Follow your heart, and your head will follow. Why I support Bill Bradbury.

By Tim Raphael of Portland, Oregon. Tim is a long-time environmental advocate in Oregon. Tim says, "I am grateful to be able to track his home state politics on Blue Oregon from afar while spending the year in Santiago, Chile."

So let me try to set the scene for you ... it’s a late summer weekend in 2007 at the Oregon State Fair – clear blue sky day, a blur of elephant ears, strollers, barnyard animals, mimes, and dizzy-carnival-ride-sick kids -- and the last thing on anybody’s mind is Global Warming. But there’s Bill Bradbury, at that time our Secretary of State, standing on a plot of battered sod between a corn dog stand and the 4-H tent. Surrounded by some folding chairs, snakes of extension cords and a powerpoint projector, Bill is leading a discussion on An Inconvenient Truth for about a dozen people.

As he deciphers bar graphs of glacial ice data, historic temperature ranges and rising greenhouse gas concentrations, he is smiling. Why? Because Bill is a tireless organizer and a joyful leader. He could not have known then that just two years later millions of people in 181 different countries would participate in the global day of climate action. But Bill did know the importance of starting with 12 people or six or two, wherever they may be. Bill understands the math and magic of organizing. He is energized by the need and hope of finding common cause with people. And -- especially rare in politicians -- Bill is content to do the hard work away from the limelight. In short, Bill says yes, shows up and delivers.

Those are traits I want in my Governor, and every one of you who knows Bill has a similar story you could tell.

Watching many friends struggle with how to vote in the primary and tracking the increasingly bitter, eat-our-own comments on Blue Oregon, I’m struck by two things. First, the Alley and Dudley campaigns must be giddy. And second, some Democratic leaders seem to be discounting Bill’s passion, courage and optimism. “My heart is with Bradbury, but my head is with Kitzhaber” is a message delivered as if from some wise old uncle to his naive niece or nephew, and it is particularly irksome and patronizing. Passion, courage and optimism will be sorely needed to govern effectively given the job at hand. And if Kitzhaber’s appeal is based on some sense of inevitability about the outcome of the race, it would be smart to remember other recent “sure things” -- Hillary Clinton and Jim Francesconi come to mind.

Showing up and delivering on the Measure 66 and 67 campaign should count for something. It’s just the latest example of how Bill’s public record of accomplishment in the legislature and as Secretary of State is matched by an unwavering personal commitment to progressive change. I can’t think of a single policy fight in Oregon in the last two decades when Bill was not an early, articulate leader staking out a progressive position -- from gay rights to education funding to health care reform to reigning in excessive lottery commissions. I’m most familiar with his exceptional environmental and land use policy leadership -- even during the lonely days of the Measure 7 and Measure 37 campaigns. His support has been generous and unequivocal. If that means he leads with his heart, then more power to him. I’m all for it. We need more of it. Not less.

Bill is much more than a cheerleader for progressive causes. His campaign for Governor is refreshing for proposing substantive new solutions to the thorniest problems facing the state. Two ideas stand out. Bill’s proposal to create the Bank of Oregon (details here) is the single smartest, most creative proposal of the campaign and a welcome relief from the predictable pablum of job-creation-speak. The Bank of Oregon would be a powerful vehicle to reinvest Oregon tax dollars here in Oregon.

On education funding, Bill’s commitment to create $2 billion in additional funding to implement the Quality Education Model is the right goal. Mining $30 billion in foregone state tax revenue is the best place to start. A strategy to close tax giveaways certainly holds more promise than creating a new tax – sales tax or otherwise. The legislature’s reconsideration of the Business Energy Tax Credit during the special session offers a model for a thoughtful approach to reducing the revenue impact of a program without gutting its purpose.

I’ve got no axe to grind with John Kitzhaber. I am truly grateful we Democrats have two highly-qualified candidates for Governor who have demonstrated their commitment to creating a more equitable, healthy and sustainable state. I’ll gladly campaign for either in the general election. But in this primary, I’m following my heart, and it says Bill Bradbury for Governor.

