My story is both different and the same as the stories of most people.
I was born in Portland in 1950. I didn't know my father as my parents divorced before my twin brother and I were born. We were poor and lived on welfare, when there was still an effective welfare program to support single parent families.
Because of the Kennedy and Johnson anti-poverty programs, I believed that life would be better for those living in poverty and that poverty would in time be eliminated in the United States. I believed the story that life in the United States always gets better. Fast forward to today and I realize how wrong I was in my hopes and expectations.
I went to Lincoln High School in Portland and graduated with honors. While in high school and continuing into college, I worked on the United Farmworkers grape and lettuce boycotts in order that the union would be recognized and the deplorable conditions under which farm workers labored would be improved.
I went to Portland State University. While there, I was active in opposing the Vietnam War, including being there when the University was shut down. Attended all the huge marches and rallies opposing that war. I have continued to believe that war is not the answer and to oppose military action.
While at Portland State, I got a BS in sociology with a teaching certificate. My hope was to teach American Problems, civics and/or history at a high school but, upon graduating, America was experiencing a economic contraction and there were no jobs. I had to get a job with a stationery store (this was before the advent of the mega-stationery stores; stationery stores then were small "mom and pop" operations). Thus began my life working in either stationery or office furniture stores, generally for pretty low wages but it was steady work.
During the growing up years, I struggled with being gay. Of course, in the 50s and 60s, the term gay didn't exist. The usual term was the demeaning fag or faggot. In polite society, you could hope to be called homosexual. Then the late 60 and the 70s happened and Gay Liberation gave us a positive word, one that we could own. That one word made a tremendous difference. Plus the gay liberation movement gave us positive role models instead of the negative stereotypes.
But the struggle for LGBTQ rights continues and I will be an out and proud Congressman if elected.
My partner and I have been together now for 25 years. What a blessing he is.
Several years ago I retired and focused my energy on various activist activities. I have been President or co-chair of Alliance for Democracy since about 2000; I have been a member of the Economic Justice Action Group of the First Unitarian Church since about the same time. In 2006, I was one of the chief petitioners of Measures 46/47 to establish limits on campaign contributions. In 2011, I founded the Portland chapter of Move to Amend, advocating for a 28th constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United as well as all the other wrong-headed court decisions which have established the dual doctrines of corporate personhood and money equals speech. And most recently, I formed the Portland Public Banking Alliance advocating for the formation of a municipal bank for Portland. I presently also serve on the board of the Oregon Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice.
And now, due to my long concern about corporate domination of our democracy and therefore the effects of so-called free trade agreements, I have decided to run against Rep. Earl Blumenauer. Rep. Blumenauer has a record of supporting past trade agreements 74% of the time; most recently he was one of only thirteen Democrats to vote in favor of Fast Track Authority. He now says he is still considering his position on the Trans Pacific Partnership, an agreement which was negotiated in secret for seven years except for the almost 600 corporate lobbyists who helped write it. See the Issues page for more on this. But let's be clear, while Rep. Blumenauer can't decide how he will vote, I can promise that if elected I will vote NO on the Trans Pacific Partnership.
|Delk for Congress||
David Delk for