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Garrett goes after soon-to-be vacant House 38 seat

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Attorney Chris Garrett of Lake Oswego announced Monday his candidacy for Oregon State Representative from House District 38 (Lake Oswego and Southwest Portland).

The seat currently is held by Rep. Greg Macpherson, D-Lake Oswego, who is stepping down to run for Oregon Attorney General. Lake Oswego's Linda Brown already has filed for the post.

'It's exciting to be running, especially for the chance to represent the area where I grew up,' said Garrett. 'District 38 has been fortunate to be represented by Greg Macpherson. It is important to replace him with someone who can hit the ground running in Salem. My experience will enable me to do that.'

Chris previously worked for current State Sen. Richard Devlin when Devlin was in the House of Represen-tatives, helping push legislation allowing local communities to provide adequate school funding, requiring insurance coverage for breast cancer screening, increasing funding for seniors receiving in-home care through Oregon Project Independence and preserving farmland from sprawl and overdevelopment.

As senior policy adviser to Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, Garrett helped develop legislation to clean up the Willamette River, improve health coverage for mental illness, and help soldiers returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan get college degrees.

Garrett grew up in the Marshall Park neighborhood of southwest Portland, where his parents still live. He attended Capitol Hill Elementary, Jackson Middle, and Wilson High schools, where he discovered a love for politics and journalism and was editor of the high school newspaper.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Reed College, Garrett managed Devlin's successful 1996 legislative race. Later, Garrett worked for Devlin in Salem.

Garrett graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, then began his legal career in New York City. He worked as a law clerk in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. While working at a Manhattan law firm, he volunteered to do pro bono work, helping low-income families keep their homes, for which he received a Scales of Justice Award.

In 2002, Garrett returned home to Oregon to practice law at Perkins Cole in Portland. In addition to representing some of Oregon's largest employers, he has continued to provide free legal services to individuals, nonprofit organizations, and public officials.

In 2004, Garrett successfully handled an appeal for a Somali woman who requested political asylum in America after being brutalized by militants in her home country during a civil war.

He has also served as a past director of Oregon Lawyers Against Hunger, which has raised more than $1 million for the Oregon Food Bank. He has volunteered his time with high school students as a volunteer judge with the Classroom Law Project, helping students learn about the legal system and the U.S. Constitution.

Garrett cited health care costs, higher education funding, and strengthening public schools as the most serious issues facing the state.

'The 2007 legislative session was the most productive in years, but we still face many challenges, such as increasing our investment in higher education, reducing health care costs that leave hundreds of thousands uninsured, and reversing the damage done during a decade when the Legislature neglected public schools. These are all issues that can and must be addressed by our state leadership.'

His campaign has earned several early endorsements, including by Courtney, D-Salem, Sen. Margaret Carter, D-Portland, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Washington County, Rep. Jackie Dingfelder, D-Portland, Rep. Chip Shields, D-Portland, former Rep. Chris Beck of Portland and former Sen. Charlie Ringo of Beaverton.