Jefferson Smith Shares the Rest of His Driving Record, Answers Questions on Insurance and Other Lapses
No doubt you saw a pair of reports last week by the Oregonian's Beth Slovic on mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith's dismal driving record since 2004. The O's stories, however, only got to part of Smith's history of license suspensions and didn't include his responses to questions about whether he drove while his license was suspended, whether he had insurance or not, and why, at one point, he waited two years to reinstate his license. At the Mercury's request, Smith's campaign turned over a list detailing Smith's driving record going back to the early 1990s. (Here's a DMV guide on infractions, if you're interested in comparing things.) Smith also answered some of those lingering questions that he hadn't when Slovic was asking. He says he likely drove, unknowingly, when his license was suspended. Especially during the last suspension, which his campaign says he didn't learn about until reporting his car stolen. He says he probably let his insurance lapse, and that's why he was cited for not having proof. As to the long gap, he blames it on not having the money and maybe also not being attentive to things he ought to have been minding. Smith, who's heading out for a vacation, submitted the following statement along with those answers and the list, all of which will follow on the jump. Smith clearly would rather be talking about his ideas for the city but must've decided the hubbub over all this wouldn't go away unless he took the tough step of admitting he made a mistake and confronted any lingering concerns head-on. I have an embarrassing driving record. When I first got into the race for mayor, a reporter did a story on it. It became more clear then that parts of my life would become the matter of public discussion — no matter how much we might think those things are related to policy or governance. There are a lot of things I’ve done in my life that I’m proud of; my driving record is something I am not proud of. I take it seriously and I’m sorry for it. I freely and frequently acknowledge that I am imperfect. This is one of my flaws and has been an embarrassing blindspot. I also have strengths, and I think those strengths (including an occasional willingness to recognize my weaknesses) will make me a good mayor for our city. And ultimately, I hope this race will be not about the past—and not about me—but about the people and future of Portland. I want to be clear about my driving record, even though it’s uncomfortable. So here it is: [ Subscribe to the comments on this story ]
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