OR-5: Kurt Schrader is In

Kurt_schraderEarlier today, State Senator Kurt Schrader (D-Canby) announced his candidacy for Oregon's 5th Congressional District, making him the only Democrat running for the seat so far.

From the Associated Press:

State Sen. Kurt Schrader announced Monday that he'll run for retiring U.S. Rep. Darlene Hooley's Congressional seat, becoming the first Democrat to jump into what's shaping up as a marquee race for both parties.

Schrader, who serves as the co-chair of the Legislature's powerful budget-writing committee, could have the Democratic field all to himself. His wife, Clackamas County Commissioner Martha Schrader, was considering a run, but said she'll stand down for her husband.

And earlier Monday, another Democrat who had expressed interest in the race, former Monmouth mayor Paul Evans, took himself out of the running.

"If Schrader is the only serious candidate on the Democratic side, that's great news for him," said Portland pollster Tim Hibbitts. "A Republican primary battle could cause them to use up resources, and may leave some bad feelings."

Schrader, a veterinarian and farmer, said that he'd like to continue Hooley's signature work on methamphetamines, identity theft and veterans' issues. He also said he hoped to work on broader topics, including health care reform, and transportation issues.

Read the rest. Discuss.

  • John Forbes (unverified)

    Kurt will be a strong candidate and has potential to be a good very good U.S. legislator as he has been in Salem. His moderation will not excite Democratic activists, but who is the alternative at this point?

    Let us hope that the goes beyond Hooley's "signature work", and tries to tackle some tough national/global problems like really reducing energy consumption and lowering the national debt, not to mention ending the stupid and illegal war in Iraq.

  • verasoie (unverified)

    I don't know a ton about what Hooley did regarding the meth problem, nor what Schrader intends to do, but I'd love to see someone clamp down on the trafficking of pilfered copper and other metals, as the devastation from these larcenies is extremely costly to farmers, schools, communities, etc.

    We need a system where metal scrap businesses fingerprint, positively ID, and don't shell out cash to purveyors of scrap metal, much of what is already done in pawn shops. They should have to wait 30 days to get paid for their metal, or something like that, because there's no end to the metal that'll be stolen by meth addicts so long as it is an easy source for quick money.

    This would be a good topic for the candidates for Attorney General too, btw.

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    Good points. Look at the damage done to the fiber optic cables on one of Portland's bridges just recently. The thieves were looking for metal when they burned through the pipes, but instead melted important fiber optic cables. So now the bridge's traffic cams are down and some people temporarily lost Internet service.

    Or the recent thefts of expensive statues that they then cut down and sell for scrap.

  • Jesse B. (unverified)

    Let's hope he doesn't take his love-loss of Higher Ed. with him to the U.S. House. It was hard enough trying to get funding from him as Co-Chair, who knows how big his head will be when he's a U.S. Rep., if he can win, that is. I doubt many college kids will be flocking to his campaign.

    We tend to remember those that are unkind to us.

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    Meth is an astoundingly serious problem. But I have to echo verasoie's excellent suggestions on how to deal with metals theft - which is being driven largely by Meth addiction.

  • verasoie (unverified)

    Jesse B., could you elaborate on your comments on Schrader vis-a-vis education funding?

    It'll be interesting to see how what I interpret you're saying about his record, which could be termed as "fiscally conservative" (even though I personally think that anyone giving higher education short-shrift is short-sighted), stacks up versus what evidently will be the Republican line against him-- "tax and spend liberal"-- according to the Republican quote in the article.

    I would like to think that perhaps he can neutralize their main attack line on him, but knowing how they play quick and loose with the facts, there's pretty much nothing you can do that won't be misrepresented or outright made up by them, which for me means that you should just do the right thing and be prepared to defend it despite the worst that they'll say.

  • Dylan (unverified)

    Fighting meth? ID theft? Transportation? YAWN

    Can we get someone else? Perhaps a candidate who will offer up more than boring platitudes and will actually talk about fighting to publicly finance federal campaigns, bring about a single-payer system, ending the earmark process, slashing the defense department's budget, or any other host of truly federal issues that need strong advocates.

    Hey Kurt, I have news for you. Every American is against traffic jams, meth use, and id theft. Why don't you take the opportunity of introducing to yourself to voters (like me) by actually coming out and standing for something. As a Dem voter in the 5th CD, please, oh Lord, give me another option.

  • Josh (unverified)

    "Every American is against traffic jams, meth use, and id theft."

    Yet every year no one ever does anything to stop these things. Maybe it is about time we elect some who will actually make it a priority to get the important things done that everyone agrees with.

    As a CD-5 voter I'm very excited to vote for Kurt.

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    (Personal to Brian McGuigan: So there.)

