Representative Ricki Ruiz, 26, is one of Oregon’s youngest legislators. Since 2020, he has represented Oregon House District 50 which covers the indigenous lands of Chinook and Cowlitz that make up Gresham and East Portland.
He received his second shot of Pfizer vaccine at Holy Redeemer School in North Portland, recently, at a clinic run by Multnomah County Public Health with community partners.
“I’m very impressed with this operation,” he said, looking around the school hall which was a hive of activity. That day 667 second doses of Pfizer were scheduled. The site was also a hub: a nurse took the vaccine from there to a nearby homeless shelter to give about 50 doses.
Vaccinators on duty included staff from Portland Fire & Rescue and Multnomah County’s Medical Reserve Corps—licensed health care professionals who volunteer. The Corps, which has 10 units around Oregon, can always use more help in the COVID-19 response.
Rep. Ruiz was raised in Gresham and graduated from Reynolds High School. He was the first in his family to graduate high school and, later, college. He also serves as a Gresham School board member.
His legislative priorities include housing, racial justice and education. During this session he introduced a bill that would require public schools and colleges to provide menstruation supplies free to students.
Once he’s fully vaccinated, he is hoping to visit with his family more often.
“The only effective way to end the pandemic is by getting vaccinated,” he said.
If you are a licensed physician, nurse, pharmacist, EMT, behavioral health provider, respiratory therapist, or other health care professional who would like to help with Oregon’s COVID-19 response , you can register to volunteer at SERV-OR.
This article first appeared in the May 11, 2021 issue of Oregon Coronavirus Update.