For Immediate Release

Nonreligious Oregon State House Candidates Victorious in Democratic Primary

WASHINGTON - Three candidates endorsed by the Freethought Equality Fund (FEF) PAC won their primary elections on Tuesday for the Oregon House of Representatives: Julie Fahey (District 14), Diego Hernandez (District 47) and Pam Marsh (District 5).  

“We applaud Julie Fahey, Diego Hernandez and Pam Marsh for demonstrating that politicians can win elections without professing religious beliefs,” said FEF Executive Director Roy Speckhardt. “If successful in November, these three new members to the Oregon State House will help to give the secular community a voice in the state capital and promote public policy based on evidence and reason.”

Julie Fahey is seeking election to Oregon's 14th State House District. Fahey, who doesn't identify with any religion, believes “critical thinking and science can best help us understand our world.” Her public policy decisions will be “guided by evidence and a rational approach to decision-making, rather than by dogma or religious beliefs.” She is passionate about protecting the environment, expanding economic opportunities, improving education, defending a woman’s right to choose, and will be a “tireless voice against discrimination in all its forms.” Fahey has spent the last 15 years in the private sector helping businesses and nonprofits pay and treat their employees fairly to create positive work environments. This is an open seat with the current incumbent running for Oregon’s Secretary of State.  


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Diego Hernandez is seeking election to Oregon’s 47th State House District.  Hernandez, who was raised Catholic, is now an agnostic.  He is a strong supporter of the separation of church and state and believes that public policy should be “subject to argument, and amenable to reason.”  He is dedicated to supporting education, community safety, and an economy that supports working families and small businesses.  He received a BA in Political Science and Ethnic Studies at the University of Oregon and a Masters in Social Work at Portland State University.  He has worked as a middle and high school teacher and was elected to the school board.  Hernandez is currently the Co-Executive Director of Momentum Alliance, a nonprofit that develops young civic leaders. This is an open seat with the incumbent running for another elective office.

Pam Marsh is seeking election to Oregon's 5th State House District. She is not affiliated with a religious organization and believes that “one’s religious views are irrelevant to public office.” Marsh has been an Ashland City Council member since 2012, and she is a small business owner and manager of the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. She earned a BA in Political Science from Southern Oregon University. Marsh is committed to strengthening public education and health care delivery systems, and increasing affordable housing and the minimum wage. She will promote legislation to address climate change by fostering an energy economy based on renewable resources and emerging technologies. The current Democratic incumbent is retiring, and Marsh is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.     

These candidates will now advance to the general election on November 8, 2016.  All three are seeking to fill open seats with the current Democratic incumbents seeking other offices or retiring.


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The mission of the Freethought Equality Fund (FEF) is to change the face of American politics and to achieve equality by increasing the number of open humanist and atheists, and their allies, in public office at all levels of government. FEF supports progressive candidates who are strong advocates for the separation of religion and government and the protection of American’s civil liberties. FEF is affiliated with the Center for Freethought Equality, which is the advocacy and political arm of the American Humanist Association. To learn more about the Freethought Equality Fund, visit Facebook and Twitter.

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