  • LT (unverified)

    Love the headline.

    Having known both gentlemen for a long time, I am an undecided voter. (BTW, anyone who says "from what you write, you sound already decided" will have the effect of pointing me in the direction of the candidate they do not support---so think twice about such a comment).

    I am looking for a candidate who broadens the public debate in a way where we talk about issues and not personalities.

    When I talk about the virtue of public debate, yes, I am talking about the Portland debate moderated by Carl Wolfson. It should be a requirement that every major primary has at least one debate which is that thoughtful. There were times I agreed with either candidate (yes, that makes sense). There were times I liked what one candidate said better than the other. No, I don't have to say here which statements from which candidates I liked better. I didn't see the link until the debate had already started, so if someone knows where I can see the debate online from the beginning, I would appreciate it. Both Bill and John should be proud of their performance in that debate.

    I want a candidate who talks openly about kicker reform. A relative of mine said at lunch today "Well, if the state could afford to fund basic services AND send back kickers, that would be one thing. However, if they can't, funding the services is more important".

    If a nonpolitical (votes but not an activist) can talk about the kicker, why can't politicians?

    My state rep. likes the kicker but wants to restructure how it is calculated.

    There are a couple diff. kicker reform proposals I have heard about. The one least often mentioned is giving 85% of recipients 85% of their kicker back, but not sending out 6 figure kicker checks at a time when we need a rainy day fund.

    Are kicker checks still mailed? Do we need a whole statewide campaign for a constitutional amendment just to bring that into the 21st century? Wasn't it originally envisioned as a tax credit?

    Let's have an open public debate on why kicker refunds go to people who don't live and vote in Oregon.

    What is the role of Oregon's credit rating in the view of a future Gov.? Is it important?

    Since the state provides so much of the school funding, should they have a greater oversight role over pay for administrators? Or only unionized employees?

    Should there be pay and work evaluation oversight of any public manager making more than $100,000?

    If you seat 5 people around a table and asked them what Oregon public figure inspired them most and why, you might get 5 different answers. Given the historic independence of Oregon voters (going back decades) that is to be expected.

    Which candidate is most likely to inspire those not registered in major parties to register Dem. just to vote in the Gov. primary?

    This year, my standard of excellence is the late Ben Westlund. In any primary, if one candidate reminds me more of Ben than another one, that is the candidate I am most likely to vote for. yes, that would be following my heart.

  • Fools And Their Votes (unverified)

    Follow your heart, and your head will follow. Why I support Bill Bradbury.

    As in: Be ignorant and embrace Bradbury's mindless self-contradictory pandering for votes, and eventually you will fully intellectually rationalize your ignorance. And this is NOT support for any of the other wads announced right now.

  • Kurt Hagadakis (unverified)

    Title is a great way to teach kids to eat their veggies. IMHO, it's a rubbish way to vote. Very American though. Totally anti-intellectual. Perfectly honed to the reality testing challenged SE Portland activist. I completely understand the sentiment. So attend your local wiccan, or take a long hike. No doubt many find this appealing. No doubt they would have loved to have been taught geometry that way. "Forget about the fact you can't to basic algebra, you can do geometry by drawing beautiful curves...and that's just as good!"

    How about grow up, learn to think logically, and your heart will learn to love the truth?

    [Response to spammer removed. -editor.]

  • Mr. Read (unverified)

    Dear "Fools and Their Votes" -- if you'd been given a chair up on stage alongside Bradbury and Kitzhaber for the hour-and-a-half long debate before the Multnomah County Democrats, and allowed to spew your piece, I'm sure everyone in the room would've been able to point out the fool.

  • steve Novick (unverified)

    Tim - an excellent case for Bill. Except for the tax expenditures stuff. When you get back from Chile, you gotta sit down with me and actually go through the tax expenditure report. A strategy to tax Medicare benefits (for example) is decidedly not more politically palatable than a sales tax. Say hi to Kate!

  • Tim Raphael (unverified)

    Thanks Steve, You're on! I look forward to catching up. Save some fire for the general election! Tim

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