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Democrats hold seats south of Portland

Barton, Taylor wins keep seats for Democratic caucus -

By getting 55 percent in early returns, State Rep. Brent Barton (D-Oregon City) will probably earn his seat by a wider margin in this rematch with his 2012 Republican challenger Steve Newgard of unincorporated Clackamas.

While he does not see their funding as a “either-or,” building a public access path to Willamette Falls would be Barton’s top local priority, although school funding would remain his top statewide priority as it had been when he won his seat in 2012. After the Riverwalk boosting Main Street and regional tourism, Barton sees stable school funding as the next most important factor in keeping Oregon economically competitive.

Newgard was quick to seize on Barton’s biggest regret of his past term in office: Barton said that while he was so focused on the K-12 budget and two investments in the Clackamas Community College capital budget (effective if CCC-area voters approve the $90 million bond this November), he couldn’t be as promotional in bolstering community colleges’ general funds.

Responding to a Newgard accusation of partisanship, Barton said he showed his ability to think for himself by bucking his caucus about 80 times, and the second-place legislator only went against Democrats in 50 votes.

Taylor replacing Tomei, as expected

Southeast Portland resident Kathleen Taylor will represent District 41 in the Oregon House of Representatives to replace eight-term incumbent Carolyn Tomei of Milwaukie, who decided not to run for re-election. The district includes Oak Grove, Milwaukie and Southeast Portland.

Taylor has won more than 60 percent of the vote in both counties against Republican Tim McMenamin, in the heavily Democratic district. Tomei also easily defeated McMenamin when he ran for the seat in 2012.

Taylor, who has two children enrolled in the Portland Public School system, is focused on bettering public schools and hopes to help restore a full school year. She also wants to increase workforce training and infrastructure so that Oregon businesses are better equipped to compete with businesses in other states. Additionally, she’s concerned with providing in-home care for seniors and protecting the environment.

Taylor is a former auditor and served as an intern under Tomei for three years. She is also the current president of the Duniway School PTA and a board member of Emerge Oregon. In addition, she was an account executive for Boly:Welch. She received her masters in public policy from Rutgers University and a bachelor of arts from University of Wisconsin.