Press Releases

Oregon Democrats head to CD-2, approve Native American and Young Democrats caucuses

Jun 13, 2018

For Immediate Release
Contact: Molly Woon
(503) 367-4327
press [at] dpo [dot] org 
June 13, 2018


Oregon Democrats head to CD-2, approve Native American and Young Democrats caucuses


PENDLETON — Democrats from across the state met in Pendleton, Oregon, last weekend for their second quarter State Central Committee meeting. The group of more than 250 Democrats met at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, their first meeting since uniting behind Jamie McLeod-Skinner, the Democratic nominee for Congressional District 2. In the November general election, McLeod-Skinner will face Greg Walden, a longtime Republican Congressman who has cozied up to the Trump administration and consistently voted against his district’s interests. 
Antone Minthorn, member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, addresses the DPO State Central Committee ahead of their unanimous vote to approve the Native American Caucus.
“Our country is at a crossroads, and the best way for us to show our patriotism is to channel our righteous anger against injustice, hold government accountable, and build bridges,” said McLeod-Skinner during a Saturday evening event hosted by Umatilla County Democrats. “Together, we can do this. It begins with believing. Let’s get this done." 
On Sunday, Oregon Democrats unanimously approved two new caucuses — a Native American Caucus and a Young Democrats of Oregon Caucus. The Democratic Party of Oregon’s creation of the Native American Caucus follows the creation of the DNC Native American Caucus in October 2017. 

“Native American community leaders from across the state came together to create this caucus in a truly collaborative effort, and we are optimistic that it will serve as a hub for highlighting and elevating the important issues facing Oregon's tribal communities, and to serve as a vehicle for organizing to fight to improve the lives of Native Americans,” said Valdez Bravo, a Latino and Standing Rock Sioux who serves as First Vice Chair of the DPO. 

Kaitlyn Beck, Vice Chair of the newly formed Young Democrats of Oregon Caucus, addresses the DPO State Central Committee this past weekend in Pendleton.
Oregon has nine federally recognized tribes, and Multnomah County has the 9th largest concentration of urban Indians in the United States. Research shows that Native Americans are chronically underrepresented in elections. According to a report on Native voting demographics by the National Congress of American Indians, in 2010, 34 percent of the total Native population in the country over the age of 18 were not registered to vote. The turnout rate of Native Americans was 5 to 14 percentage points lower than many other racial or ethnic groups.
“The development of the Native American Caucus within the DPO provides a way for the nine tribes in Oregon and Portland’s large Native American community to come together to discuss important political interests in the State and Nation,” said Antone Minthorn, member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Minthorn was joined in his support by Carina Miller, Agency District Tribal Council representative for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. 
With approval of the Young Democrats of Oregon Caucus, Oregon joins 47 other states with active affiliates of the Young Democrats of America. The organization seeks to empower young people across the country to take active roles in their communities through community engagement, policy advocacy, and direct political action.
"Young people are at the forefront of so many movements, from civil rights to commonsense gun reform, worker and consumer protections, climate change regulation, and tougher laws protecting a woman’s right to choose,” said Rachel Gowland, chair of the newly formed caucus. “We are here to support such movements where young people are already leading, and to support young people working behind the scenes and running for office themselves. Now that we’ve been recognized as a caucus, the real work begins." 
The next DPO State Central Committee meeting will be held August 11th and 12th in Eugene, Oregon.