Senate Candidates Visit Eastern Oregon

By Jack Lorts, of Fossil, Oregon.  Jack is the chair of the DPO Rural Caucus and the Wheeler County Democrats. He is president of Fossil City Council.

Last weekend (November 10-11) both Jeff Merkley and Steve Novick made campaign swings through Eastern Oregon, and that is the kind of strategy we need to encourage to make progress in the rural areas of the state. There’s a good reason why Ron Wyden regularly carries Eastern Oregon, and it has something to do with showing up.

Although their itineraries differed slightly, both Jeff and Steve began last Saturday making stops in the Columbia Gorge, Jeff breakfasting with supporters in The Dalles and Steve making a stop in Arlington. They were both headed for La Grande where the DPO had a regional training taking place for grass roots activists. Jeff stopped off to visit with supporters along with way in Pendleton.

Both candidates spoke to the party regulars assembled in La Grande. Novick moved from there on into the Wallowas where he met with supporters at the Indigo Gallery in Joseph. Then both Merkley and Novick concluded the day Saturday with the big “Blues Bash” at the Baker City Elks Club, put together by the Baker County Demos--the one we saw advertised here on Blue Oregon. Both spoke to a rousing group of Baker County/Eastern Oregon Democrats.

Merkley finished a complete circle of Eastern Oregon on Sunday with stops in John Day and Fossil, a hard part of the state for Democrats and progressives. Here in Fossil we had some twenty-five local elected officials, supporters and interested citizens welcoming him to our senior center, where he gave a rousing stump speech and answered questions ranging from timber revenues to the war in Iraq. (We’d had Steve out to our Wheeler/Gilliam County Picnic in August!)

Sorry I couldn’t be all over the eastern part of the state to see and hear all of these appearances, but orchestrating the visit here to Fossil kept me busy. It is such visits as these that help to promote the Democratic and progressive agenda in our rural areas.

Thanks Jeff and Steve! Keep it up!

  • Dale Thompson (unverified)

    Just a footnote to Jack's encouraging words about Democrats in our part of the state. Yesterday I attended a Greg Walden "town hall" meeting here in Condon (he later went to Fossil) and I was amazed at how in 1 1/2 hours of talking Greg forgot, or at least never once mentioned, the name George Bush. Also, until brought up by me from the audience, Mr. Walden didn't mention the war or his vote to support Bush's veto the SCHIP bill. Oh, and like his friend Gordon Smith, he had thought Hillary Clinton had some good ideas about how to deal with the "health care crisis" that has he been "really concerned about." I also listened closely to Walden's at length comments about Immigration ("at the top of everybody's list, including mine", says Walden) and learned that he is in favor of all sides on the issue. In comparison with our two Democratic Senate candidates,our Representative doesn't hold up very well but unfortuantely we haven't found anyone to run against him.

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