Now Reading
Sister Act Fails: Susheela Jayapal Loses U.S. Congress Bid From Oregon’s 3rd District in Democratic Primary

Sister Act Fails: Susheela Jayapal Loses U.S. Congress Bid From Oregon’s 3rd District in Democratic Primary

  • The elder sister of progressive Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington, she previously served as Multnomah County commissioner.

Susheela Jayapal, the sister of Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), lost her bid for the U.S. Congress from Oregon’s 3rd District in yesterday’s Democratic primary. The former Multnomah County commissioner was defeated by state Rep. Maxine Dexter, a critical care doctor and two-term state lawmaker. She is almost assured election in November in a district that leans heavily Democratic. 

In a statement, also posted on X, Jayapal said she’s “proud” of the campaign she and her supporters ran. “We were clear, from the beginning, that we were going to run a campaign based on values.” She also expressed pride in “running a campaign in which people who have never before felt included, did. A campaign in which those who have felt on the margins, weren’t just at the table – were running the table.”

The elder Jayapal reportedly faced ire from her district’s Jewish leaders, the  Jewish Insider reported last December. According to the report, the concern stemmed from her action at an Oct. 12, 2023 county board meeting where she “declined to sign onto a statement condemning Hamas and standing with Israel.” This action has “fueled among local pro-Israel advocates who have yet to coalesce behind a viable candidate,” the publication added.  

The report clarified that until the meeting, the elder Jayapal “had no discernible history of public engagement” on the Middle East policy. However, now, “her approach to the war between Israel and Hamas suggests there is little distance between the two siblings on such matters.” Her younger sister, who leads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is among the most outspoken critics of Israel in the U.S. Congress.

Announcing her candidacy on Nov. 1, Jayapal had said it is “more important than ever that we have an unwavering progressive voice in Congress. She cited community health and safety, abortion rights, climate change, and “standing up to election deniers” as her signature issues.

She told  Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) that she “truly” believes this is a pivotal time for the district, for the state, for the country in so many different ways.” She continued: “We came through the pandemic, and where we have landed is in a place where there is more divisiveness than before. At the same time, we’ve got these challenges here locally where we need federal action and federal help.”

One of the first persons to endorse her was her sister.” On X, she cheered her sister. “My incredible sister Susheela just launched her campaign for Congress!,” Rep. Jayapal wrote. 

See Also

In addition to her sister’s backing, she rolled out endorsements from national progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), among others.  

She was elected to represent District 2 on the county board in 2019, making her the first Indian American to win an elected county office in Oregon. She won a reelection campaign last year. Before joining the board, she worked as a corporate lawyer, most recently working as the general counsel for Adidas America. As a commissioner, she has “pushed for immigration refugee services, racial justice programs, homelessness prevention policies and eviction defense support,” OPB said. She also focused on updating the county’s contracting practices with nonprofits to ensure that staff are fairly compensated. Most recently, she has called on the city of Portland to ban the use of leaded diesel at the city-run Portland International Raceway.

She told OPB that “she’s especially proud of her work at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when she pushed the state to provide equitable access to testing and vaccines in Multnomah County.” Another of her top accomplishments she said was “finalizing a contract with an online database company that helps property owners list vacant apartments, making them easier for homeless service providers to find.”

(Top photos, Susheela Jayapal / Facebook)

What's Your Reaction?
In Love
Not Sure
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2020 American Kahani LLC. All rights reserved.

The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
Scroll To Top