Anthony Martin Hillsboro City Council (W2PB) – Candidate Interview
Anthony Martin is running for reelection on Hillsboro’s city council. He earned a bachelor’s in Spanish and political science from the University of Oregon, which he paid for by working as a commercial fisherman in Alaska. He’s also earned his master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas. Now in his second campaign for office, I talked to him about his hopes for Hillsboro.
WCD: So, you grew up in Buxton on a goat farm. Which has proven more challenging, herding goats, or working with politicians?
AM: Ha, definitely the politicians. Even though the goats are stubborn if you give them food you can usually get them to go where you want. That doesn’t work in politics.
WCD: I can see that. Now, you’ve been quoted as saying, “We have the opportunity right now to make a positive change to policing and public safety in Hillsboro. I encourage folks to share their thoughts because we make the best policy with everyone at the table.” To some, that can sound like a platitude. What do you mean by that?
AM: At a higher level, when talking about policy change, it’s important to make sure people know they need to be at the table providing input. In regard to police policy, these are problems that have been around long before the murder of George Floyd. However, now the wider public is geared toward making some pretty big changes, and we need to follow through. Now is the time to make big, aggressive reforms. And it’s really important in the context of racial justice that everyone has a voice at that table. This is not a platitude, but an underlying drive for me. People need to know that by sharing their voice they can make a positive impact and change the direction of our community.
WCD: I’m glad you brought that up. As you know, police reform is a hot button issue these days. Cries of “defund the police” are often heard in this context. Naturally, the city council controls the police budget. Where do you see Hillsboro’s policing future?
AM: I see our future as making the community safer for everyone through re-conceptualizing public safety to include social workers and mental health professionals. The national narrative can get in the way of making changes that work for Hillsboro. When folks say, “Don’t defund the police,” I say, okay let’s talk about mental health services, let’s talk about unconscious bias, let’s talk about addiction treatment. When I start talking about that, people often begin to realize that it’s not about any kind of “us vs them” argument, it’s about making our community safer for everyone.
WCD: Homelessness is also reaching crisis levels in Oregon. How would you like the City of Hillsboro to respond?
AM: This is a really tough issue. There are two ways I want to respond. Firstly, we need a regional response to assisting houseless persons. I want to partner with other government and non-profit agencies so that we can reach out while treating our homeless neighbors with the respect they deserve. Secondly, the city simply needs to put more resources into helping these people. We have a lot of great partners and we need to increase our interaction with them. I also think interactions between the city and the homeless needs to be by more than just through our police department. I’d like to hire social workers to liaison with them and if there’s no money in the budget for that, we should find ways to enable the county and state governments to help.
WCD: I also understand you’re working hard on a program or two to provide Covid aid.
AM: I try to avoid saying “I’m working on X” because there’s always a lot of voices besides mine in the conversation. Regarding Covid, I think we’ve done a good job so far to support our residents and our businesses, but there is definitely more to do. Our next step is to build a network of support so that businesses can weather the crisis. But we need to look farther ahead as we do this. We need to ensure the resources and structures we create today can be used for future crises. On the residential side, we need to set aside money to combat the inevitable eviction crisis that will be caused by Covid. We have to be proactive as well as reactivate to Covid.
WCD: Sounds like you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you. Any closing remarks?
AM: I think it’s important for people to know that what happens in city government directly affects their life. From broadband internet to zoning, to residential composting; it all affects how we live in Hillsboro. I’m passionate about making Hillsboro financially strong, environmentally sustainable, socially just, and just a great place for people to live.
WCD: Sounds great. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.
AM: You’re welcome. Best of luck to everyone.
Learn more about Anthony Martin, Candidate for Hillsboro City Council, at his campaign website.