Interview With Lacey Beaty – Endorsed Candidate For Beaverton Mayor
WCD: What inspired you to become a candidate?
LB: Sometimes people like to think it was a reaction to something, like the clouds parted or a bridge needed building or someone told you to run. But for me it was something I happened upon by chance. I joined the army right before 9/11 to pay for college and would have never dreamed that I would have found myself in the IRAQ War. During the Bush-Kerry election in 2004 one of the things I did was help people get and collect absentee ballots – I could not believe that I could have a direct impact on who would lead the military.
Leaving the army, where you have a clear purpose, can be difficult. A mentor suggested I find a way to serve again as a civilian, so I started to work on the Beaverton Community Visioning Advisory Committee. We talked to 8000 people to see what they wanted and 6 years later I knew I would have to run for office (city council) to make sure that vision came to life. Beaverton is an older city and I’m only the 13th woman ever elected. Fast forward another 6 years, we need someone who can look 20 years ahead and the mayor’s office would be an influential position from which to help make the community’s vision for Beaverton to come true.
WCD: That sounds great, we are lucky you are running. What kind of changes do you think are necessary to adapt to the changing demographics of Washington County?
LB: Beaverton is one of the most diverse cities in the Pacific Northwest, but elected officials don’t reflect that diversity. So it begs the question: What are the barriers to service? I think the pay for elected officials is a barrier. If we want people to serve before their retirement years, we need to pay a wage that reflects the responsibilities of the job. Another barrier – right now our city council meetings are 6:30pm on a Tuesday. I’m a mother. I now know why no 30- to 40-year-olds are coming to council meetings; anyone with young kids can’t go. So between the logistics and the small stipend, it’s hard for many people to make it work. I had to reduce my workload in my main job when I became a city councilor, but I’m lucky in that I’m part of a two-income household. Until there is change, it will be hard to allow people to serve.
WCD: What can we do here locally or in Oregon to best impact climate change in a meaningful way?
LB: We have to put our money where our mouth is. We have tried at the state level for a long time, making small improvements (like banning plastic bags), but we need cap-and-invest; we need elected officials willing to push people. At city council, we’re taking local action – but it’s not enough. We passed climate action with no bookends, it was aspirational at best; no hard check-ins with a goal of reducing emissions by 2050. Without accountability along the way, it’s not good enough – and we haven’t set ourselves up for success, honestly. I want a climate action committee that as oversight with 50% ownership by members under the age of 25. Other councilors don’t want a committee to have that much influence but in city politics there are commissions for everything (traffic, e.g.). Climate change needs a city oversight committee too.
WCD: Given the recent healthcare crisis (COVID-19) we find ourselves in, if elected, what would you do to better promote healthcare for Washington County residents?
LB: First, I am the only candidate with a public health background. I started my public health career at 18 years old as a combat medic and have spent the last 6 years at Virginia Garcia running clinics so I understand healthcare at the most impactful level. Agencies have been defunded because Washington County was not helping. We need leaders that put health first. There are lots of other crises currently happening. Forest Grove has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in Oregon. Washington County has double the average rate of STI’s in the Latinx community. The area in the 97005 zip code has the lowest observed medical attention rate in the state of Oregon. And we are going to have a boomerang effect because of COVID-19. The next phase of that crisis will come because all the normal healthcare maintenance activities have been put on pause (mental health, preventive care). So we need someone who knows healthcare well.
WCD: Your campaign website says you were involved in the New DEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders) program. How did you get involved and what did you take from the program?
LB: It’s a great program, [State Treasurer] Tobias Read wrote my nomination for the program that includes other young progressive leaders from around the country (Pete Buttigieg, Stacey Abrams are also in the program). It promotes leaders who solve issues with collaboration, bringing a lot of smart people together. One thing I have been working on is the concept of Renter’s Choice. It gives people options for a large cash security deposit that covers the landlord. That is important because 51% of Beavertonians rent. Across the country there is $85 billion locked up in security deposits and it’s doing nothing. Most people can’t afford a sudden $500 expense without going into debt so think of the benefit to the economy if we could get all that money working. Also, I’ve been working in partnership with the State Treasurer’s Office for Financial Literacy to help people start retirement or college savings earlier.
Learn more about WashCo Dems-endorsed Lacey Beaty at her campaign website.
Just some of her many endorsements from other community leaders:
“From her time in the military to working in community-based health care, Lacey knows what it means to be in service to others. That kind of service is exactly what we need in all of our elected officials.” – Val Hoyle, Oregon Labor Commissioner
“Leading our region forward is going to take all of us – and with Lacey, I’ll have a partner who looks not just at the year ahead, but also the 20 years beyond today.” – Kathryn Harrington, Chair, Washington County Commission
“Lacey knows how important it is for the leadership of Beaverton to work regionally and she does so from experience. She worked hard to pass the regional bond measure for affordable housing. She’s got the right priorities and she has my full support.” – Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Metro Councilor
“As a mom, I have always appreciated Lacey’s advocacy for women and families. She fought for affordable housing, expanded access to healthcare in our public schools and she joined the effort in our state capitol to pass Paid Family and Medical Leave because she cares about what Beaverton families really need to succeed.” – Senator Shemia Fagan
“We need more local elected leaders lending their voices to the regional and statewide efforts to prepare our communities for climate change – and for Beaverton, that leader is Lacey.” – Representative Karin Power
“Success starts with health and housing. As a nurse, I commend Lacey’s work to expand healthcare services in our public schools and to build more affordable housing. I endorse her for mayor!” – Representative Rachel Prusak”