Many of you reading this may know me because I served as your state senator for six years. Or you may know me as a Democratic commentator with Phil Harriman on TV and in this paper.

What you may not know is that for 18 years, I have also been the director of LearningWorks. LearningWorks does many things in our community, but our core mission is to help people who have fallen through the cracks get a high school degree, a job and start a new life.

Over the years at LearningWorks and in my public service, I have developed the ability to listen to people, consider all sides of an issue and then find a solution everyone can support. And that is how the mayor’s job in Portland is written in the city charter.

The mayor must build support and seek consensus, rather than simply dictating policy and expecting others to follow. I have that ability, which is, I imagine, why I have been endorsed by such a diverse and broad coalition of the community (half the City Council, seven of nine school board members, a dozen labor unions, the Portland Chamber of Commerce and those who serve, teach and protect us every day – our firefighters, teachers and municipal employees who plow, clean up and rebuild our streets).

And just last week, this newspaper endorsed my campaign, saying, “If Portland is ever going to develop a consensus on questions of economic development, education, infrastructure investment and growth that is strong enough to withstand referendum campaigns and malcontents’ lawsuits, we need a mayor who can engage the public and marshal its support.” I couldn’t agree more.

But bringing people together is not enough. In the end, we have to unite around a common vision. That is why I have been traveling the district over the past two months listening to you at house parties, having conversations with you on your porches and asking questions as we stand on the street corner.

What I have heard is that we all want a city where we can say, “I raise my kids in Portland because we have the best schools in the state. I work in Portland because I found a great job that pays a livable wage. I am raising my family in Portland because it is safe, clean and affordable.”

And how will we get there? While you can see my full vision on my website at www., here are some of the highlights:

Implement universal pre-kindergarten, so every child starts school ready to learn (within five years).

Provide targeted property tax and rent relief for our seniors and low-income residents who are being squeezed out of their homes (within two years).

Invest in citywide wireless broadband, so our businesses can tap into markets all over the world to grow our economy (within five years).

Instill accountability in our social service programs, as we have at LearningWorks, so we are focused on moving people from poverty/General Assistance into jobs (within two to five years).

Permit 2,000 units of market-rate, workforce and affordable housing to slow the 17 percent increase in rent we saw last year (within five years).

Initiate a community conversation on financial priorities to avoid massive property tax increases as we try to confront the coming $200 million-plus of increased pension debt and infrastructure costs (immediately).

Create five small-scale “Housing First” projects to alleviate the pressure on our homeless shelters, move people off our medians and transition those on welfare into jobs (within 10 years).

Redirect city resources into addiction treatment and prevention, to stem the tide and reverse the heroin epidemic (within one year).

Pursue a goal of 25 percent of Portland homes and businesses utilizing solar power (within 10 years).

Rebuild or renovate our aging elementary schools, so students can move from crumbling infrastructure to state-of-the-art learning environments (within 10 years).

These are ambitious, and there will be other ideas we will need to add as we confront new realities and priorities. They will not be easy to implement because some stakeholders will need persuading that bold change is necessary.

But, in the end, I want Portland to be on the Top 10 lists for more than simply our restaurants. I want us on the lists for the best schools, the best jobs and for being the most affordable city in relation to our incomes.

As your mayor, I will wake up every day focused on bringing people together toward this vision. I hope you will join me.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.