Oregon Working Families Party History

A Working Families Party in Oregon?

The Working Families Party is a minor political party with major ambitions. The WFP is focused on the kitchen-table economic issues that are so important to working people in Oregon but are too often ignored by politicians of all parties. Thanks to fusion voting, the WFP can support candidates of all parties – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – who will fight for affordable health care, decent jobs, and quality schools.

Fusion Voting in Oregon

A century ago, fusion was legal everywhere. But because it gave a voice to workers and farmers, the major parties outlawed it in all but a few states at the turn of the last century. Fusion is now legal only in a few states. Thanks to the efforts of the Working Families Party and our allies, last year Oregon became the first state in the nation to re-legalize fusion voting, a reform that will make our democracy more vibrant by giving voters a way to “vote their values.” Beginning with the 2010 elections, you will see the Working Families Party right next to the names of candidates for office – a seal of approval right there on the ballot.

What can a Working Families Party accomplish?

The Working Families Party is working to make the issues that matter most to Oregon’s working families – good jobs, good schools, and good healthcare, to name a few – the top priorities for candidates and elected officials in our state, and to deliver real change for Oregonians. We will work year round – during election season and when elections are years away – to hold elected officials accountable to working people. We will introduce new ideas for strengthening our state, like our idea for an Oregon State Bank, and work tirelessly to make them real. Our model has worked elsewhere in the country, for example in New York where the NY Working Families Party has combined politics and organizing to score some impressive legislative victories, including making the tax code more progressive, increasing the minimum wage, and creating a landmark “Green Jobs/Green Homes” program that will weatherize one million homes in New York State and create 30,000 union-wage jobs in the process.

Building a Working Families Party in Oregon

In November of 2005, representatives from thirteen unions and eight community organizations met to begin working toward the formation of a Working Families Party in Oregon. In January, 2006, we filed papers with the Secretary of State’s office to begin the process to qualify the Working Families Party as a minor party in Oregon. Volunteers collected 28,000 signatures from Oregonians in 30 counties. On June 27, 2006, the Secretary of State certified that the Working Families Party had obtained a sufficient number of valid signatures to qualify as a minor party in the State of Oregon.

Now that we have legalized fusion voting in Oregon, the real work begins, and we need your help to make it a success. You can register Working Families to send a message to candidates and elected officials that you want them to put good jobs, affordable health care, and good schools front and center. You can make a contribution to support our efforts. And you can tell all of your friends and family to vote for the candidates with the Working Families Party seal of approval.

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