Vicki Walker for Governor?

VickiwalkerQuite a bit of news today about State Senator Vicki Walker (D-Eugene). Apparently, she's reserved VickiWalkerForGovernor.com and WalkerForGovernor.net.

She told the Oregonian she's thinking about it: Eugene's Walker sets her site on governor

Walker said she is interested in being governor, but she doesn't know whether she will run -- and if she does, whether it would be in 2006 or 2010.

Her denial to the Eugene Register-Guard was a bit stronger: State senator denies running for governor

The Democratic lawmaker said it would be a leap to conclude from such Internet domain names that she is running - or even thinking about running - next year for the office held by fellow Democrat and incumbent Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

Discuss.

Comments

  • PrimeTime (unverified)
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    As in, she's not ready for it. Same article in the Big O:

    Walker has been a vocal critic of the governor, a fellow Democrat, but she appeared flustered Monday when asked why she registered two Internet addresses last week that present her as a candidate for governor. "This kind of catches me by surprise," she said. "I need about 15 minutes to think about what I want to say."

    Oops.

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    She's bright and talented legislator, but this would be a bad move. Among MANY other challenges, she'd be fighting for the same modest pool of voters as Sorenson, who's also from Eugene.

    We wish her the best of luck, including the wisdom not to do this now.

  • hilsy (unverified)
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    While I agree with the sentiment of the Oregon Senate needs her, I say "run Vicki, run," and be sure to email me for support. Strong leadership is what the Democratic party needs and I just don't see that coming from Ted "let's raise all our important revenue from gambling by the poor" Kulongoski.

    And if Jack Roberts and Ron Sexton resolve their differences so that only one of them runs the next time, the Dems will have one heck of a problem. However, I'm convinced the right wing of the GOP will present the state with yet another completely unelectable statewide candidate.

    Knowing that, I still would like a stronger advocate in the state house.

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    Wow, I really don't think Vicki is up to the task.

    Of course, I have to admit that Ted isn't either. The more I think about the options that have presented themselves, the more I understand what California did. Speaking of which, has anyone registered draftdannyglover.com?

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    For fans of Sorensen, this is probably not good news. There's some thought that Sorensen, if he couldn't win, could at least get the Guv to tack left for once. With Walker in the election, it will muddy the waters.

    I'll tell you who is really excited: the GOP, who almost beat Ted in '02, and was looking at how to scratch together a little support against the now-incumbent. A nasty primary season is just what the GOP ordered. Which is not to say a nasty primary doesn't benefit Oregonian voters, but it's not going to benefit the Dems.

    I've been interested in Sorensen's bid from the start; this makes me think progressives better make a choice quick, back a candidate, and make sure s/he wins. Otherwise, get on the Ted train and stop Mannix et. al.

  • Kent (unverified)
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    Really folks, what are the chances that a Eugene liberal is going to win the state?

    The Republicans will have her dressed in Birkenstocks, wearing tie-die, performing abortions, and sipping chai in 10-seconds flat.

    Yeah, OK, Ted was from Eugene at one point too. But big difference there. He was a Marine and a steelworker and a truck driver and all that good macho shit too. Plus, he held various statewide offices long before he ran for governor.

    Regardless of what you think about Vicki, and personally I doubt she's ready for prime time, it just seems to me that running as a liberal from Eugene is about like the Democrats nominating a self-identified liberal from Mass. And look how that's turned out.

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    Some of my best friends are liberals from Eugene.

    I don't know anything about Vicki Walker except what I read in the newspapers and she doesn't seem ready for prime time to me.

    That's probably not a good sign.

  • J. Smalls (unverified)
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    I hear that Willamette Week is floating Jefferson Smith as a 2006 contender...! Anyone seen that?

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    Jefferson Smith? Oh please, that guy is one of the most obnoxious people in the state, which is saying something.

    On the other hand, maybe the state would be better off with an inexperience, unqualified windbag.

    Woo-hoo! Get on the bus.

  • Mike (unverified)
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    Kent: Don't be so sure about how she will be painted or how quickly. She works with Michael Grossman, right? I mean, this is her picute on his web site, right? I think to underestimate her readyness is a mistake.

  • J. Smalls (unverified)
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    OMG! Not so stealth anymore!

