Emerson Levy for State House District 53
Candidate: Emerson Levy
Office: State House District 53
Opponent: Jack Zika (R)
Oregon League of Conservation Voters
Basic Rights Oregon
Moms Demand Action
Planned Parenthood Act
Q & A with Indivisible Bend
If you align with a particular political party, or abstain from choosing a political party, why do you make that choice?
I align with the Democratic party. I was raised in a conservative religious home in the south, but I am a long time member of the Democratic Party. In this election cycle, we also received the nomination of the Independent Party, which has not happened in House District 53 in recent memory. It goes to show the importance of this local race and on the national level to come together to vote against Trump ideology.
If elected to represent Central Oregon, what are your top three priorities?
I am a supporter of women and through the pandemic we have seen that women have borne the majority of the childcare responsibilities, which was already a pain point prior to the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic Deschutes County was short 3,000 childcare spots. Several childcare places have closed, and many understandably have reduced their numbers for safety. I want to first promote a strong public health strategy because there is no economic or childcare recovery without a public health recovery, and second work with local leaders to implement a shared services model. This model has been very successful in other cities and employers have indicated that they would be willing to invest in this type of model. Learn more about the shared services model here.
We need to modernize our policing process, I was happy to see that in the second legislative session that the legislature banned the use of chokeholds, but we have more to do and I will follow the lead of the Black Caucus. We also need to increase our mental health services in our community and follow the lead of the CAHOOTS model in Eugene.
We need to address climate change and we need to fight against house legislative bills that allow for harmful pesticides to pollute our community and harm farm workers. I support the creation of new energy jobs which will help our struggling economy and improve our clean energy production.
How can the government affect equitable outcomes for marginalized communities? You can choose a particular issue like hiring practices, or legislation, or policy changes, etc.
On a legislative level there is a lot we can do to address the inequities built into our laws, legal system and legislative process. A great example are the requirements written in the The Student Success Act, that all monies spent from the SSA fund must be viewed through a lens of equity in order to create accountability around these funds.
As stated previously, we need to make childcare readily available and affordable for hourly workers, the pandemic has laid bare the inequity in the childcare process.
Hindsight is 20/20, what’s important is that we learn from our experiences. What lessons have you learned from the government’s COVID-19 response?
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to change our healthcare system which currently favors commercial payors and those with resources. We’ve learned a painful lesson that the government needs to take an active role in responding to crises. Only through a unified federal response will COVID-19 be managed to a degree that will result in pre-COVID normalcy. Our economy and our lives depend on the government taking affirmative action in responding to global pandemics, COVID-19 included.
What do you think should be done in response to the recent event with ICE and Customs & Border Patrol creating terror amongst our immigrant community?
I participated in the protest against the ICE and Customs & Border Patrol. You can read my full thoughts here.
As of today, which individuals or groups are your three biggest donors?
Nancy and Barry Levy, family members
My average donation is around $61 dollars.
What brought you to Central Oregon? What do you like best about this place we call home?
We love living in Central Oregon and we are so lucky to call Bend, home. We moved here with my husband’s job at St. Charles Health System. We love exploring the outdoors and we love the community that we have been able to form. We are so lucky to be able to raise our daughter here!