Ruffin brings a decade of leadership in progressive politics and movement building
PORTLAND – Our Oregon is pleased to announce that Michele Ruffin has been selected as its next Executive Director, effective May 1. Ruffin brings to the role a decade of deep experience advancing critical progressive policies in coalition, on the ballot, and at the legislature.
“We could not be more thrilled to have Michele lead Our Oregon,” said Courtney Graham, political director of SEIU Local 503. “She is a proven progressive leader who knows how to forge real connections, build power in marginalized communities, and deliver transformational policy wins.”
Ruffin served as the political director of Forward Together and Forward Together Action for five years. In that role, she led a first-of–its-kind deep canvassing program in Oregon to soundly defeat Measures 105 (repealing Oregon’s sanctuary law) and 106 (limiting public funds for abortion care) by building relationships with voters of color and having long-form conversations about abortion and immigrant rights. Ruffin has also served as a policy associate for Governor Kate Brown and most recently on the government relations team for the Oregon Education Association. In all of her advocacy work, Ruffin is a tireless champion for building political power for queer and trans Oregonians of color and their families.
Ruffin will step into the executive director role at Our Oregon as the organization enters its 18th year. Our Oregon serves as a strategic leader and coalition coordinator in the state’s progressive political arena, with an emphasis on ballot measures and get-out-the-vote efforts. Recent successes include defeating anti-immigrant, anti-union, anti-democracy, and anti-choice ballot measures, promoting and achieving school funding goals, holding politicians accountable for costly walkouts, and leading large-scale coalition efforts to build a fair system of corporate taxes.
“I’m excited to lead Our Oregon and work in coalition with so many incredible organizations across the state,” said Ruffin. “I firmly believe that together we can create bold and inclusive campaigns that advance progressive change on the ballot and create tangible wins for our most impacted communities.”
Ruffin was selected after an extensive search conducted by Our Oregon’s board, which includes SEIU Local 503, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, PCUN, Oregon Education Association, Oregon AFSCME, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, and Oregon AFL-CIO.
“Michele brings to Our Oregon not only a wealth of campaign and coalition-building expertise but also a clear, compelling vision for the future,” said Lamar Wise, political equity manager at Oregon AFSCME. “We are excited to see Michele move Our Oregon forward and promote economic, racial, and social justice across the state.”