OFFICERS AND DELEGATES
Results in Marion County from the 2020 elections prove the efficacy of the leadership team’s focus on matters of local government entities. But the next election is now underway. The team will seek out and recruit individuals to stand for election to school boards, mass transit boards, city councils, etc. Since Marion County is the seat of the state capital, Marion County Democrats will also be a key player in lobbying efforts during the next session of the legislature.
The leaders most responsible for getting the party ready for the next election and managing its affairs are always looking for the breakthrough that defines their success. The team listed here promotes how easy it is to support the party with the 3 for $4 program and purchasing merchandise at our office co-hosted with the Oregon Democratic Party. The chair and vice-chair also sit on the state Democrat Central Committee.
Chair Carina Perez-Europa works as Oregon PSR’s Clean Air Organizer in Marion County advocating for responsible alternatives to incineration of medical and municipal waste. Prior to Oregon PSR, Carina worked for Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN) as a field organizer for the May 2019 Salem-Keizer School Board races. She also served as Communications Director for Bill Burgess’ campaign for Marion County Commissioner and has volunteered with Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, and more. She helped found local community organizing groups Salem Community Organizers and Progressive Keizer, both of which seek to connect grassroots activists with resources and a community that helps them advocate for progressive causes. A lifelong Oregonian, Carina is passionate about working together with communities to ensure that everyone has a safe, healthy place to live.
Vice-Chair Ashley Carson-Cottingham was born and raised in Bend, Oregon. She is married to Carroll Cottingham and is a proud mother of two young and amazing boys. She grew up in the Bend-Lapine public school system where her Grandfather taught Agriculture and Conservation as well as developed the first FFA program for Bend High School. Her Grandmother was an elementary school secretary. Her Dad and brother are small business owners and her Mom worked as a medical technologist.
Ashley has worked for the State of Oregon on behalf of seniors and people with disabilities since moving to Salem almost seven years ago. Prior to that, she worked in Washington, DC for two U.S. Senate Committees. She loves her tight-knit community in a historic district near downtown Salem. She firmly believes, however, that the ever-changing community needs more diverse voices in the decision-making, especially on our school board.
Vice-Chair Evan Sorce graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. He then continued his studies at Oregon State University, where he graduated with a Master of Public Policy in 2012. He currently works for Oregon State Representative Paul L Evans as his Chief of Staff. While at WOU Evan was a member of various groups on campus including the Peer Mentors, the Plus Team, and ASWOU. He served as the Student Body President in the 2009-2010 academic year. Evan is thrilled to serve on the alumni board and looks forward to working with current students, helping them connect to future employment and service opportunities.
Secretary Casey Kopcho is a citizen member of the Salem Planning Commission and a State Auditor in the Secretary of State’s Office. He is active in climate change research and activist communities, and in his experience as a professional auditor has conducted numerous analyses regarding the impacts of climate change. He is also an avid outdoorsman, spending as much time as possible enjoying the natural wonders of Salem and the surrounding region. He moved with his family to Salem all the way from Texas due, in large part, to the adverse effects of climate change already present at his previous home. He has since dedicated his life to embrace, respect and protect our environment – A tradition he hopes to now pass on to his sons.
Treasurer Sue Schwab is a tax preparer based in Salem, Oregon. The treasurer’s role carries unique fiduciary and reporting responsibilities which her role in tax filing has helped prepare her for. You can count on Susan with her years of valuable experience as an IRS registered tax preparer for tax planning, bookkeeping, estate and trust taxes, and so much more.
Susan likes long walks on the beaches and tacos on Tuesday (or any day for that matter). When she’s not working or enjoying music, you can find her cuddled up with her two Doberman Pinschers Max & Payne.
The three people listed here have the responsibility, along with the chair and vice-chairs, to represent the county party on the State Central Committee. The size of the county's delegation is based on the number of voters who have registered as Democrats in the county. Marion County's delegation of six is one of the larger.
Ramiro Navarro Jr
R.J. is a born and raised Keizerite. He’s a Veteran and has lived experience dealing with the struggles related to combat overseas. After starting his recovery from that trauma he went on to use his G.I. Benefits to attend courses at Chemeketa Community College in Business Management and now works to support fellow Veterans struggling with mental health and addiction through the nonprofit Project ABLE.
Melia Kirkland is a sociology student at Willamette University and has been working for years to bring this change to the community. She is deeply committed to social justice and the goal of fair representation for all communities.
Mike Ellison is an advocate for more robust rights for rental tenants, including implementing restrictions on no-cause evictions and push for limits on campaign finance contributions and more high-paying clean energy jobs. He supports expanding funding into K-12 education and reducing class sizes.
If any member of the delegation is unable to attend an Oregon Democrat Central Committee meeting or other state convention (like the party platform convention) one of these listed here will step in to take that delegate’s place.