Lynn Peterson Announces Campaign for Congress in Oregon’s 5th CD

25 year Clackamas County Resident, former County Chair, and engineer pledges to bring “common sense solutions rooted in teamwork, focused on results to Congress”; announces campaign with over 50 prominent endorsements

LAKE OSWEGO, OR– Metro President Lynn Peterson, leader of the nation’s only elected regional government, and formerly the first elected chair of Clackamas County, has announced that she will run for Congress in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District in 2024. Peterson, a Democrat, will challenge first term Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer in the closely watched swing district. 

“I have spent my career working in local, regional, and state governments building coalitions to address urgent issues, from affordable housing to transportation, economic recovery and job creation,” said Peterson, a transportation engineer and planner by training. “Yet for all the hard work here in our Oregon communities, Congress is not doing its part– ideological politicians are more intent on culture wars than helping working people, more interested in rolling back fundamental rights than protecting our small cities and rural communities.”

“I’ll bring a track record of developing common sense solutions and getting things done to Congress,” said Peterson. “I’m going to fight not only for needed investments in housing, public safety, transportation and education, but also our fundamental rights to vote and seek reproductive health care. I’m excited for this opportunity and look forward to the campaign ahead.”

Raised in a union household, in a family of educators and health care workers, Peterson is running to help ease the burden on families and communities struggling with rising costs of housing, groceries, and childcare, as well as larger concerns around wildfires and air quality that threaten the health and quality of life of 5th District residents. 

“Too often people go to Congress to work for a party or personal agenda, and forget about the people who need help and relief back home,” said Peterson. “I’ll never turn my back on the needs of local families who need help with affordable housing, help putting food on the table, help building a business or career.” 

As Metro President, Peterson has reshaped the agency to address critical needs in the three-county Portland metropolitan region, stepping up to lead on critical issues, including winning approval for a $650 million investment in affordable housing in 2018, the region’s first– on track to exceed initial 3,900 unit production targets and deliver more housing. 

Addressing the homelessness crisis that has gripped the region, Lynn led the fight for approximately $250 million annually in new funding for support services to help people experiencing homelessness get back on their feet.  It has helped nearly 3,000 people find housing, more than 9,000 receive eviction protection funds, and support over 1,000 shelter beds. 

Taking on economic instability, Lynn partnered with businesses, unions, and community leaders to connect people to expand access to apprenticeships, job training, and good-family supporting jobs with benefits, and is an active voice in bringing businesses to the Portland region that will offer more of the kind of good jobs we need.

“I’m proud of my record of bringing people together to break through red tape and gridlock and get things done,” said Peterson. “As an engineer, it’s in my DNA to look at complex problems and figure out solutions. The partnerships we have built over my six years at Metro– with businesses and labor, environmental leaders, community organizations, law enforcement and local elected officials– all reflect the opportunities we have to break down polarized politics and focus on ideas and solutions that work.”

Peterson, who outside of elected office has served as a transportation advisor in the Oregon Governor’s Office and led the Washington State Department of Transportation, will bring unique experience and focus to securing infrastructure funding to fix and improve our roads, bridges, and water systems– securing resources for Oregon priorities and restoring leadership lost with the retirement of Representative Peter DiFazio, who Chaired the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. DeFazio has endorsed Peterson’s campaign. 

“Throughout her career, Lynn has worked to make smart investments that build strong communities and create good jobs,” said DeFazio. “We need her expertise and advocacy in Congress to make sure local priorities are funded– and also to build the sustainable infrastructure we need to address climate change and serve rural communities.”

In addition to DeFazio, Peterson enters the race with over 50 prominent endorsements from officeholders and community leaders from throughout the 5th District and the state, validation of her inclusive leadership style and history of working within her party– and across political barriers– to build relationships and get results. 

“Lynn is a bridge builder– literally and figuratively,” said former Governor Barbara Roberts. “She is a team player who is unafraid to ask tough questions, a principled fighter for shared values and exactly the kind of leader Congress desperately needs right now. We need her voice and problem solving skills in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Additional endorsements include Lake Oswego Mayor Joe Buck; Redmond Mayor Ed Fitch; Gladstone Mayor Michael Milch; Wilsonville Mayor Julie Fitzgerald; Former Clackamas County Chairs Jim Bernard, Charlotte Lehan; Former Bend Mayor Sally Russell; Former Forest Grove Mayor Peter Truax; Former Lake Oswego Mayor Judie Hammerstad; Former Oregon City Mayor Alice Norris; Former Tigard Mayor Jason Snider; Former Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla; Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington; Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pedersen; 5 of her Metro Council colleagues; Community Leaders Marcus Mundy and Eddy Morales, Libra Forde and more. 

A veteran campaigner, Peterson has won each of her 5 campaigns for local and regional office, and successfully led four recent regional ballot measures to victory. In her 2018 and 2022 campaigns for Metro President, Peterson won Clackamas County– the largest voting base in the 5th District– by commanding margins, overperforming other Democrats on the ballot. A 25-year Clackamas County resident, Peterson lives in Lake Oswego with her husband Mark, a small business owner, and their 4 malamutes.

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After speaking with my family, advisors, and supporters, I have decided to suspend my campaign for US Congress. I am deeply grateful to the thousands of Oregonians I met in the course of this campaign and I am more committed than ever to empowering people through effective leadership.

While I will not be serving in Congress, I am not leaving public service. Metro is in the midst of critical work–the I-5bridge replacement project, bringing our regional economic vibrancy back, completing the 4700 units of affordablehousing, and implementing the Supportive Housing Services measure–that deserves my undivided attention.

I was the first Democrat to enter the race, because I was appalled at the MAGA extremism of Lori Chavez-DeRemer and the Republican House Majority. The 5th District remains a key race to retake the House majority and return sane leadership to Washington, D.C.

I believe State Rep. Janelle Bynum is the best candidate to defeat Chavez-DeRemer. She has my enthusiasticendorsement and full support and I urge all 5th District Democrats to entrust her with this work.

Over the course of the last 8 months since I declared, almost 1,500 people invested in this campaign to protect
and strengthen our democracy. I want to thank each one of them for their commitment and investment and ask them to support Representative Bynum because working together we can take back the U.S. Congress.

I’d like to thank my staff for their dedication, and especially my husband Mark whose love and support havesustained me throughout this process.
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