Trandum opposes ‘big money’ in politics
Sandy man Walt Trandum faces House District 39 Rep. James Hieb for House District 51 seat
Political character Walt Trandum is running as the Democrat hoping to win election to House District 51. He’ll face current House District 39 Rep. James Hieb, R-Canby, in the Nov. 8 general election.
With redistricting taking effect in January 2023, the Sandy area is now split between House District 52 and House District 51. Trandum and Hieb won their party primaries in the race to serve the redrawn District 51, which now covers Sandy proper.
While running as a Democrat, Trandum says his platform is not to run against Hieb — he actually has much respect for his Republican opponent — but to run on the cause of “getting money out of politics.”
As such, Trandum plans to run an “absolutely clean” campaign, and he’s worked out a non-aggression agreement with Hieb. He’s also vowed not to take any “outside money” from folks not within his potential constituency.
“I’m not running against my opponent,” Trandum said. “I’m running against a system. Neither of us (running for House 51) are elites.”
Trandum has lived in Sandy for more than 20 years, and he initially became politically active in the 1980s.
“I became clean and sober in the mid-1980s and didn’t know what to do with myself, so I started becoming a compulsive volunteer,” Trandum explained. “At first I was into the environmental stuff with the Oregon Natural Resource Council. I was a super-duper volunteer, won awards and all that kind of stuff, but I kept realizing that politics was where the rubber was meeting the road. The environmental politics were almost a side show because the buck stopped at the real politics.”
In the late 1980s, Trandum was voted in as a precinct committee person. While he did a short stint living in Flint, Mich., from 1994-2000, Trandum has spent the majority of his life in Oregon and much of his time in Clackamas County.
Upon returning to the Sandy area, Trandum was elected district leader for the local Democrats in 2002. At this time, he began facilitating monthly meetings of the group that would later become the PAC known as Oregon Trail Democrats. Though he’s no longer in leadership, that group still meets monthly.
Despite his back catalog of political activism, Trandum did not anticipate running for House 51 until he saw a lack of candidates showing up to run.
When he decided to run, he saw this as an opportunity to promote the idea of removing money from politics, regardless of whether he wins or not. And, even though he is running as a Democrat, Trandum said: “I’m going to be kind of like a free agent.”
“I will caucus with the Dems, but I’m open-minded and local-oriented,” Trandum added. “I’m going to consult my friends who are past and present legislators on the best use of my time (if elected).”
If elected, Trandum said he only plans to serve one term. While he would like to prove that a candidate can win even without big money supporting them, Trandum said he’s also running to give voters a choice in the House District 51 election.
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