Washington County has been growing and developing for over 175 years. Owned by the Atfalati band of Kalapuya peoples, settlers and missionaries began populating the Tualatin Valley in the 1840s. In 1843, the county was one of the four counties formed, taking the name Twality District. In the same year, Joseph Meek became the first elected sheriff. In 1849 Twality was renamed Washington County.
“[The sheriff] is the most important of all the executive officers in the county.”
–Thomas Jefferson, “The Values of Constitution”
Washington County has exploded in growth since that time, becoming arguably the most diverse county in the state. In contrast, our county sheriffs come from one cloth, making policy decisions that serve a limited number of our citizens.
Why Has the Sheriff’s Office Not Diversified Along With the County?
In the 175 years since Sheriff Meek was elected, the people of Washington County have continued to elect their sheriffs. However, in the past several decades those who have held this great responsibility have taken it upon themselves to strip the voters of the important job of choosing their duly elected sheriff.
These men have used their position to start a practice of stepping down prior to an upcoming election, handing the office of sheriff to their personally selected successor. This practice ensures that voters have an ‘incumbent’ on the ballot who has never been chosen by the people. For a variety of reasons, incumbents have an enormous advantage over any competing candidates. As a result, few attempt the feat.
Only a democratically elected sheriff can truly be held to account by the people they serve—requiring they answer to the commitments and promises made during the election process or face the consequences in the next election.
Attempts to infuse diverse perspectives and experiences into the leadership and decision making within your sheriff’s office are met with overwhelming systematic blockades. The nearly 200 year old organizational culture is deeply entrenched and sustained by internal processes which prevent meaningful change in keeping with the needs of our increasingly multifarious population.
How Can Voters Reclaim Their Right to True Democracy?
It is time for the voters of Washington County to make their voices heard and choose the sheriff that will best serve their needs. Without a challenged election, incumbents too easily gloss over the narrative, avoiding proof driven accountability. Voters must ask incumbent office holders seeking re-election the status of their promises and demand transparency.
My Promises to You, the Voters
I commit to putting my decades of experiences in the Washington County public safety system to work.
I will work to do all that I can to help break down these internal barriers to honest elections.
I will bring a full spectrum of people to the table, ensuring that all citizens are given a real voice in setting priorities and creating policies that best serve the needs of all Washington County residents.
I will answer to the people who elect me sheriff ensuring that they hold me to account for my promises of providing transparency and inclusion.
Red Wortham promises to provide full transparency and accountability to the voters of this county who deserve to exercise their power to choose their leaders.
Vote Red Wortham for Washington County Sheriff on May 19, 2020 for REAL CHANGE.
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Red Wortham for Sheriff|
PO Box 1623
Hillsboro, Oregon 97123
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