republican Tim McMenamin surprises the heavily Democratic district, Taylor will replace eight-term incumbent Carolyn Tomei of Milwaukie, who decided not to run for re-election. The district includes Oak Grove, Milwaukie and Southeast Portland.

“I’m so excited right now. Voters placed trust in me to be their next representative, and I’m excited to tackle issues facing Oregon,” Taylor said.

So far, Taylor has won 60.8 percent of the vote, defeating North Clackamas School District media instructor Deborah Barnes of Milwaukie, who has garnered 32.4 percent of votes.

Taylor, who has two children enrolled in the Portland Public School system, is focused on bettering public schools and hopes to help restore a full school year. She also wants to increase workforce training and infrastructure so that Oregon businesses are better equipped to compete with businesses in other states. Additionally, she’s concerned with providing in-home care for seniors and protecting the environment.

“I’m excited to help protect the environment, improve education and get this economy going,” Taylor said.

Taylor received $25,000 in campaign contributions from New York investor Nathaniel Klipper. She also received $21,700 from various local political action committees including Local 48 Electricians PAC and Oregon Business Association PAC.

“I’m so grateful for the organizations, endorsements and donors. This is all a grassroots campaign. We ran the campaign out of my house,” Taylor said.

Taylor is a former auditor and served as an intern under Tomei for three years. She is also the current president of the Duniway School PTA and a board member of Emerge Oregon. In addition, she was an account executive for Boly:Welch. She received her masters in public policy from Rutgers University and a bachelor of arts from University of Wisconsin.

Taylor is the third Multnomah County Democrat to unseat a Clackamas County resident in the Oregon House of Representatives in the past two years. In 2012, Shemia Fagan replaced incumbent Republican Patrick Sheehan of Clackamas, and Jeff Reardon replaced incumbent Democrat Mike Schaufler of Happy Valley. Although she only won about 52 percent of the Clackamas County vote compared to 70 percent of the Multnomah County vote, Taylor was optimistic about bringing common interests together in Salem.

“When I volunteered for Tomei, I never heard of any division within the district. Folks are clearly behind me since they voted for me. We’re more alike than we are different,” Taylor said, adding: “We are all one together.”