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From chairman to state representative?

by: CONNECTION FILE PHOTO: DREW DAKESSIAN - Ross.For the past several years, Moses Ross has been chairman of the Multnomah Neighborhood Association. But soon, he could have another title — state representative.

Ross is one of several Democrats who have thrown their names in the hat to replace Rep. Chris Garrett, D-Lake Oswego, who has vacated his post representing House District 38 to serve as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals.

“I had been pondering the decision to run in the regular election anyway, and this circumstance accelerated the decision,” said Ross, a single father and founder of a political telemarketing service for the Democratic Party.

His decision to enter the running was motivated by one thing above all:

“My desire to serve,” Ross said. “I feel I can make a difference in making people’s lives better in this House district where I live by listening to them, by being responsive to them, by being able to relate to them, by respecting them.”

Ross said his background experience also influenced his decision to submit himself for consideration.

“My role as the neighborhood chair of Multnomah for the last three years made me realize that communities feel neglected and unheard, and it takes the role of government is to be responsive to the people,” he said. “So I’m not professing to have all the answers to all the challenges of the district. I can’t say that, but what I can say is I’m firmly grounded. … My values … include listening and responding to the people that I serve and to use commonsense in coming up with solutions and not being stuck on political ideology.”

On Jan. 15, democrats representing precincts within House District 38 will choose three to five nominees to be submitted to the Clackamas County and Multnomah County boards of commissioners, who will then choose an appointment to the seat.

According to a memo hosted on the Democratic Party of Oregon website, “In multi-county districts, PCPs ("precint committee person") cast votes based on the number of registered Democrats in their county and the number of PCPs who show up to act as delegates.

If there are 12,000 registered Democrats in a county, and 50 PCPs attend the convention, each one would cast 240 votes. If 49 attend, each would cast 244 votes (the fractions are not used). The number of votes is set at the beginning of the convention, and not changed.

PCPs do not represent their own precincts, but represent the entire Democratic electorate in their portion of the district.”

Ross himself is a precinct committee member to Multnomah County, but said he will not recuse himself from the vote.

“This is my obligation as a precinct committee person: to vote (according to) my conscience on who I think would do the best job representing the district,” he said. “And I feel that’s me.”

Ross said he realizes he might not make it to the next round after voting next week or his name might not rise to the top if he does, but it will not affect his long-term aspirations.

“If I get the appointment, fantastic; they’re going to see more of me. If I do not get the appointment, they’re going to see more of me,” he said, explaining that should he be appointed to the seat now, he will have to campaign again in the May primary election, and if he is not, he still plans to campaign to capture the seat.

“And then after the primary, I’m sure the Republican Party will have a candidate and we’ll go from there, and we’re going to start this discussion and see what the people of House District 38 need and they’re looking for, desire in a representative,” he said.

Either way, Ross said, “It’s a privilege and a thrill for me to go out there.”