Jules Bailey took the oath of office as Multnomah County Commissioner for District 1 in the county boardroom before a gathering of family, friends, fellow elected leaders, and county employees.
Commissioner Bailey was sworn in by new County Chair Deborah Kafoury. He fills an office vacated by Chair Kafoury when she resigned to run for County Chair. “I’m so thrilled to serve with Deborah now that she’s Chair, and with my incredible fellow commissioners,” said Commissioner Bailey. “This county is in good hands.” He also thanked Liesl Wendt who served as interim commissioner of District 1 the past nine months.
A native Portlander, Commissioner Bailey noted his own personal connections to services the county provides. “I can see the Volunteers of America daycare center I went to as a child out my new office window,” he said. “That center was supported by the county.”
Commissioner Bailey is a former State Representative and he was introduced at the event by longtime family friend State Representative Lew Frederick. Rep. Frederick recalled making spaghetti dinners at his home for Commissioner Bailey when he was only three years old. “Jules learned from the adults around him that we have a duty to help the next generation,” recalled Rep. Frederick. “I’m so proud to see him take this next step as a leader.”
Commissioner Bailey reminded those gathered of the importance of the county’s work. “As the county’s tagline says, ‘this work matters.’ Over 15,000 people in our county are homeless or doubled up on a given night. Seventeen percent of county residents are food insecure and rely on the county to not go hungry. And we have far too many children, especially children of color, whose future institution is more likely to be a prison than a college.”
He recalled listening to a young man he met at a local non-profit that serves the homeless, addicted, and people who have been incarcerated. The young man said that those who had overcome these problems had all done so by making connections. “Connections are at the root of community,” Commissioner Bailey said. “And ultimately, that’s what we’re doing together: building community.”
The invocation at the swearing-in was provided by Pastor Jim Eney, a long time mentor for Commissioner Bailey . Commissioner Bailey noted that Jim had also provided his pre-marital counseling. “If he can start our marriage off on the right foot, I’m hoping he can do the same with my service at the county.”
Commissioner Bailey also thanked his wife Jessica for her support, including her approval of a new beard he grew on vacation.
He closed the ceremony by saying “I look forward to working with all of you to make sure critical county services are there for those who need them. Now let’s get to work.”