Multnomah County Board appoints Alissa Keny-Guyer as new House District 46 state representative

September 27, 2011

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners appointed Alissa Keny-Guyer as the new representative of state House District 46 at a special meeting on Sept. 27.

Keny-Guyer works as the program manager for Oregon Solutions, a nonprofit that collaborates with government, business and nonprofits to complete products that address community needs and sustainability.

She was one of three candidates forwarded by the Democratic Party of Multnomah County to replace Democrat Ben Cannon, who left the House to take a job in September as Gov. John Kitzhaber’s education policy adviser. The other two candidates for the seat representing parts of Northeast and Southeast Portland were Rob Milesnick and Trisha Parks.

The board voted 4-1 (watch the board session here) in favor of Keny-Guyer, who said she plans to run in next year’s election for a full term representing House District 46 . Commissioner Diane McKeel selected Milesnick.

Commissioners pressed candidates about their positions on economic development, serving vulnerable populations, and state funding woes. They also asked candidates for their positions on the Sellwood Bridge and Columbia River Crossing projects.

Keny-Guyer shared her background and how her childhood with politically engaged parents shaped her desire to help vulnerable people.

“So many of the opportunities that we have in life are by fate, by virtue of where we’re born and the color of our skin and the opportunities, the education that we have,” she said. “This has always stayed with me all of my life. So every decision that I’ve made in my career, in my volunteer opportunities, in who I chose to marry have all reflected this deep desire to make a difference and to close those kind of disparities.”

Each of the commissioners said selecting a person to complete the rest of Cannon’s term would be difficult because each candidate was qualified.

In selecting Keny-Guyer, Chair Jeff Cogen said it was “particularly because of your broad and deep service in the community on behalf of vulnerable children and families.”

The Chair also praised people who participated in the selection process, including the hundreds who have weighed in on the race.

“And while these are really, really difficult times, I do think that our ace in the hole is the people in this community who care so much about our future,” he said. “And at the end of the day that’s what it’s going to take--us coming together as a community to address these problems.”

The vote is expected to be ratified at the Board of Commissioners’ regular meeting Thursday, Sept. 29.