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    If that's who we got, that's who we'll push. I would have really liked to see Paul in the race (and I guess this tends to put the kaibosh on the whole conspiracy to have Darlene retire late and shoehorn Evans in), but Schrader is probably a good fit for the district. One imagines his votes would look a lot like Darlene's, although this past year she's really taken some bold steps (for her) on impeachment and investigating Gordon Smith and a very solid anti-war record. When it comes to the war, civil liberties and jurisprudence, Hooley's votes were almost identical to the most lefty Congressperson in the House. If he could replicate her support of core Democratic principles in those areas, we could call it a wash.

    What I wouldn't have given to legally bug the Schrader house and listen to the negotiations on how THAT all came about! I bet they talked a lot of district/professional strategy--but you know the pillow talk had to creep in there some as well. :) Like Greg and Marcia Brady running for Senior Class President, x5.

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    If that's who we got, that's who we'll push.

    Well, TJ, if you're going to be so dismissive, why don't you run? You live in the district, right?

  • (Show?)

    I'm sorry, but this portion of the story is too good not to print here:

    Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee in Washington, D.C., said he welcomes Schrader's emergence as the lone Democratic contender. "Sen. Schrader has accumulated a long, liberal record of tax hikes and runaway spending," Spain said. "We plan to draw a very stark contrast between his record and the Republican position of lower taxes and smaller government."

    This is coming from the organization who may be investigated by the FBI for who it handled its money. And how will the state party be able to push this "runaway spending" issue? That they've done it themselves, so they recognize it?

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    I'm willing to bet that we could have sent out a press release announcing that Bart Simpson was running, and the NRCC would have kicked out the following blather:

    "Bart Simpson has accumulated a long, liberal record of tax hikes and runaway spending," Spain said. "We plan to draw a very stark contrast between his record and the Republican position of lower taxes and smaller government."

    Just pull the string in the back, and that's what you get from NRCC spokespuppets.

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    Oh, but WAIT!!!

    Didja catch that little bit of sleight-of-hand. Read it again, sloooowly.

    "We plan to draw a very stark contrast between his record and the Republican position of lower taxes and smaller government."

    The Republican WHAT? The Republican position of lower taxes and smaller government. That's right, they gotta talk about their "position" rather than their record. Because the Republican record is one of larger government.


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    Well, TJ, if you're going to be so dismissive, why don't you run? You live in the district, right?

    Dismissive? I beg your pardon? I explained why he'd be a good fit for the district, would likely be about as good as Hooley (who I like overall), and who would essentially satisfy me if his non-economic votes resembled hers. How am I dismissing him?

    I am allowed to suggest that he's not as progressive as I'd like, right? That's OK with you? With or without the subsequent agreement that he's a good choice and worth supporting, I can say that, yah?

    As for me, I'm in the district but I am perhaps one of the least plausible candidates for US Congress I have ever met. That hope is a little too audacious even for Barack, I think.* Recognizing one's own shortcomings for office, here again, should not be a prerequisite for questioning the candidacies of others--but hopefully my being self-cognizant enough to know that Schrader's a better candidate than ME, satisfies you.

    Besides, you couldn't pay me even Congressional salaries to go live back in the DC swamps.

    *Local or regional government as I continue to mellow and fatten, maybe. But never Congress.

  • Vixigoth (unverified)

    i live in his current Oregon legislative district. what i want to know is, what happened to the democratic interest in things like housing the destitute citizenry? Schrader never seemed to care much. This, in a county (clackamas) where the HUD homeless count in january gets to something like 7000 people. A crime, and on his (and his wife's) time (their county etc). Kurt, why don't you care or ever mention this? do you really think you should pander to the middle class me-generations (more than one of them)? cuz they are going to supposedly finance your campaign you think?

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    I am absolutely thrilled by Kurt's announcement. I have worked with him for years and know he is a strong advocate of education. As a career and education teacher in Clackamas County, I know I could count on him to understand the connection between teaching students academics and skills and preparing them for post-high school life and the connection with economics.

    Kurt is a straight shooter who has a strong work ethic, is driven, and can be counted on for doing what he says he will do.

  • Christopher Walker (unverified)

    In Oregon state senators serve a 4-year term, correct?

    Is Shrader's seat in the state legislature up this time?

  • Jill Thorn (unverified)

    State Senators serve 4 year terms and Senator Schrader is mid-term.

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)

    Schraeder will be a fine addition to Congress.

    Now, who's running against Walden this year?

  • Harry (unverified)

    Kurt might be a nice addition to Congress, IFF he gets elected. Which I doubt, as does he and his wife, since they decided to put up the spousal candidate with the least to lose when he does, since he is mid-term as a state Senator, and makes much less than her.

    As to Greg, he has no declared candidate, and he will only get token opposition. Dems grabbed over 30 Congressional seats in their landslide 2006 election, and in that race Greg won 66%. Carol and the other three are not stepping up this time around. Expect even weaker opposition this time around.

