With a self-proclaimed political lean that’s “more progressive than most Democrats,” Sandi Mann decided to put her name in the hopper for Lane County commissioner, District 2, because of “erroneous and uneducated decisions” made by the incumbent, Sid Leiken.
“I feel like I can make a difference,” Mann says.
Mann currently works as the treasurer for the Eugene Area Silent Quaker Meeting — the Religious Society of Friends. She also works as a substitute teacher for area school districts. Politically speaking, she has worked as a research assistant for Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson and aided local government campaigns in Texas, as well as helped Fred Harris, a populist candidate, run for president in 1976.
Apart from those positions, Mann has also been involved with hospitals and social work, such as a child abuse center in Texas and a foster family agency in California. She has a master’s degree in international relations with a major in Russian history and has 20 years experience working in city, county and federal government.
Mann’s main priorities for Lane County include restrictions on using natural resources, homeless advocacy and “doing the best I can to make sure everyone who wants to work is able to and has a living wage.”
Mann is a vocal opponent of clearcutting, saying that there are “other ways to aid cash-strapped counties than destroying our natural resources.” She has also been an opponent to the mining of Parvin Butte. “If there’s growth, I think it should be thoughtful and green,” Mann says.
She has been involved in the recent SLEEPS protests, and the experience left an impact. “I was at the Free Speech Plaza the night they evicted them. I would have voted for them to stay and tried to find a resolution,” she says.
Mann also hopes to use the commissioner spot to start conversation on “radical” issues, such as a ceiling on wages in Lane County. “There are people here making $100,000 or more. Every year they want more. I think that’s just a lot of greed,” she says.
The incumbent, Leiken, has received criticism for the way he and the county have handled the mining of Parvin Butte. He was also the center of a scandal involving misappropriation of campaign finances in 2009 during his bid for Congress while mayor of Springfield, but a Lindholm Company survey from spring 2013 says he “appears to be in very good shape for a re-election bid. He has a nearly 5-1 favorability ratio and 60 percent favorables.”
In addition to her political interests, Mann spends much time involved with various neighborhood associations, working with the Unitarian Church Social Justice Committee and Occupy Interfaith Social Justice. She has created a candidate committee with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office.
(This story was edited for clarity and factual errors Oct. 1.)