    Gov. Ted Kulongoski, at just 58 percent approval in a recent poll among fellow Democrats, may face a 2006 primary challenge from Democratic activist Jefferson Smith. Founder of the Oregon Bus Project, Smith has been meeting with business and labor leaders in a stealth exploratory campaign. In Smith's favor: the guv's flaccid enviro record, frosty relations with unions and what threatens to be a major budget imbroglio with school supporters. The reality check: Smith has no record of holding office-but plenty of critics who view him as a self-important glad-hander. Hey, in politics, isn't that a bonus?

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    J.-

    Thanks for posting that. Now I don't feel so lonely being a critic!

    But in all seriousness, that Ted's relationships are so bad that Jeff can be seen as at all viable given his lack of experience should be a reality check for the gov's camp.

  • Karynn (unverified)
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    Aww. Rorovitz is just bitter because the last time he tried to put together a 300 person canvass, nobody came.

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    Jeff wasn't running a stealth campaign. He wasn't running any campaign. He was meeting all over the place to get money so we could maintain the BUS. He has been desperate to make sure we are able to grow the Bus so we have a chance at taking a few seats in the House this cycle. Jeff is even a supporter of Ted and has no intentions to run against him. The Willamette Week which I usually love is stupid hear. They didn't even call him before that published this. The bigger question in my mind is who planted this shit. All it does is make Jeff look bad and makes it even harder for the Bus to raise money. Oh and Rorovitz what’s your deal? Jeff not worked hard enough for no money for long enough? Have you every actually talked him?

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    Joe and Karynn,

    Sure have talked to him. Found him to be self important and I resent how much the Bus Project puts him out front.

    I like the project. I like getting a bunch of people to canvass. I don't like the messianic crap around Jeff that comes out of the project.

    Getting people involved is a great thing and has served a niche unfilled afer x-pac faded away (ok, how many people remember x-pac?). Ok, actually x-pac never really had an action oriented component, so the comparison is probably unfair to the bus project.

    But why does Jefferson get soooooo prominently featured in e-mails, publications, events etc? It should be about the people who canvass, and the candidates/issues the project works on.

    Keep in mind that my post came in response to a claim that he's running for Governor, which I'm glad to see Joe clear up. I'd love to hear Karynn and Joe give me their opinion on his qualifications for the state's top seat.

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    This is hilarious. I can't believe the Pulitzer Prize winning Willy Week actually put Smith for Governor in their paper; they should know better than to fall for such nonsense. Of course Jeff isn't running, because that would be stupid, and while Jeff is many things, stupid isn't one of 'em.

    I wouldn't underestimate Vicki Walker, and I sure wouldn't want to get on her bad side, but I doubt she wants to give up her Senate seat to run against Ted.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Jefferson Smith restored my faith in Democratic politics after having been so burned out I was a registered Independent for 6 years. He has more accomplishments than those who criticize him.

    Maybe the Bus Project should make it a point in the next election cycle to show Future Pac how elections are won.

  • lrose (unverified)
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    The truth about Jeff Smith is that he has only one motivation for everything he does--his sincere desire to make Oregon a better place and to stimulate this same desire in others. He has proven that he has the guts, intellect, and charisma to bring people together, both young and old, and inspire them to make social change. I think the fact that he is getting this press (despite the fact that it is a false speculation that he is considering running for Gov) is only a testament to the great interest people have in him and his future in politics.

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    Gag me, lrose. You can appreciate the guy's efforts without fawning all over him.

  • J. Smalls (unverified)
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    Maybe WW just mistook the State of Jefferson movement meetings?

  • Gone, but not forgotten (unverified)
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    I don’t know what Jefferson is planning. However, if he did run, we'd have one of the most energetic, volunteer driven, out-side-the-box campaigns the state has ever seen and Jeff could out speechify any candidate out there (except maybe Matt Hennessee) .

    While I’m sure Joe is right and the Willamette Week is wrong it is exciting to think about a camping that would be about something other than money and advertising. I’m sure Jefferson would bring the same innovative approach that he brought to the Bus to any winning campaign he would wage.

    I’d chalk this up just wishful thinking on the part of labor, business and the Willamette Week (The Willamette Week because they’re afraid Phil Busse will run for something else to boost his circulation and the need their own candidate).

