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Jairo Rios Campos is the leader we need in East Multnomah County – young, gifted, and brown.

Jairo is our neighbor in Wood Village, the recreation director for the PlayEast! program, and a family guy with deep roots in his city. Jairo is 100 percent committed to his Latinx community, and to our entire East County community, and is diving into politics for the right reason. He simply wants to serve.

Speaker after speaker at his kickoff Zoom call this week noted his character, integrity, and natural leadership skills. (Check out his new website here).

If Jairo wins a seat on the Wood Village city council, he will be the first Latinx city councilor in the history of Wood Village. With nearly 40 percent of residents identifying as Hispanic or Latino – a number that will surely grow with the new 2020 U.S. Census data – it’s time the city had a representative from this growing community.

I met Jairo earlier this year through Our Parks, Our Future, a new grassroots campaign advocating for long-term, stable funding for East County parks. We’re also both endorsed by East County Rising, which supports progressive candidates in local races, and I got to know him through that organization.

I liked him right away. Jairo is a genuine advocate for children and teens. Not only does he lead PlayEast!, the recreation program for Fairview and Wood Village, he is active in the Wood Village Baptist Church, where he leads a youth leadership and violence prevention program called Building Towards Success, which serves kids 10-24. The program has a 99 percent high school graduation rate and has created 125 jobs for young people. Jairo is also a father of two young children.

On Jairo’s campaign kick-off call, Pastor Tom Miles of Wood Village Baptist Church said he’s known Jairo for 10 years: “He is a committed and principled leader. He has the ability to know what is going on in people’s lives, particularly young people.”

Jairo has been in Wood Village for 19 years, arriving from Hood River with his Mexican immigrant parents when he was a teenager. He graduated from Reynolds High School, got a job at Safeway, and settled down to raise his family. Now he wants to bring younger voices into city government, expand parks and recreation, and ensure everyone has a voice at city hall.

We need Jairo in elected office. This guy is all about cherishing our children and building a world that will work for them. It’s why, when I held my campaign kickoff, I raised money for Jairo. I sent this guy a $550 check this week.

Jairo has a huge wellspring of support from family, friends, and neighbors, who raised more than $3,000 during his campaign launch. Jairo was thankful – and is fired up to win. He is facing a strong opponent – the longest serving member on the Wood Village council.

“To be heard,” he told his supporters, “you gotta make some noise. Let’s make some noise!”

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