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Teachers throw political weight behind Jefferson Smith

Mayoral candidates gather up endorsements ahead of May primary

With just two months to go until the Portland primary election for mayor, Jefferson Smith on Thursday announced an endorsement by the Portland Association of Teachers' political action committee, Teachers Voice in Politics.

The PAC, which represents the 3,000-plus members, based their endorsement on interviews and questionnaires with six mayoral candidates.

In the end, they cited Smith's work around children and families as a state representative since 2008. Among his youth-related initiatives: launching the GrowOR economic gardening program to help local businesses grow and create jobs; working with community partners on increasing safety on the MAX line; and championing the 'Cool Schools' bill to retrofit public schools for energy efficiency and jobs.

'Jefferson Smith wants what parents, teachers and concerned citizens want- we want every student regardless of race or socioeconomic status, to have the tools and resources necessary to succeed,' said PAT President Gwen Sullivan.

Smith said he's honored for the teachers' support.

His other endorsements include AFSCME Local 189 Portland city workers, AFSCME Local 328 OHSU, AFSCME Council 75, and the nonprofit advocacy group Bike Walk Vote.

Not to lose out on the teacher vote, Eileen Brady on Thursday, meanwhile, issued a press release to honor a teacher she met on the campaign trail, Rolia Manyongai-Jones.

'Growing up in rural Liberia, Rolia dreamed of teaching African dance, music, and history in America,' Brady told her supporters. 'Overcoming great odds, she made it to Portland. She has been teaching at Woodlawn Elementary for 25 years and founded the Kukatonan Children's African Dance Troupe.

She continued: 'Today is International Women's Day, and I want to honor all the strong Portland women, including my new friend, Rolia, that support each other, hold each other up, and are the bedrock of our community. And who persevere against tough odds while making an incredible difference in the lives of everyone around them.'

Not to be outdone by either of them, Charlie Hales' weekend calendar shows a March 10 at which he hopes to impress: a family-focused candidate forum hosted by Family Forward Oregon and the Mother PAC.