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    I'll fawn all over him then. Jefferson's been meeting with business and labor leaders to maintain funding for the bus project. He's approached constantly by people asking him to run for office-he declines because he's too busy spending his time helping OTHER PEOPLE GET ELECTED. Rorvitz, what's your problem? You sound pissy and jealous. Why do you hate greatness? -Katy

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    Ok, just read the last post to see what I mean about the messianic crap. It's hard for me to believe that any person only has one single motivation in their entire life.

    He only seeks to serve and motivate others? Really? He isn't ever motivated by a desire for approval, hunger, lust, ego etc? I know that all these things motivate me and EVERY OTHER PERSON I'VE EVER MET.

    But not Jefferson! It's almost like he's Jesus or something.

    Again, if the guy wants to run for state rep, or school board or whatever that's fine with me. Run, get some experience in office and build a voting record. Then look at higher office.

    What bugs me is that this organization, which to his credit he pulled together, was also successful because of thousands of volunteer hours.

    He did a good job, a great job even. But can we talk about him in human terms?

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    Roar! Ladies and gentleman, let's welcome the fabulous and beautiful Katy to the neighborhood. Better not talk smack anymore, the regulator has arrived.

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    OOPS!

    It took me too long to type my last post. I meant to respond to Irose. Anne beat me to the punch.

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    In the interests of full disclosure, Katy is Jeff's sweetheart. She's allowed to fawn.

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    Hey, in re-reading the posts I've come to see the error in my ways. I'm getting a sense that I've misread the whole situation.

    Can somebody help me with a question that's hit me like a lightning flash: Is Jefferson the reincarnated soul of Bobby Kennedy?

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    C'mon J.E.S...would you sit by and let them talk smack about M.E.S?

    Thanks for the fabulous and beautiful. Right back at ya... -Katy

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    If it was Y.O.U., I'd lay the smack down. I've done it before and I'll do it again. Gazelle didn't nickname me The Enforcer for nothing!

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    One of my better nicknames. I might add.

  • The Enforcer (unverified)
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    It's a hell of a lot better than Notorious J.E.S. that's for sure.

  • doug (unverified)
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    sweet jesus, it's like nobody works in this state. not that rorovitz needs any more reaction to his misguided rants, but his postings drip with so much jealousy/insecurity that i may need to up my counseling visits to 3x a week just for reading them.

    hey roro, what have YOU done to make this a better state, mmmm?

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    Doug,

    I've worked in the health care and education field for approaching a decade in this state. I've spent a great deal of my time canvassing, phoning and organizing on various campaigns.

    But that's not the point. It's the messianic stuff that bugs me. To quote one point from above, "why do you hate greatness?"

    Come on, greatness? The Bus Project is a very good organization that with the help of hundreds of individuals has done a good job of supporting progressive candidates. But that's the argument to say that one person has achieved greatness?

    There are many people in this state that do wonderful things. But I seldom hear them revered with such language. The way that Jeff's followers refer to him is as though he's on par with Hatfield or McCall. In a moment of sober reflection would anyone really say that getting the bus project up and running is on par with what they accomplished?

    Look at what I say above, let the guy run for something and cast at least one public vote on one issue before you put him on the throne. Sheesh. Just take it down a notch, it's obnoxious.

  • Christy (unverified)
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    This is directed at Rorovitz questions regarding Jeff. No, he is not perfect. As someone who has spent considerable time on the Bus, he is not someone I idolize or hold up as the second coming (of Jesus or Bobby Kennedy or anyone, really). I do respect him. He is smart, tenacious, and funny... and no doubt he is going places.

    What bothers me most is the assertion that the Bus consciously puts him forward more than they should. In fact, I think that he barely gets mentioned in the email blasts, an email blast that includes a volunteer profile every time. Volunteers are clearly the focus of the Bus Project... You should come around more often and see for yourself.

    On another note, Vicki Walker should stay put in the Senate. I do think that someone needs to run against Ted in the primary other than Sorenson, someone viable in the general. Anyone know who that should be?

    I really do not want four more years of weak leadership and muddled, pretend progressivism. The $5.0 schools budget was it for me.

