One who shows up.

Phyllis_randThe Salem Statesman-Journal has a great profile of Phyllis Rand, age 82 - a volunteer advocate (don't dare call her a lobbyist!) for the AARP of Oregon.

Like many in the Capitol, Rand exercises her constitutional right to persuade Oregon's lawmakers to see things her way, particularly on issues affecting seniors and health.

Sen. Margaret Carter, second only to Senate President Peter Courtney in terms of legislative longevity, said Rand's style is a gentle persuasion.

"She has a way of telling you things without your feeling an obligation to do them," said Carter, a Democrat from Portland who led the singing at a legislative committee meeting the day Rand turned 80 two years ago. "She comes across so politely, thanking us for supporting seniors because it's the right thing to do."

Unlike most in the Capitol, Rand has walked its hallways longer than some of its hallways have existed -- most committees meet in hearing rooms added to the Capitol in the mid-1970s -- and longer than any of the current group of lawmakers.

Oregon, like America, is run by the people who show up. Phyllis Rand has been showing up ever since 1959 - when Governor Mark Hatfield (age 36) was in his first term.


  • Amanda Fritz (unverified)

    "Oregon, like America, is run by the people who show up."

    How I wish that were true, especially of America. In real life, political decisions are often made by people with money, sometimes by a single phone call from one powerful person to another.

    It's delightful to read about Ms. Rand, and of course showing up will almost always have more effect than not showing up. But let's not go overboard with the illusion that our society is run by those who stand up, speak, and let themselves be seen and known.

  • (Show?)

    Sure, money accelerates and magnifies the power of particular people. I'm no pollyanna about that.

    But I think that too many regular folks see a little of that - and think it's the only thing that matters. The reality is that a few people who show up and start doing something actually CAN make a difference - especially if they're shining a light where no one else is watching, or organizing people who've never before been asked.

    It's a bit like the applause effect. Sure, in a large and crowded venue, if you stop clapping, no one will notice. But if everyone thought that way, the silence would profound.

    Start clapping. Ask your friends to clap with you. Ask your neighbors to start clapping. Pretty soon, you'll have people around you who join in because clapping is the thing to do. And soon, the noise will be deafening.

    (And by clapping, I mean doing something to change your community. Just do something.)

    And Amanda, you know that better than anyone. You may have lost your first campaign, but you certainly helped change politics in Portland. And if you stay involved, you'll continue to do so.

  • Patrick Allen (unverified)

    I sure agree with Kari on this one, at least in Oregon. I've had the opportunity over time to interact in the federal and Oregon legislative process. It always astounds me (especially after a trip to DC) how, in Oregon, a single person with a good idea really can still show up at the legislature, knock on a lot of doors, give good testimony, and get something done. Last session it was a guy named Dan Holcombe who thought raising worms should be treated the same as raising sheep or raising grass seed. HB 2581 declared vermiculture to be an agricultural activity. Biggest issue ever? No. But he was just a guy with an idea, not a financial big wig or a "player."

    <h2>I'm glad Oregon still has at least a little bit of that kind of policy-making ability in the system.</h2>
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