In Short

Bend attorney seeks rematch with Zika in Redmond-area House district

By: - October 22, 2021 11:44 am

Emerson Levy announced her campaign for state House on Thursday. Photo provided by Emerson Levy

Bend attorney Emerson Levy is planning a rematch with state Rep. Jack Zika, R-Redmond, in a redrawn House district that now favors Democrats.

Levy, 36, announced her campaign for the 53rd House District on Thursday. She was the Democratic nominee in the district in 2020, when she lost to Zika by 12 points. 

But after redistricting, the previously donut-shaped district surrounding Bend is decidedly more favorable for Democrats than Republicans. The new district contains most of north Bend and southwest Redmond, two rapidly-growing areas that are trending Democratic.

“We don’t have the final numbers, but I want to say it’s between plus two and plus four Democratic, and it was plus six Republican for years and years,” Levy said. “And the demographics are just shifting rapidly.”

She said she’ll bring personal experience as a working mother who cared for a young child and an elderly parent during Covid, and she wants to focus on listening to other caregivers to craft legislation that can help them. 

In 2020, Levy worked with state Rep. Courtney Neron, D-Wilsonville, on an Oregon version of a Florida law pushed by the parents of a teenager who died in a 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The legislation, dubbed Alyssa’s Law, would require schools to install silent panic alarms linked to notify law enforcement. The Oregon legislation didn’t go anywhere because of Covid.

Zika, a real estate agent, was first elected to the House in 2018, after longtime Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, retired. He hasn’t indicated whether he intends to run again, though he has criticized the new legislative maps for cutting his hometown in half. 

Critics of legislative maps have until Oct. 25 to sue and potentially force changes. No one has yet filed a complaint, but Republican sources say they expect one. 

If Levy is elected, central Oregon could potentially have two Democratic representatives after years of Republican representation in Salem. State Rep. Jason Kropf, D-Bend, won a seat in the House in 2020.

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Julia Shumway
Julia Shumway

Julia Shumway has reported on government and politics in Iowa and Nebraska, spent time at the Bend Bulletin and most recently was a legislative reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. An award-winning journalist, Julia most recently reported on the tangled efforts to audit the presidential results in Arizona.