Please note: This was published over a year ago. Phone numbers, email addresses and other information may have changed.
PCC’s Rodriguez selected as delegate to Democratic National Convention
Photos and Story by James Hill
Jaime Rodriguez, an employment specialist with Portland Community College’s Workforce Development Department in Washington County, will represent District 1 as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention scheduled for Sept. 3-6 in Charlotte, N.C.
Rodriguez and his fellow delegates will cast their votes to confirm U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as the party’s candidates for the November election.
“I will be on the floor and, hopefully, will get to carry a sign, wave it and be proud,” Rodriguez said. “And when they say, ‘From the great state of Oregon,’ I’m one of those that get to stand up with a great smile and represent this whole great state of ours. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Rodriguez got the chance of a lifetime from his membership in the local faculty federation. A union member since 2002, he has worked his way up to leadership and has loved it. He’s participated in two bargaining teams and was named Vice President of Political Action, which led him to advocate on important issues and local candidates.
He will join 80 other Oregonians, who are making the trip to North Carolina to represent the state’s Democratic Party. The election for delegates for District 1 was held at the Willow Creek Center (where Rodriguez works) on June 2. He thanked fellow PCC staff and union representatives Ed Degrauw, Heidi Green Edwards, Deborah Hall, Val Jack and Louise Currin for supporting his successful bid.
“There was a lot of support and a lot of work,” Rodriguez said. “I had my daughter and my wife with me that day (I was elected); it was a great feeling.”
The 13-year employee loves his job. He helps residents with obtaining job training funds, upgrading job skills, career transitioning, attending workshops and helping with the Spanish-speaking population. “We are a great asset here in Washington County,” Rodriguez said of PCC.
It was during his volunteer work with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici’s District 1 campaign last January that the opportunity to become a delegate presented itself. He helped the U.S. Representative’s communications to Latino voters in Washington County and was rewarded with a spot on stage as she claimed victory. A little later that night, he was asked to put his name in the hat to be a delegate.
“Being here on my home turf, my own county, helped a lot,” Rodriguez said of the delegate election. “I had to campaign a little bit. With my background with the union, I have learned so much about campaigning. For somebody in higher education, it’s always an on-going process of learning and just by observing; you learn a lot.”
So, does he have a future in politics?
“If the opportunity arises I think I can step in and be there for students and job seekers,” he added. “In this unfortunate economic depression, it’s all about creating jobs and making sure the policies are there for small business, and also strengthening the partnership with the community college. I think there is a great advantage there for advocating for each other, being partners for a better economy and a better place to live.”