Kaliko Castille is a working-class political, communications and development strategist who has spent the last 10 years in the cannabis reform movement and industry before joining Brown Hope as Director of Development and Communications.
He grew up in Milwaukie, graduating in the class of 2005. He and his wife Sara live in the Ardenwald neighborhood, with their four month old daughter Kalikolehuaokalani, just down the street from where Kaliko grew up. He also currently serves on the board of the Mustang Born Scholarship Foundation, helping to raise money for Milwaukie High School students.
He is the Co-Founder of ThndrStrm Strategies, a digital marketing and communications firm specializing in helping political campaigns and businesses develop and execute their digital strategy.
Kaliko also currently serves as President of the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), where he is focused on creating an equitable cannabis industry and repairing the damage from prohibition to black and brown communities.
Investing in Working Families
I grew up in a working class family. My Mom worked the night shift at a retirement home and my Dad has been a union laborer for over 25 years.
I understand the importance of protecting the right to unionize, getting paid a living wage and having health insurance so that you can provide for your family.
Now as working parents ourselves, with a 4 month old daughter, my wife and I have had to have tough conversations about the cost of childcare while feeling the need to go back to work during some of the most precious moments of our baby’s life.
For me, investing in working families means:
- Universal Pre-K
- Baby Bonds
- Investing in our students at all levels
- Guaranteed basic income for new mothers
Affordable Housing / Houselessness
I’m running because I know what it’s like to get priced out of your hometown. I grew up right here in Milwaukie, I went to elementary school at Linwood Elementary, I went to middle school at Rowe, and I graduated from Milwaukie High School. I found myself priced out of our town at a time I should have been able to afford to reinvest the love our community gave me here. I want to make sure that everyone who wants to live comfortably in Milwaukie can, and will.
I believe that housing is a human right, and I will do everything I can to fight for laws that prioritize housing first, that expand access to affordable housing for working class families, and that keep people in their homes. For our community to remain healthy, housing must exist. Safe, secure, economical housing has a direct impact on child welfare, economic opportunity, mental health stability, and overall wellness.
As a State Representative, I will work with my fellow legislators, housing advocates, community-based organizations and all other stakeholders to develop comprehensive legislation that treats our current housing and houselessness crisis as the emergency that it is.
Prioritizing Mental Healthcare
After 40+ years of disinvesting in mental health, we are in the midst of a statewide crisis when it comes to mental health access. Oregon is ranked 51st in the country (including D.C.) when it comes to rates of mental illness and access to care.
My wife is a mental health professional and I’ve seen how long the wait lists are for folks who aren’t even in crisis trying to access private mental health treatment, not to mention how it can be nearly impossible for our houseless neighbors in crisis. We have a demand for mental health treatment that has outstripped our supply of qualified mental health professionals.
We must address this statewide crisis by:
- Incentivizing people to become mental health professionals to increase access to care
- Invest and expand programs like CAHOOTS and Portland Street Response to respond mental health related calls instead of police
- Investing in mental professionals in schools to help both teachers and students cope with stressors of pandemic-era school life
Combating Climate Crisis
I believe that the climate crisis is an existential threat to humanity and as the father of a 5 month old daughter, I’m running because I can’t afford to leave her future in the hands of the status quo.
We are seeing the effects of climate change now. Whether it’s wildfires or droughts, Oregon must prepare and invest in mitigation strategies in order to save lives.
As a Native Hawaiian, living in harmony with mother earth is something that is in my bones and my bloodline. Our culture sees the earth as a member of our family, not a commodity to be sold off to the highest bidder.
As State Representative, I will make sure that we are centering native, Indigenous and other underrepresented voices who are being disproportionately impacted by climate change so that we:
- Stop fossil usage and rapidly decarbonize our economy
- Invest in clean and renewable energy sources and move towards a carbon negative future.
- Reimagine our food system by incentivizing local food production and small family farms