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About Brenda

History of Civic Involvement

I began as an environmental activist in college. Later, while working a science educator, I was approached to help a grass-roots organization that was trying to save the Tualatin Hills Nature Park. This was the moment when I discovered how much more useful I could be in solving a problem before it started, through local government channels. It was a fast education in city planning that started something of a passion for me. After that landmark case, I was approached by several "Friends" groups and neighborhood associations to help them with their environmental and planning challenges. I found this volunteer work to be incredibly satisfying, and always maintained an interest, even if less activity, as I got married and became a mother.

Activism in Hillsboro

My family and I moved to Hillsboro about 11 years ago, while my son was an infant. We moved here from Portland specifically because we felt it was a better environment for raising a child. I still feel Hillsboro is an outstanding place for raising children. As a stay-at-home mom focused on her family's well-being, I naturally got involved in following local issues, and finding ways I could help. This included work on various campaigns, and offering testimony for causes I believed in, such as the preservation of rural reserves.

I joined the Hillsboro Planning and Zoning Hearings Board (PZHB) in 2009, and have been a member ever since, helping to guide Hillsboro's planning and development. The connections I made in the City through that involvement led to 2 years on the Advisory Committee for Citizen Involvement (ACCI), contributing to how the public learns about City planning projects. I was also selected to help represent the single home taxpayer in establishing new water rates for our area.

There are various other positions that I hold within other organizations. I serve as a Precinct Committee Person (PCP) and an Alternate Delegate for the State Central Committee (SCC) within the Democratic Party of Oregon, and am active with the Environmental, Education and Women's Caucuses. I have also been a member of the Washington County steering committee of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters (OLCV) for the past 2 years. And, if you've ever heard of Drinking Liberally (the political discussion group, not to be taken literally), I'm the Hillsboro Chapter Leader.

I am so appreciative of those who have called upon me to contribute ideas to problem solve within our City, and to find ways to make it better. The people I've come to know, through both volunteerism and City positions, are the real reason I love Hillsboro, and why I have felt compelled to pursue this office.

What Happened the Last Time I Ran for City Council in 2014?

Well....I was not a Political Science major in college, just a biologist and mother with a passion for local government. Even though I thought I was doing everything right, there were a lot of details in running for office that I had missed. I discovered shortly after filing that there was someone else in the race who was ideologically similar to myself, Kyle Allen. This was not a problem when it was a 2 person race, but then Monte Akers entered the race, and his ideology was different than myself and Kyle. Kyle and I agreed to meet before the deadline to withdraw to see who was in a better position to win. When we had that meeting, it was clear that that person was Kyle. He had started his campaign earlier, had done more fundraising, and was simply better positioned to win. Rather than dividing votes, I stepped out of the race and put my support behind Kyle. Despite an exciting surprise (aka disaster) with the ballots that still had my name on them, Kyle still won the race.

This time around, I started much sooner, have been following all the right steps, and have made it clear to everyone that I am not stepping out of this race.

Personal History

I was born in Southern California, but spent most of my youth in Southern Oregon. (I was Student Body President in 8th grade, and probably should have paid more attention to that.) I started my university career as a Biology major at the University of Southern California (USC), ultimately finishing a B.S. in Biology from Portland State University, and continuing for a Master's degree in Environmental Education from Southern Oregon University. My job history includes working for the State Dept. of Environmental Quality, and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. I spent a number of years working retail management (who hasn't?), and even spent some time as an International Tour Guide.

I was fortunate enough to be able to take 6 years off from working outside the home to be a stay-at-home mom. (That was far harder than working in an office.) I returned to part-time work in an Environmental Engineering office, and that re-kindled my passion for environmental activism. Following separation from my husband, I took a full-time position at my son's school, which is where I have been employed for the past 3 years. Spending time in an Elementary Education environment has also fueled a passion toward education reform and strengthening our schools.


Committee to Elect Brenda McCoy
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