  • Katy (unverified)
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    Oh, c'mon Rorovitz! Don't you recongnize humor? Lighten up. -Katy

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    Katy,

    Really? That was humor?

    I guess I missed the sarcasm in being called pissy and jealous.

    So you found my Jesus/Bobby Kennedy lines funny right? LOL?

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    Katy,

    Really? That was humor?

    I guess I missed the sarcasm in being called pissy and jealous.

    So you found my Jesus/Bobby Kennedy lines funny right? LOL?

  • lrose (unverified)
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    You really do have trouble with sarcasm, she was being sarcastic about "greatness," but not about you being pissy and jealous.

  • lrose (unverified)
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    You really do have trouble with sarcasm, she was being sarcastic about "greatness," but not about you being pissy and jealous.

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    I've got this mental image of the Corleone Debating Team. The group photo has Jefferson at center resplendent in a white tux, with the demure and adoring Katy on his arm. They are flanked by two imposing figures in sensible pinstripes, The Notorious J.E.S. (Sorry, guess I'm just a traditionalist) and Chubby Gazelle. These two each hold smoking Thompson submachine guns with smoke still drifting from the downturned barrels.

    At their feet, in the foreground lie opponents who had badly underestimated their rhetorical skills, and dedication to The Family.

    <hr/>

    More seriously, sometimes a "cult of personality" especially when it's warranted by a very strong and dedicated leader is another useful tool. If The Faithful are less critical, so what? The job gets done. That's wa-a-a-a-ay more than can be said for 99.9% of the so called activist organizations out there.

    There will be plent of opportunity to eviscerate Jeff on specific issues when he actually runs for political office. Until then, I salute his efforts.

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    I've got this mental image of the Corleone Debating Team. The group photo has Jefferson at center resplendent in a white tux, with the demure and adoring Katy on his arm. They are flanked by two imposing figures in sensible pinstripes, The Notorious J.E.S. (Sorry, guess I'm just a traditionalist). These two each hold smoking Thompson submachine guns with smoke still drifting from the downturned barrels.

    At their feet, in the foreground lie opponents who had badly underestimated their rhetorical skills, and dedication to The Family.

    <hr/>

    More seriously, sometimes a "cult of personality" especially when it's warranted by a very strong and dedicated leader is another useful tool. If The Faithful are less critical, so what? The job gets done. That's wa-a-a-a-ay more than can be said for 99.9% of the so called activist organizations out there.

    There will be plent of opportunity to eviscerate Jeff on specific issues when he actually runs for political office. Until then, I salute his efforts.

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    Irose,

    I guess I missed the subtle transition from one insult to the next. You now that's the problem with text like this. Maybe next time she could use a little smiley face or something.

    By the way, (Hyperbole meant to make a point coming up!) it's a common feature of cults to wage personal attacks at people who question cult leader. ;-)

    Have you and Katy been getting tips from the Scientologists? :-0

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    Pat,

    Thanks for the image. That's the point I was trying to make, that you did so much better. Kudos.

  • lrose (unverified)
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    Rorovitz: I would agree that subtlety is also not a strength of yours.

  • Ashley (unverified)
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    For what it's worth, I used to think that Jefferson was a self-promotional egomaniac. It wasn't until I spent a lot of time with him during the 03-04 campaign season that I really came to appreciate his boundless energy and yes, sometimes annoying ways. I've been around him when he's offered ---downtown at midnight----to do the centipede for someone just so they'd register to vote. He kept everyone engaged and entertained, even after 6 hours on The Bus to Ashland in the middle of a heatwave. And he sure as hell works more hours (for free, I believe) than anyone I know in politics. There are hundreds of people in this state, mostly young people, who are involved in politics now, thanks to his dedication and the others he's inspired around him. I'd say we could use more like him....even if he does get a little annoying sometimes. When I get annoyed, I just remember about all those apathetic people he's inspired that I've never been able to.

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    This seems to come up again and again. If there's someone who's willing to work long hard hours organizing people to make positive change in our world, I don't give a good goddamn what his personal motivations are. He's organizing people to make positive change. That's a good thing, people. Stop bitching, and get to work.

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    Rorovitz;

    I don't think Jefferson is the messiah and in fact I used to call him that as a joke. But he is my friend and I'm not going to let some pissy ass take shots at him on a blog or in my presence without a response. I think you have Jefferson wrong. I know him better than you.

