How BlueOregon encouraged me to stop blogging, and start working.

By Paulie Brading of Medford, Oregon. Paulie is the chair of the Jackson County Democratic Party.

It is no secret that I am a frequent commenter on BlueOregon. This is the story of how posting comments on BlueOregon led me from the sidelines to the frontlines.

Since the days when I was a starry-eyed teenager standing next to the actress Jill St. John, watching her dazzle the men at a large sawmill in her efforts to help Eugene McCarthy win the 1968 Oregon Primary against Robert F. Kennedy, I have been a kind of quiet Democrat.

Sure, I lent my floor space and my fridge to several campaign workers over the years as presidential campaigns came and went. I wrote and called my congressional representatives. I wrote many LTE over the years. I voted.

But, it was posting blog comments on BlueOregon that moved me to become the Chair of the Jackson County Democrats. I was stunned when the nominating committee approached me for the position of Chair. After a long late-night talk with my husband, I agreed to run. I was elected on November 30, 2006.

Let's rewind a bit.

When my husband and I moved back to Southern Oregon in June after many years in the Portland Metro area I walked into the permanent Jackson County Headquarters in late September and asked, "Where are all the signs and bumper stickers for Governor Kulongoski's campaign?"

I learned the good folks didn't even have a liaison to Ted's campaign. Talk about a seriously stealth campaign. I asked to use the phone at HQ and contacted Ted's campaign. A young man was quickly assigned to me as my contact. The signs and stickers came. I advertised their existence on our email list. Business was brisk. I was invited to sit in on several meetings at the Democratic HQ and quickly began to make what I thought were little tiny contributions.

I organized a Kulongoski/Saxton debate watch pizza party. The TV studios where the debate was held are a block away from the Medford Democratic Headquarters. I begged, pleaded and twisted arms until Ted's campaign staff agreed that the Governor would stop by after the debate. Governor Kulongoski handed Saxton his hat in that debate! A large crowd of sign carrying supporters greeted Governor Kulongoski outside the TV studio. The governor looked pumped up as he entered the side door of the studios. We marched back to HQ, ate our pizza and watched the debate together. Following the debate, Governor Kulongoski swooped in with his security team of handsome state troopers. A cold beer was placed in the Governor's hand. He was greeted with cheers, applause, and thumps on his back.

Leaning up against a wall in the back of the large crowds I watched a young man from the Ukraine, a newly minted United States citizen shake Ted's hand and tell our governor how important democracy is to him and his family. A young Hispanic teenage girl received a gentle hug and a kiss on the cheek after her first meeting ever with any Governor. Later, I heard her shrieking into her cell phone, "The Governor kissed me!" That young lady is now one of our office volunteers.

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My niece, Rachel Vorberg-Rugh - a sometime BlueOregon contributor - connected me early on to the circle hanging around the water cooler discussing Oregon politics.

It was you - the regular crew of contributors and commenters - that informed me and got me out of my comfortable seat, away from my laptop and my view of Nuthatches, Chickadees, Finches and Grosbeaks.

To all of you I say thank you.

And to all of you, I say 2008 is the election to get out of your comfortable seats and blow off some doors.

Comments

  • Big Barton (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Paulie,

    you were invaluable to the Kulongoski campaign. I enjoyed working with you, and I am glad that you will be at the helm to lead Jackson County's efforts against Gordon Smith. We have a real shot at taking out a conservative incumbent with people like you around the state.

  • Russell (unverified)
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    Paulie - I had no clue that you were the driving force behind the governors visit following the Medford debate. The charisma and passion you bring will help to initiate a change in Southern Oregon from red to blue. I look forward to helping you in any capacity:)

    Russell

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    You have a great group to work with, congratulations Pauli

  • anony (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Russell- Southern Oregon is turning blue. With Sen. Alan Bates and Rep. Peter Buckley at the helm (and Commissioners Jack Walker and CW Smith making fools of themselves) Jackson County Democrats' strength is growing by the day.

    <h2>Congratulations, Paulie. Just one question: now that Westlund is officially a Democrat and you are a newly minted party leader...will you seriously consider him as a member of our party and cease blindly bashing him?</h2>
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