Democrat Chris Gorsek, a MHCC criminal justice and geography instructor, has won the 49th District race for the state House of Representatives, beating incumbent and former MHCC student and Republican Matt Wand.
Gorsek won the seat with 54 percent of the votes (10,860) to his opponent Wand’s 46 percent (9,168), according to the Multnomah County website as of 8:06 a.m. Thursday.
The road to representative has been a tough but rewarding one, Gorsek said.
“My opponent was a formidable one. It was not an easy race, that’s for sure,” he said.
“I’m honored to have been elected and to represent the people of East Multnomah County and the students of Mt. Hood Community College,” said Gorsek.
“It happened because of all the great support and volunteers that came out and worked so hard for me,” he said.
One of Gorsek’s main focuses over the summer has been going door to door and speaking with county citizens individually, something he thinks really helped give him an edge.
“A lot of folks are like, ‘I never get a chance to talk to a representative or someone who is trying to get involved as a representative,’ so it means a lot to them to make those connections,” he said.
Though Gorsek was just elected this week, his work with the government begins next Friday at a Democratic House meeting. Gorsek will be officially sworn in January.
With this week’s election, the Oregon House of Representatives was reconfigured with a Democratic majority. The house previously had been split 30-30.
Asked how the new Democratic majority might affect the process of pushing legislation through, Gorsek said, “I think it will help us move forward.”
“Even though I think it’s now easier for Democrats to move their agenda on things like education, I still want us to try and work as a whole body,” said Gorsek.
As for his next steps as representative, Gorsek said he wants to organize some forums on campus and in the community to hear some of the common concerns so he can address those first.
In general, transportation and education are two things Gorsek said he wants to get most involved with in government.
“Education is super important so I hope to get on one of the committees that has some connection and activity with education,” he said, adding he would like to join transportation-related committees as well.
With the representative position comes a new workload, but Gorsek, asked if he might put some things on hold to focus on his new position, said, “If I managed to do everything I was doing during the campaign, I can still continue doing everything I’m doing now.”
Nonetheless, Gorsek said he’s excited to get started. “I want to get in there and do some solid public service,” he said.
“This is exactly the kind of thing I’ve been interested in doing my whole life.”