  • lrose (unverified)
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    Exactly Kari. Why tear anyone down who is good, hard-working, and effective at what they do?

  • Allison (unverified)
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    Jeff running for governor?

    If he is, I certainly haven't heard about it. And I work for him. He's more professional than a thinly veiled stealth-campaign that could be blown wide by the Willamette Week - perhaps the Pullitzer in investigative journalism has given them a big head.

    The Bus Project is in the middle of a huge membership campaign. Jefferson is better than anyone I know at getting the big donors in - but for the Bus, not an alleged governor run. In fact, if you all think the Bus Project is so great, how about you all become monthly donors? Check the website for details.

    As for the critiques that he is displayed over-prominantly in Bus Project materials, I think that shows a distinct lack of familiarity with the Bus Project. Perhaps it's time you got on the Bus email list so you may know what kind of prominence is displayed in our emails?

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    Jeff's tall and blond and charismatic and so of course he's going to wow people--and thereby offend others. Nice to see we're keeping this on a high plane.

    Personally, the most offensive comment on the thread is that he's "inexperienced." If by inexperienced we mean dedicated enough in politics to buy a bus, pack it with kids and haul it out to the streets to get state legislative candidates elected (whoo, what a PR stunt that was!), then I concede the argument. We should only demand from other candidates that they spend two elections cycles deeply involved in the political process.

    There are about a dozen folks over there at the Bus Project with the kind of inexperience that will likely play a major role in politics in the decades to come.

  • doug (unverified)
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    rorobnoxious-

    just a point of clarification. i called you jealous and insecure, not pissy. in fact, i rarely if ever use the word 'pissy'. i have, however, used the phrase 'sounds like somebody shit in your corn flakes.'

    and since you have worked in the healthcare field 'for approaching a decade', (on a side note, couldn't you have said 'for about 10 years'? 'for approaching a decade'? is a decade drawing nigh for said occupational endeavors?) you may have or know people who have access to prescription medications. my advice: take a handful of whatever you can get your hands on. you need to relax.

    that being said, i need to tell everybody that jefferson is the most sincere, kind, passionate...wait, wait, god, jeff's handwriting is so hard to read sometimes. whatever, i've said my peace.

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    I think Jefferson should run. He's more plugged into the system, knows more people than anyone I know (relevant political players), has people who will volunteer for him and would be a better governor than Kulongowski has been.

    Insert diatribe against Gov. K here.

    Our current governor really isn't cutting it for me and many dems. And, if Jefferson should lose, he could take on Smith in '08, cause someone has to, and I don't see a lot of other great choices out there.

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    Albert,

    I'm inclined to agree with you regarding the current governor, but yesterday he did come out unequivocally in favor of a new civil unions bill (SB1000) pushed by Kate Brown, Ben Westlund and others. Seemed shockingly bold for Ted K.

    Maybe his campaign manager is sharpening his focus........

  • LT (unverified)
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    May I remind you folks of the old slogan "can't beat something with nothing"?

    People seriously running for Governor would say "Here is what I would do instead...".

    Meanwhile, some Republicans are so conflicted they can't imagine that parents of school age children could be more interested in school funding than in cutting taxes. Ways and Means is going to be meeting in Medford, and Sal Esquivel's email newsletter had this statement: Second, the Joint Ways & Means Committee is scheduled to hold public hearings this Friday evening in McLoughlin Middle School, 320 West 2nd St., Medford. It will begin at 7:00 p.m. A local school superintendent has said "Stand for Children is spreading the word and recruiting attendees." Once again, single-interest advocates will be seeking to pack the house. It is my hope that common sense taxpaying citizens will come and have their voices heard too. ............... Tell your friends and come down to testify or just to show support. These are important issues to all of us and we should not let the single interest parties prevail. Looking forward to seeing you there. Many legislators add anyone who sends them an email to their email list. I suggest corresponding with a few you may not agree with, and thus getting a slant on the news you might not otherwise see. And of course, such information can then be sent to friends--one just emailed, thanking me for the heads up.

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    Kari and Chubby and others:

    Yes and yes and yes again.

