For the second time in six months, a candidate for public office in Portland has made a pitch for his election based partly on demographics.

In a recent letter to the Press Herald, Grayson Lookner pledged to fight for the interests of young people if he is elected to the Legislature from District 37. Andrew Volk, a candidate for the District 3 Portland City Council seat last fall, told a Jewish Community Alliance forum that if elected, he would represent people with school-aged children.

I am concerned that candidates for public office would ask us to vote for them because they will represent one particular demographic. Our public office holders should represent all of the residents of their districts.

The last thing we need today is more division. Our community leaders should show us what we have in common, and encourage us to work together across demographic groups.

Young people in their 20s, 30s and 40s contribute the energy, creativity and skills that will propel our economy in the coming decades. Baby boomers play an important role in supporting the school system and other city services through tax dollars. Many senior citizens donate their expertise and time by volunteering for nonprofit organizations.

Our community needs all of our efforts. Likewise, we should all care about having good public schools, affordable housing and a city that allows people to age in place. It is discouraging to hear office-seekers pitch their candidacies by promising to represent the interests of a single demographic group.

Shoshana Hoose


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