  • TrueBlue (unverified)

    The Legislature last session passed a monumental metal recycyling reform bill HB3026. It includes a requirement on scrapyards to video tape or a photograph the seller and also collect a description of their vehicle and license plate.

    The bill also features a requirement for proof of identification (and retention of those records) and both escalating fines and criminal penalties for the scrapyard for multiple violations.

    It was a bipartisan bill authored by Reps. BRUUN, SCHAUFLER, OLSON, BOONE, CLEM

  • BCM (unverified)


    Even a blind squirrel can find a nut, Kari. Congratulations, anyhow.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    I first met Kurt in '98 when he was a house member who was down in Lebanon , OR helping the late Dan Wilkerson in his losing campaign against Jeff Kropft. Kurt impressed me then as a genuine and friendly person and a smart and hardworking politician.

    This is clearly a tough ditrict, dominated by the longtime R leaning Marion County and the 50-50 Clackamas COunty. Many activists will inevitably complain about Kurt and some of his moderate views, but there is no doubt he is a good candidate for this distict.

    It would be nice if Kurt focusses on a big issue, maybe defecit reduction and fighting against permanent tax cuts for the rich would be good with his Ways and Means background. WHile Bummenauer is assocaited with livability/transportation, DeFazio with workers issues/government accountability/anti war, and Walden with pro timber/natural resources, it has never been totally evident where Hooley's passion is (or WU's). Having said that, Darlene has done a great job and has worked hard on a lot of important issues.

  • LT (unverified)

    I am glad Kurt is running, and if he keeps his promise to continue Darlene's work on veterans issues I believe he will be successful (Kopetski defeated Denny Smith at least partly due to the volunteer help of Vietnam veterans).

    About the quote Jenni provided: Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee in Washington, D.C., said he welcomes Schrader's emergence as the lone Democratic contender. "Sen. Schrader has accumulated a long, liberal record of tax hikes and runaway spending," Spain said. "We plan to draw a very stark contrast between his record and the Republican position of lower taxes and smaller government."

    NRCC is going to lecture anyone else on financial management??

    I recall talking to the wife of one of the rural Republican legislators from a downstate rural district--someone without a great grasp of Oregon geography. The woman's remark was along the lines of "those liberal Portland Democrats and what they did to the state budget". So I asked what Portlanders she was talking about and one she mentioned was Kurt.

    Somehow I suspect a Canby veterinarian is not most people's idea of a Portlander. At least not some of my old friends from Clackamas County.

  • BooBoo (unverified)

    Pleeeaassse. Someone Else! Kurt is just republican-lite. It's pathetic that the State Democratic Party can get a strong candidate.

  • harpy (unverified)

    Over the last 5 years as, a constituent of both Hooley and Schrader, I had an easier time meeting and discussing issues with Hooley and her staff, even with her limited time in the state (and Hooley is not known as a radical progressive, to be sure)! Schrader and his office would never respond or engage in any way and that worries me. Isn't there anyone else out there?!?

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    Kurt is just republican-lite

    Citation please boohoo. If you have no specifics, it's just a personal attack.

    Schrader and his office would never respond or engage in any way

    Gonna have to take this one with a sackful of salt too, as:

    A) You are posting under a pseudonym, and it's scary enough to take someone at their word when you know who they are, but you just look like some anonymous person with an axe to grind.

    B) My personal experience from over a decade ago to the present with the Schraders has been quite the opposite.

    The very first time I went to the capitol to lobby, it was Kurt Schrader and his LA Martha, that made me feel at home, showed me the ropes, and reminded me that they all put their pants on one leg at a time.

  • LT (unverified)

    BooBoo and Harpy---recently there was an attack against Republicans by St. Sen. Republicans which contained something I didn't think was factually accurate. It was an area Ways and Means would know about. I contacted Kurt's St. Sen. office and within days there was an email back from Kurt himself saying "here's what actually happened". It was very useful information.

    Sounds like some people with crafted screen names are fans of another candidate (Erickson? Mannix? someone else?) and are just trying to talk down a good candidate.

    (Like some other people I use my initials and there are real people I talk with face to face who know who I am.)

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    Schrader and his office would never respond or engage in any way and that worries me. Isn't there anyone else out there?!?

    Schrader's office was singularly unhelpful to the point of being rude when asked during this session about the status of the fusion bill. The woman answering the phone had no idea what was going on, what Schrader's position or intent was--and pretty much refused to try to find out, repeatedly saying "I just don't know" even after being told that's OK--what was being requested was for her to ASK. I also think it's highly rude to refer to strangers by their first name without permission, and she did so repeatedly in an ever more condescending tone.

    Of course Schrader's cmte killed the bill again, which is probably why she was so unhelpful--she didn't want to come out and say it was dead.

