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Jayapal’s sister vying for open Oregon seat

Susheela Jayapal says she’ll continue retiring Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s work

Susheela Jayapal
Former Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, sister of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., announced she will seek the open seat in Oregon's 3rd District after the retirement announcement of Rep. Earl Blumenauer. (Handout/Susheela Jayapal for Congress)

Democrat Susheela Jayapal, a former Multnomah County commissioner and the older sister of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, is running for a safe blue House seat in Oregon.

Jayapal launched her bid to represent the 3rd District on Wednesday, two days after the current occupant, Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer, announced his retirement after nearly three decades of progressive activism in the House. Jayapal said she would continue Blumenauer’s work if elected.

“We’re at a pivotal point in our country and in our district,” she said in a statement kicking off her campaign. “With the Republican majority beholden to extremist ideologues attacking our democracy and our rights in ways we’ve never seen before, it’s more important than ever that we have an unwavering progressive voice in Congress to stand up for our values and bring us together to create the thriving, equitable community we need.”

Pramila Jayapal, one of the most progressive Democrats in the House, has represented Washington’s 7th District since 2017. On Wednesday, she was the first member of Congress to publicly endorse Susheela Jayapal’s candidacy.

“My incredible sister @SusheelaJayapal just launched her campaign for Congress!,’’ Pramila Jayapal posted on X, formerly Twitter. “I couldn’t be more excited to share this news (and this cute photo of us from back in the day) with you!”

She signed her post, “A very proud little sister.”

If elected, Pramila and Susheela Jayapal would be the second set of sisters to serve together in the House.  Loretta and Linda T. Sanchez made history in 2003 when they became the first. The two California Democrats were House colleagues until 2017, when Loretta Sanchez left to make an unsuccessful run for Senate.

Susheela Jayapal, an attorney who was born in India and raised there as well as in Singapore and Indonesia, emphasized her experience as an immigrant, a woman of color and a mother. “I’m ready to continue that work, as someone with a proven record of accomplishments, passion for service, and the ability to get things done. And I’ll do it in partnership with our community,’’ she said.

The district, which includes most of Portland, is dominated by Democrats. Jayapal is the first declared candidate in the race, but other Democrats are expected to jump in, Inside Elections’ Erin Covey reported.

Jayapal released a list of endorsements from state and local leaders and elected officials. “Susheela Jayapal always shows up,” said state Rep. Tawna Sanchez, who praised Jayapal for helping to secure federal funding for a youth violence prevention program.

As county commissioner, Jayapal has focused on homelessness, economic justice, public safety and caring for vulnerable populations, according to her constituent newsletter. She stepped down from the position Wednesday, as required by the county’s charter.

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