A month of walking in one afternoon

T.A. Barnhart

On a good evening of walking, your typical Oregon House or Senate candidate may be able to visit 15 to 30 houses. With luck, half those doors will be answered by a voter. Some visits may be brief: a quick introduction, a few words about policy stands, maybe a dismissive “sorry, not tonight.” Other voters may want to talk at length, take advantage of what might be their only chance to grill the candidate first hand. For a variety of reasons, the candidate may get to talk to 10 to 20 people in an evening.

On Sunday afternoon, the Bus Project talked to 853 people. Do the math: that’s more than a month’s worth of door-knocking by a candidate, a huge boost for any campaign. On Sunday, out in Gresham, the boost was for Nick Kahl and Greg Matthews. Both candidates are that much closer to gaining a seat in the House of Representatives in November.

Some other numbers:

And how do you get to 3,273 doors in less than 3 hours for two great candidates? You bring 120 people on two busses (and a few cars) to Davis Park, where Steve Novick tells them how special (and adorable) they are and how their efforts that day will pay dividends down the road. You provide all they need, from food and water and sunscreen to a chance to talk to the candidate beforehand (or maybe State Sen Laurie Monnes Anderson). And then you send them out to do what an inspired citizen does best: talk to other citizens.

The Bus Project, after all, is Oregon’s premier grassroots activist organization. Their only mission is to get citizens active, to get citizens involved in the democratic process. When a high-caliber candidate like Greg Matthews — Army paratrooper, former firefighter, cop and small business owner — shakes his head in awe of the energy and support of people who barely know him and yet will give up an entire Sunday just for him and Nick Kahl — well, you know you are dealing with something special. That’s the Bus Project.

If you want to be part of something special, you have more chances this summer. We’re teaming up with the Oregon League of Conservation Voter in Bend August 16 & 17 for Julie Stiegler, candidate for HD 54. (It's not just a Bus trip: it's mini Bus vacation.) Then on Sunday, August 24, it’s down to Clackamas County for Brent Barton (I’ll be on my way to Denver, so I’ll be safe from renegade frisbees). And we’re coming back to East County on September 6th. A lot of great times ahead, and I hope my admittedly rough video gives you a bit of an idea of what might be in store.

Drop a line to the Bus and tell Henry you want to get on the Bus. Make democracy happen.

And if you're out in the Gresham area, contact Greg Matthews & Nick Kahl; help get them into the Legislature to continue the work of making Oregon work for all of us.

  • Laura (unverified)

    Sounds like they did a lot of great work. One quick note, T.A., Judy Stiegler is running in HD 54.

  • (Show?)

    T.A., you're a rockstar. (And a fine example, by the way, of the volunteer leaders that add the magic to Bus Trips.)

    Something new for this year's Trips - Riders' Choice. Vols will determine the location of one of the final big fall Trips by voting the number of Trips they've been on this year - ride more, and your vote counts more. The Trips that T.A. mentions above are the last two that count for voting - the Aug 16/17 overnighter and the Aug 24 Trip.

    Obligatory sign-up linky: http://busproject.org/bustrips

    See you on the Bus.

  • (Show?)

    so who is Julie Stiegler, and why did she tell me...

    sorry, Judy. i'll apologize in person down in Bend!

  • Henry Kraemer (unverified)

    T.A. is an example to Oregon's progressive community. Engaged nationally, locally and globally. And he does a lot of it through the Bus.

    It's sometimes a bit too easy to get focused completely on the world of national politics. Those elections are incredibly important, but so are the ones right in our neck of the woods.

    If we're going to get truly universal health care in Oregon, it'll probably have to happen at the state level. And that'll only happen if we get to 36 progressive votes in the House.

    If we want to make Oregon the nation's leader in Green energy and bring countless family wage jobs here, it'll have to happen in the State Legislature.

    We need to elect folks like Nick Kahl, Greg Matthews, Brent Barton, Suzanne VanOrman, Judy Stiegler, Jim Gilbert and a legion of others. If we get just those first five, we'll be at 36 seats.

    But that'll only happen in folks hit the streets. So let's get on the Bus!


  • Kate & Ray (unverified)

    This was our first bus trip. Our kids had a great time and we are looking forward to the next one that we can go on. We really appreciated that it was a family friendly event. Thanks to all for putting it together!! We are looking forward to East County having 2 reps. Thanks again!!!

  • (Show?)

    As a resident of HD 49 (and former resident of HD 50), I wanted to say thanks to everyone who came out to help Nick and Greg. I look forward to the day when I have a state legislator who actually responds to my letters and calls. I haven't been able to get a response from Minnis in the 20 months I've lived here, and only got one response from Lim during the 2 years he was my representative.

    Even as busy as Nick and Greg have been on the campaign trail, I've always been able to get a response from both of their campaigns - most often from the candidates themselves. I know both will make great representatives down in Salem, and working together with State Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson they'll be able to get some good things done for east county.

    <h2>It will be a great day if we have Nick Kahl, Greg Matthews, Brent Barton, Suzanne VanOrman, Jefferson Smith, and Mike Schaufler all working together in the state house to get some funding and solutions out to east county. We've got some really big problems out this way with crime, poverty, etc., and we need people down in Salem working for us. Many times Minnis couldn't even be bothered to sign on as a named sponsor of bills directly affecting our area.</h2>

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