WHO MAX IS
I was fortunate enough to grow up in Ashland, in scenic Southern Oregon. The combination of access to nature and culture that Ashland offered very much shaped who I am to this day. My mother still lives there, and a key reason my wife and I moved back to Oregon was to be closer to her. Corvallis is the only place I’ve ever lived that reminds me of Ashland, and my wife and I are glad we decided to settle here over five years ago.
Prior to that, we lived in Port Angeles, Washington, where I was an elected member of the City Council. Most candidates for office have to talk about “endorsements” and other social connections, but my personal and professional experience allows me to talk about real-world accomplishments.
Mind you, Port Angeles is a fairly conservative place, yet I was able to run for office and help govern successfully as a proud, unabashed progressive, because I made the effort to reach out to and listen to the needs of the entire community. During my term on the City Council, I was a driving force behind:
- The establishment and funding of the first Community Garden in town.
- Allocating more funds to help low-income residents with their utility bills.
- Getting more members of the public positions on the Utility Advisory Committee, a group that helps set utility rates, and which had been stacked in favor of staff and industry.
- Standing up for clean air and water for local residents against corporate interests.
- Getting the City Council to adopt an ethics policy.
- Helping the City establish better working relationships with local tribes, our Canadian Sister City (Victoria, B.C.) and with the local transgender community.
Having been a member of that City Council, I’m also in the unique position of being able to say that I have officially voted against literally tens of millions of dollars of unnecessary, wasteful spending. I was also often the only Council member who would stand up for the health and safety of the city’s residents against the hazardous pollution emanating from the local mill, which was owned by a multinational corporation based in Japan. Standing up for the people wasn’t always easy, or popular with staff, but it was always the right thing to do. Tax dollars are your dollars, and elected officials are there to serve you.
In my role as a City Council member, I also served as a member of the local Transit Board, overseeing public transportation. For two years I served as the chair of the local Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC). Due to my personal commitment to environmental protection, I was in constant contact with a great many environmental groups active in Washington State. I had close, personal working relationships with members of the Victoria, B.C. City Council, and was the preferred Port Angeles contact for staff members from the offices of Democratic Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray.
I was also extremely active in the arts community, and helped establish the non-profit Port Angeles Arts Council. In addition, I served on the boards of the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center and the Port Angeles Community Players.
Since moving to Corvallis, I have helped organize and have volunteered at several PRIDE Festivals. For Halloween several years ago, I wrote and directed a play at the Majestic Theatre, and I have served on the board of the Whiteside Theatre. I’ve been an active planner and participant in numerous large local marches and protests (Women’s March, March for Our Lives, etc.). I was a founding member of the Benton County Indivisible chapter, and am a member of the Benton County Environmental Issues Advisory Committee (EIAC). In addition to all that, I am also a board member of the Benton County Cultural Coalition, and am actively involved with and supportive of our new Tenant’s Union.
My interest in both politics and the arts goes back as far as I can remember. While still a teenager in Ashland, I started booking and promoting concerts by touring underground bands, and that quickly evolved into organizing benefit concerts for the local women’s shelter, local canned food drives, and other causes.
The combination of arts and activism led to me becoming a member of the ALCU Board of Jackson County while still in my early 20s. During this same period, I also volunteered as a clinic escort, protecting women who were seeking access to healthcare from abusive anti-choice zealots.
Later, I was extremely active in our local “No on 9” campaign, fighting the bigoted, homophobic ballot measure put forth by the (now thankfully defunct) Oregon Citizens Alliance. I campaigned against it, and again, organized a fundraising concert for the “No on 9” campaign.
Our Choice Today
Now we are all faced with battling a bigot who currently occupies the White House, and all that that entails. Without any sort of positive or progressive leadership coming from Washington D.C. right now, having vital, progressive local politics has never been more important.
That is why I stepped up to run for office. There is much to do, and we must all do our part. We could be doing so much more in Benton County. My intent is to be a catalyst for positive, progressive, sustainable politics and policies here in Benton County. In that quest, I ask for your support, and for your vote.