Bend City Councilor Bruce Abernethy, who is not running for re-election, has served as both a Bend City Councilor and Mayor on and off for the last 20 years. During that time he's gone from a die-hard champion of Bend's "slow growth" movement to a more moderate voice in City politics. He was raised in an era where neo-liberal politics were gospel, and his retirement from City Council opens the door for a new generation of progressive thinkers to enter the debate.
Rita Schenkelberg, 29, is part of a rising movement of socially minded liberals willing to stand up for inclusivity and equity and challenge the status quo. She wants to prioritize the City's response to global warming, something that she says feels urgent as a millennial facing the stress of an uncertain future.
Schenkelberg is a renter with direct experience in the city's affordable housing crisis. We hope this translates into a City Councilor willing to challenge the city's building and real estate lobbies that have dominated city politics through the backdoor for far too long.
She's also a mental health professional. Local calls to 911 involving mental health crises have gone up by more than 200% over the last 10 years. Schenkelberg has already suggested building out the City's current crisis response team with even more trained mental health professionals, similar to the CAHOOTS program in Eugene.
Michael Hughes, a local cannabis attorney, also threw his hat in the ring for this seat. He offered some innovative ideas about supporting BIPOC-owned businesses with the City's marijuana taxes, and decriminalizing minor drug possession. But Hughes was not as fluent on the City Council's most pressing issues as candidates like Schenkelberg, Melanie Kebler and Anthony Broadman. Hughes ran for Mayor in 2018, which means he had plenty of time to do his homework. Vote Rita Schenkelberg for Bend City Council Pos. 4