Jeff Reardon: A video interview

T.A. Barnhart

Jeff Reardon is a Navy vet, a school teacher, a former school district board member, and a 21-year veteran of Tectronix. He’s also a citizen of House District 48, and he’s decided that the time has come to retire the incumbent state representative, Mike Schaufler. I spoke with Reardon a few days ago about his decision and the various factors that led him to undertake such a risky endeavor.

First we spoke about his life: his childhood, work career and the events that brought him to the primary campaign of 2012.

“I learned how to play well with others.” We spent little time in the half-hour interview talking about Schaufler. While it was the incumbent’s many negatives that led people to call for someone to primary him, Reardon has focused on his own strengths and experience throughout the campaign. This positive approach has the dual effect, of course, of highlighting what so many object to in Schaufler’s behavior.

When talking about the issues, two stood out foremost: education and jobs.

As a teacher about to retire from the classroom, and a former member of the David Douglas School Board, Reardon can speak with hard-earned authenticity in Salem. He’ll bring insight few other legislators can match, including the current insights he’ll gain from his wife, Annette Mattson, who is in her second term on the same school board.

Reardon, it turns out, is having a great time door-knocking.

Some voters like that he’s a teacher; others simply appreciate that he’s come to them to hear their thoughts. Despite the hard slog of the campaign, he’s buoyed by the knowledge that his effort to bring real democratic (and Democratic) representation to HD 48 is appreciated by thousands of people, inside the district and beyond.

After all, State Representative Jeff Reardon for HD 48 means no Rep Schaufler causing grief for other House districts across the state.

Don't sit back & hope Jeff wins. If replacing Schaufler with a real progressive, an educator, someone dedicated to caring for the enviroment, someone who will listen to his constituents, and a man who will, in his own words, play nice with others; then you have to do something. One evening or afternoon; then you can celebrate his victory on May 15th. Head to his website,

A few things I didn't include in the main article:

One of the themes I noticed in our interview was resiliency. This is someone who could move from Kelso to long stretches of time submersed in a submarine, a man who after working at a major tech firm for over two decades would pick up the pieces of getting laid off and return to his first career, teaching. Survival as a politician and elected official requires the ability to respond to challenges in ways you once might have thought unnecessary.

“Thank you” is something he hears a lot from those who know Schaufler and have been hoping for a real Democrat to challenge him. Of course, he was one of those who had been harboring the same hope; now he’s the one people are pinning their hopes on.

“I’ve got a lot of small business support,” he said. The first person to contact him after he threw his hat into the ring was a business owner from Happy Valley, the heart of HD 49 prior to redistricting (on the floor of the House, where representatives refer to each other by assigned nicknames rather than by name, Schaufler has been “the representative from Happy Valley”). He wanted to put up signs, publicly endorse Jeff, anything to help get the campaign rolling. “Since then, people have been calling, they’ve been going to the website, giving their money, giving their time. It’s been this outpouring, this groundswell of support…. It has me assured I’m doing the right thing.” He adds, “It’s going to happen.”


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