By Jack Lorts of Fossil, Oregon. Jack is a retired teacher & Fossil School Superintendent - and is the chair of DPO's rural caucus.
Excitement filled the air at the Pendleton Convention Center on Saturday morning. The Governor was coming! We were the first step on his barnstorming tour of Eastern Oregon--Pendelton, Baker City, Bend, ending on the coast in Coos Bay.
When you're using the governor's time less than ten days before the election you want to make it worthwhile for him. Get the media out! Get the voters out. Get other candidates. Get all of the above. But what is the media in "Greater Pendleton"? In addition to the East Oregonian and the papers from Hermiston and La Grande, that would mean the television stations clear up in the tri-cities of Washington. And what and where were the voters, supporters?
Believe it or not there are 100,000 residents in the "Greater Pendleton" area, the 3rd largest voter concentration in the sprawling 2nd Congressional District, behind Bend and the Medford area. This made it an imperative visit for Demo 2nd C.D. candidate Carol Voisin. Also, on hand were local Oregon House candidates Ben Talley and Tonia St. Germain.
Things got underway with a rousing welcome by Yours Truly, reminding all present of the need for a progressive Congress and Oregon Legislature, not one controlled by Republican legislators who are "wined and dined in Hawaii" by lobbyists. Following this rabble-rousing beginning, St. Germain, Ben Talley, and Carol Voisin beat the drum for a progressive legislative branch.
Then Governor Ted. He'd been accompanied on the plane by Independent Ben Westlund to speak on the evils of Measures 41 and 48. After fumbling my own introduction of Westlund -- I forgot his name! -- Ben introduced the Gov.
Governor Ted wowed the packed-in crowd of 150 progressive activists for twenty minutes or so, railing against the regressive plans of the Saxton campaign. He was on fire! His Education Enterprise played well to the mostly rural audience; his Healthy Kids plan also appealed to this jam-packed roomful of progressive rural Democrats (and that's not an oxymoron!)
But the Governor had a full day ahead of him....on to Baker City, Bend, etc. But his visit to Pendelton had been time well spent. After a few brief interviews with those Washington TV stations and the East Oregonian, Governor Ted flew away, on to visit other towns in the Eastern half of our state.