Oregon has three new BIPOC representatives. What do their policies look like?


M.O. Stevens

As three new BIPOC Oregon Legislators start their term in the capitol building this year, the need for representation in congress becomes apparent. The three representatives hope to see a change during their time in office, as well as lead the way to further representation in the future.

Jan. 11, 2021 marked the first day of the 81st Oregon Legislature Assembly, but it was also the first day for three newly-elected BIPOC Oregonians, Wlnsvey Campos, Khanh Pham and Ricki Ruiz, who hope to make change in the Oregon House. 

The Oregon Congress now has 13 people of color, which accounts for 17% of legislators, while the BIPOC community represents 24% of Oregon’s population. 

Wlnsvey Campos

25-year-old House Representative Wlnsey Campos (D-28) ran her platform on being a voice for all people, rather than just a few.

Campos grew up in Bandon, Ore. and was raised by immigrants. According to her campaign website, this experience allowed her to see the vast difference in opportunities people were offered despite how hard they worked. 

“With this personal experience and observation she learned the importance and power of representation,” the website said of Campos. 

In an Instagram post on the day of her inauguration, Campos said that she is a voice for people that need to be heard. 

“While my background, identity and upbringing represents some, I can’t claim to understand the life experiences of the myriad of groups who have felt marginalized,” she said. “But what I can do, is tell you that I am willing and ready to listen, to be an advocate and to fight for a more representative democracy.”

As a house representative for the Aloha and Beaverton area and a case manager for Family Promise of Beaverton, Campos’ platform also focuses greatly around houselessness. 

On her first day in the legislature, she introduced Oregon House Bill 2372 (HB 2372). According to the Oregon State Legislature website, HB 2372 “eliminates [a] landlord’s ability to terminate residential tenancy without cause.”

“This issue is close to my heart as someone who works with families experiencing houselessness and whose own family has been impacted by no cause evictions,” Campos said in an Instagram post. 


Khanh Pham

Newly elected House Representative Khanh Pham (D-28) represents an area of Southeast Portland with more than 30 racial/ethnic identities, making it the most diverse house district in Oregon. 

Pham’s political agenda is highly inspired by real experiences throughout her life. Her parents immigrated from Vietnam after the Vietnam War. She attended Lewis and Clark College on a full-ride scholarship and gained the opportunity to study abroad in Vietnam and Zimbabwe. 

“My studies and travels broadened my view of inequality and I was determined to understand its root causes and to devote my life to building community power for social justice,” Pham said in a statement on her website

Her platform is focused on three main issues: Environmental and Climate Justice, Healthy Democracy and Economic and Social Justice. 

Pham is an avid supporter of an Oregon Green New Deal, a solution inspired by the Green New Deal sponsored in U.S. Congress by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), being implemented in Oregon. 

“A top priority for Khanh will be to pass a bold and comprehensive Oregon Green New Deal that creates tens of thousands of good jobs and moves us away from an extractive economy that exploits workers and exacerbates the climate crisis to one that instead helps build thriving, healthy, caring and resilient communities and protects a livable planet for our children,” says a statement on Pham’s website.


Ricki Ruiz

Ricki Ruiz (D-50), a 26-year-old community activist and first-generation college graduate, represents the Gresham and East Portland area. 

After becoming the first in his family to graduate from high school and college, he became Gresham’s community services coordinator and co-founded the Rockwood Initiative, an organization aiming to empower youth through sports in Gresham. Ruiz was also the youngest member elected to the Reynold’s School District School Board. All of these experiences are why one of Ruiz’s top priorities as a legislator is education. 

“As a first-generation high school and college graduate, I will continue to prioritize strong education funding and policy – from preschool to career, whether that means college, apprenticeships or vocational training for students,” said Ruiz in a statement on his campaign website. “It’s an investment we cannot ignore.”

His plan for education includes further investment in Oregon’s public education system, providing mental health support for all students and more options for school breakfasts and lunches. 

In February 2021, Ruiz introduced House Bill 3294, The Menstrual Dignity Act, which would require both public schools and colleges to provide free tampons and pads to students. 

“This bill is in honor of all & any menstruators who have not had access to such important products,” Ruiz said in a tweet. “This bill will work to have all public education restrooms be equipped with menstrual products and NO COST for any students.”

These progressive politicians are all working towards making Oregon a better place by implementing policies that will help their local communities. They also pave the way for future BIPOC leaders to run for Oregon congress so the people who make the important decisions reflect the diversity of Oregonians.