    Most new organizations start due to the energies of a individual political entrepeneur. This is what is happening with the Bus Project. I don't know why people can't look at the successes that the project has had, and at least let some of the credit go to its hardworking and dedicated leader.

    If you think this is a personality cult, then only 5 more years will tell. But right now, give the Bus a break. They are still in the incipient phases, trying to institutionalize the organization.

    And hey, there's nothing particularly wrong in my book with marrying your own political ambitions with good works. No one said Jeff is Jesus, but it seems like folks want ONLY Jesus running these things. That's naive.

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    I was at the earliest meetings of the Oregon Bus Project. The Bus would have not began without Jefferson's energy and ability. Thousands of people have gotten involved in politics because of the Bus. I'm not going to kiss anyone's ass or talk smack about anyone else here but the last thing Jefferson needs is to get attacked for his efforts.

  • Julie Q (unverified)
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    "Jeff's tall and blond and charismatic "

    Actually, he's a fake blond. He's really a redhead.

  • Jefferson Smith (unverified)
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    Jeff here.

    Rorovitz is right: I agree with Rorovitz on at least a couple things. The focus on the Bus Project SHOULD be on the volunteers. I knocked on some doors, but only a tiny fraction of what the Bus volunteers did in total. I have given up a lot, but only a tiny fraction of what has been given up in total. Jennifer Yocom, Julie Duryea, Garrett Downen, Charles McGee, Jeremy Rogers, Joe Baessler, Alex Dewar, Saul Ettlin, Joe Smith, Shawn Alford, Jesse Cornett, Allison Sliter, Caitlin Baggott, Jason Skelton, John Wykoff, Erin Carper, Steve Rosenbaum -- all of the above people are folks (along with many more) who should be lauded and thanked all of the time. And that's not to mention all the fancy people who gave us a beginning of a brand when we were just a concept -- John Kitzhaber, Barbara Roberts, Art Alexakis, Earl Blumenauer, Same Underneath, Darlene Hooley, March 4th Marching Band, and many many more. These people helped attract the crowds that we've got (not my dumb ass). And that leaves out the candidates -- the particularly 9 Senate candidates who won that we helped a lot (only in some part due to anything we did), who have allowed us to build a track record that gives us anything to talk about. The Bus absolutely must be about more than any one person or candidate or issue. Rorovitz is right on that.

    Obvious Imperfection: Rorovitz is right on that too. I am woefully imperfect -- it's almost laughable to need to bring it up. One of the reasons I have not run for office before is that I have wanted to learn more and improve myself. I have been trying to get closer to my religious/spiritual side (I know, religious stuff is probably unwelcome on this blog, so I'll shut up there). I have been trying to improve my discipline. I want and need to learn and grow a lot. Rorovitz is right on that too.

    Attention: Let's focus on some other stuff. There are critical problems in the State. No single person is going to solve even one of them. We need 10,000 people. Bus Canvassers, phone bankers, donors, Onward Oregon online activists, Blue Oregon Bloggers, candidates, church members, union leaders, nonprofit activists, business people, voter registrants, precinct people, signature gatherers, lawyers, meeting planners, law enforcement, and campaign managers. Let's focus attention on what ballot measure(s) we should run and policies we should promote. Policies not just people. Ideas over identity.

    Word to the D.

    Onward, JS

  • LG (unverified)
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    Run, Vicki, run. I'd love to see the Senate go R again.

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    Thank you, Jefferson...for reminding us all what's really important here (Oregon's future).

    Now, who's ready to join Allison & become a monthly member of the Bus?

    The line starts here:

    BusProject.org

  • Curious G (unverified)
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    A non-denial denial! Hurray!

  • Rorovitz (unverified)
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    JS,

    Hey, thanks for that post. That was a classy move.

    What I appreciate about what you said is that it was humble and points to the efforts of the many, many people that it takes to get this hard work done.

    And hey, like I said above that many people didn't seem to notice, I think it'd be great if you ran for office. Start at the state leg, or PCC board or something.

    What I think gets missed in some of these discussions is that the work of a legislator/governor/city commissioner takes a wide skill set and knowledge base. I think that having an elected official start with a position that allows that individual to build their knowledge base before moving into a more complex environment is entirely appropriate.

    -Rorobnoxious.

open discussion

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