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    I also think it's highly rude to refer to strangers by their first name without permission, and she did so repeatedly in an ever more condescending tone.

    I agree. It seems she should atleast have asked, "May I call you Torrid?"

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)

    I'm not Sen. Schrader's constituent. However, I did once call his office to follow up on a bill I was interested in. I received a call back from Sen. Schrader himself rather than his legislative assistant. He was personable, direct, asnwered my questions and even speculated about how the bill would end up.

    It will be hard to persuade me Sen. Schrader is hard to talk to.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    Anyone who is unhappy that Kurt might be "Republican light "should look at the district numbers and ask if an ultraliberal candidiate could win. It is possible for a Democcrat like DeFazio to be a populist in a largely rural swing disctrict similar to the 5th, but even DeFazio has to emphasize some conservative views such as pro gun, while minimizing many liberal ones. DeFazio just narrolwy won in his first race, as did Hooley in her first race. Kurt needs to get elected first, and he is a good position to do so.

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    Glad to hear my experience isn't universal (although also not isolated, apparently). Perhaps the service level varies with the perception of a positive outcome on the phone call, which is unfortunate.

    "I agree. It seems she should atleast have asked, "May I call you Torrid?""

    As a rather tongue in cheek writer I am definitely not above less-than-respectful references to public figures--for instance yesterday I rather snarkily called Merkley "Jeffy." But the last time I talked to him face to face, at a 13 Enviros party, it was "Representative Merkley" or "Mr. Merkley" all the way. Because in English we don't have a formal pronoun like other languages, I think it's important to respect titles in that same assumptive manner until told otherwise by the other party (ie, "call me Jeff.")

    Beyond that simple courtesy, in ANY server-customer relationship, titles should rule unless otherwise allowed by the customer. When I get calls for mortgage loans, it's uncanny how many salespeople call me "Torrid." I stop them right there and say "man, how long has it been since you and I went out for drinks or a meal together?" They usually stutter and say they don't think they know me. AHA! Then quit referring to me like you do, asshole.

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    (ed: I may have started with "Speaker Merkley" as well; can't remember. I suppose that's really the most appropriate, although I hardly think "Rep." is discourteous.)

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Kurt Schrader is smart, hard working, and collaborative. He has worked hard to fund basic services at decent levels. He is more conservative on some issues than am I, but then, so is the 5th congressional district.

    Schrader has plenty of legislative experience. He is a farmer and veterinarian, and he wears cowboy boots. Kurt Schrader is a good fit for our mostly suburban and rural district.

  • Robert Harris (unverified)

    I have to say I'm happy that Sen. Schrader may move to Congress. Please elect him.

    You want specifics about his anti-progressive positions? For years he was a very big, if not THE, impediment in getting criminal indigent defense spending increased. From about 1992 through 2005 Ind Def. attorneys got about a 1%/year increase over the past 20 years. So we've lost to inflation for fifteen years. Partly because of his intransigence, we basically didn't prosecute C-Fels and Misdemeanor crimes on Oregon for three months. I have to admit though, under his leadership, we did see the hourly rate for indigent defense attorneys go up an amazing 12.5% this biennium. We're not making $45/hour instead of only $40/hour.

    I know that indigent defense pay probably isn't on the top of anyones list of important spending programs. Heck, when you combine criminal defendants and attorneys, I can't think of any class of people would be less likely to want to give money to. But this is a matter of Justice, common sense and fairness. And Sen. Schrader didn't get it, or didn't care. That should worry people.

  • Robert Harris (unverified)

    errors happen when you're running out of the office....

    no raises in hourly rates since 1992, or thereabouts. About a 1% raise over last 20 years all together.

    And we're NOW making $45/hour instead of only $40/hour.

  • harpy (unverified)

    It appears from responses that Sen. Schrader returns calls and emails and meets with constituents selectively when the issues they are interested in align with his. One occasion when I met with absolutely no response from him was when I went to Salem to testify for SM9, the resolution to end the war in Iraq. He was asked by another senator's office to meet me and he refused. I am his constituent and I have a family member who was KIA in Iraq. When interviewed on KPOJ he was dismissive of the resolution as meaningless and bad for the morale of the troops. His attitude toward me and and the resolution are NOT what we need in our next congress!

  • steelhead23 (unverified)

    Aargh! Fellow libs awaken - smell the Starbucks. The theives on Wall Street have just crushed this country's economy. The effects will be felt as much in Clackamas as NYC. Meth and metal thievery is a symptom of economic hopelessness. The central issue of our times is economic and the central economic issue is a woeful lack of transparency and control in finance. The U.S. is in the thrall of Milton Friedman and laissez faire capitalism. We are just beginning to pay the price for this foolishness. Anyone who wishes to represent this socialist must at the very least champion fairness and openness in U.S. finance and must include intense government regulation as a key to meeting these goals.

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