Monday, September 13, 2010

13 Enviros host Governor Kitzhaber

Humble author and the Guv
Friday evening, I attended a cocktail party/fund-raiser hosted by the Portland-based 13 Enviros political action committee.  The event was held in support of Governor Kitzhaber's campaign to be (re)elected to the governor's mansion this year.

I arrived at the home of Nicole Cordan, at the foot of Mount Tabor shortly after 6pm to find a crowd of well-dressed, finely-mannered Portland political activists enjoying smoked salmon, a delicious taco bar, fresh fruit, barbecued ribs, beer, wine and various other delectable goodies. 

The event was a mere twenty-some blocks from my house in the Hawthorne area, which made it very convenient.  I was a tad self-conscious at the event, seeing as I was clad in my usual summer attire of shorts, tee-shirt, and sandals, while most of the other attendees were dressed in elegant evening wear.  (Well, after all, the invitation did state that the event was a "cocktail party.")  Nonetheless, I partook of the good noshes and tried to remain inconspicuous...

...which I did successfully until I was approached by an out-going gentleman who saw me standing by myself, came forward and extended his hand with a friendly smile.  "Bob Stacey," he said.  "I'm running for Metro President."

We shook, and I did my best to engage Bob about his candidacy for Metro President, but the truth is that I'm not up to speed on Metro issues to the extent that I should be, so I couldn't formulate pertinent questions.  Bob related his ideas about Metro, about where it should go, about his vision for its future.  I asked him about his ideas for growth in the Portland metro area and he seemed emphatic about the need to preserve our farmlands and countryside.  He talked a bit about his plans to provide incentive for in-fill development, which sounded good to me.  I'll have to investigate his web page between now and voting time to learn more.

Metro President hopeful Bob Stacey
Governor Kitzhaber arrived unannounced, sometime around 7pm.  I was wandering around and more or less bumped into him. He was dressed in his trademark jacket, jeans and cowboy boots.  His natural good looks and easy manner marked him as a leader, and he had all the subtle polish of an accomplished politician. 

When I approached him, he made and held eye contact.  I never once saw his eyes stray to the name tag I had affixed to my shirt, and yet he greeted me by name.  "Hi, Dade.  Thanks for coming," he said, extending his hand.

I asked the governor about his plans to fund our public schools and about how Oregon might address our revenue shortfalls.  "The revenue is just not going to be there for a couple years," he told me.  (I'm paraphrasing.)  "We need to get the economy going.  That will bring revenues into line."  I thought this was a frank answer. 

Governor Kitzhaber delivering his remarks on Friday evening
Shortly after I spoke with him, Governor Kitzhaber delivered some remarks to everyone.  Since 13 Enviros mostly focuses on environmental issues, the governor related how, in his youth, he came to know Oregon through its rivers:  the Umpqua, the Santiam, the Deschutes.  He told how he believes that the life cycle of Northwest salmon can serve as metaphor for the importance of preserving Oregon, about how important it is, in these difficult economic times, not to take short-cuts on the environment.
Well, Governor, I'm on board with all of that.  And I'm proud to support you in your reelection bid.  Let's win in November.

Note:  Shout out to my old childhood friend, Jeff Stuhr, whom I ran into at the event.  Good to see you, Jeff!

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