University of Oregon Law graduate Will Fisher is running as a Democrat for U.S. Congress in the 26th District of Texas. If he wins he will be the first Democrat to hold office in the district since 1984, according to GovTrack.
Fisher, 37, grew up in Oregon and lived there for most of his life before moving to Texas for economic opportunity. The 26th district and Texas as a whole are largely regarded as being majority Republican. Republican Michael Burgess has held the 26th district seat since 2003. He began his campaign after the 2016 campaign because he was unhappy with the results of the election.
“I feel strongly that it is my responsibility and others in districts like mine to fight tooth and nail to flip our districts in 2018,” Fisher said.
Fisher faces a tough challenge as a Democrat in the 26th district with incumbent winning over 65 percent of the vote in the last elections according to Politico. His platform resembles that of many Democrats, including protecting the rights of the LGBTQ, women and the disabled. He has used grassroots-style campaigning and has met with voters around the district in his effort to “Flip the 26th,” Fisher said.
“There is a narrative that Texas is this uber red, never-winnable state and it is not totally true. That’s more of a narrative that gets told and becomes reinforced by people acting in accordance with that narrative,” Fisher said. “I think our chances are as good as anybody’s in 2018.”
If Fisher wins, he will not be the first UO alum to hold a spot in the U.S. Congress. Current Oregon Senator Ron Wyden also graduated from the school of law. Clark W. Thompson also attended UO and went on to serve as representative for Texas in the U.S. Congress according to the biographical directory of Congress.
During his time at the UO Law school, Fisher said he learned to respect the rule of law and the views and beliefs of those who disagree with him.
“It taught me to think deeply. It taught me to think critically about issues involving public policy, involving the role of government in our lives [and] involving the role of law in our lives,” Fisher said. “It did more than that too. When I graduated from the University of Oregon, I graduated being very confident in myself and my capabilities as an attorney, but also taking away certain values that inform me still today.”
Fisher grew up in Gresham, Oregon, in a conservative middle-class family in a state that is often liberal. This experience taught him to be accepting of those with different political beliefs and lifestyles. In 2013, he moved to Texas – a much more conservative state where he currently works as a lawyer.
After the 2016 presidential election, Fisher said he was unhappy with the result. The election did not represent his values and the values that represent the United States. He became politically active by organizing within the democratic party and eventually beginning his campaign for Congress.
“After the election, I started organizing within the democratic party to grow and strengthen the party in this area, and after a lot of time and thought and consideration with my wife and I, it felt like the best thing we could do was to throw my hat in the ring,” Fisher said.