Interview With Lynnette Shaw – 2020 Democratic Candidate For HD-24
WCD: What inspired you to run for office?
LS: For many years, my political involvement was limited to voting and volunteering on the campaigns of those I supported. After 2016, however, I decided that I had to do more. So, I stepped up as a community organizer and became more active in local politics. When the Republicans in the Oregon legislature walked out, I decided to become a candidate because I think the voters of my district deserve a representative who will show up to work.
WCD: How will your experience as a small town business owner shape your perspective as a legislator?
LS: Having been a small business owner for many years in Carlton, I know from personal experience the struggles that so many people are going through right now. These problems can’t be solved by handing someone a check. We need to look at broader and more collaborative solutions between the public and private sectors. We have to give our business owners the flexibility and resources to succeed.
WCD: Are there particular problems or challenges that you’ve seen in the rural parts of Oregon and what would you do as a legislator to help solve them?
LS: As a resident of Carlton, I see the problems facing our rural communities. Agrotourism in particular has been hard hit by the pandemic. This industry normally generates significant income for our farmers. This year, however, revenue has been flat. To help with this problem, I would work with the Oregon Tourism Commission (Travel Oregon) to focus more of their efforts on promoting our rural communities as a destination for regional tourism.
WCD: If you are elected, what is one specific goal you want to accomplish?
LS: One of my top priorities would be to address the child care crisis. Even before the pandemic, our child care system was broken. It is comprised of a patchwork or providers who cannot meet the demands of working families. It is too expensive and inaccessible for most parents. Under the strain of COVID-19, the system has started to disintegrate, leaving parents with zero options. As a legislator, I would treat child care as a community asset and a critical part of our economic recovery because we cannot get everyone back to work if they don’t have a safe place for their kids. Our child care facilities need to have access to plenty of personal protective equipment. Their workers need to be paid a fair wage. It’s a sad fact that many of them are paid less than dog sitters.
WCD: How do your values and those of the Democratic party align?
LS: Equity has been one of the guiding principles of my life. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I know the damage that inequality can do. As a legislator, I would view every problem through the lens of ensuring equity for all Oregonians. Whether it’s access to childcare, paid family leave, the right to healthcare, or environmental protection, I would strive to give everyone an equal chance to succeed and that commitment is why I am a Democrat.
WCD: What would you say to some of the more conservative constituents in your district who don’t think the Democratic Party shares their values?
LS: I think that everyone wants a representative who will show up for work every day and try to find pragmatic solutions to problems. They don’t want someone who will walk away whenever things get tough. As a business owner, I know how to negotiate with people from all backgrounds and find win-win solutions. That’s what I would do as a legislator for all of my constituents.
WCD: Is there anything we haven’t covered that you want voters to know about you?
My family worked their way out of poverty. My dad was a third-generation fire fighter. They taught me the value of public service. They instilled in me a commitment to helping the community. I have always carried that with me and look forward to bringing that outlook to the Oregon Legislature.
Learn more about Lynette Shaw, Democratic Candidate for HD-24, at her campaign website.