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Oregon Politics: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not?

Friday, October 03, 2014


Photo credit: iStock

Every Friday, GoLocalPDX breaks down who's rising and who's falling in the world of Oregon politics.

Check out who made the lists this week.


Everytown for Gun Safety: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s funded gun-control group reported Tuesday spending more than $56,000 on ads praising Gov. Kitzhaber on gun-safety issues. One of the ads features the brother-in-law of Steve Forsyth, one of the victims of the 2012 Clackamas Town Center shootings. Secretary of State filings also show the group is contributing to efforts to unseat state Republican Sen. Bruce Starr, who opposed a bill—which Kitzhaber supported—that would have expanded background checks for gun purchases in Oregon. 

Deborah Kafoury: Multnomah County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury is undoubtedly a rising star in Oregon politics. A former state legislator, Kafoury has a five-year track record of effective service on the county board. This past spring she handily defeated Jim Francesconi in the battle for county chair. In her first month in office, Kafoury was already meeting with dozens of community advocates, county department heads and thousands of county employees.

In an opinion piece written for GoLocal, Kafoury outlines her plan for tackling homelessness in Portland through “A Home for Everyone.” 

Monica Wehby: After two weeks of less-than-favorable publicity, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate is attempting to bounce back. Wehby launched TV ads attacking Sen. Jeff Merkley on the anniversary of the new federal health care law, and accused the incumbent of running a “smear campaign.” The Oregonian reports that during a conference call, Wehby told reporters that “Jeff can’t run on his record, he can’t run on what he has done for Oregon because everything that has gone on with Oregon has gotten worse.”

The Wehby campaign will also receive a boost from Arizona Sen. John McCain, who is arriving today to headline a fundraiser for Wehby.

Mark Edlen: The Portland developer is the latest addition to the urban renewal board. Mayor Charlie Hales originally appointed Edlen to the position, and the City Council voted Wednesday to confirm his appointment. Edlen has been lauded for his many development projects over the last several decades that have largely defined what Portland is today.

Given the impactful, and sometimes controversial, approaches the PDC has taken over the years to “build community,” it will be interesting to see how a big name like Edlen’s affects the institution. 

Technology Association of Oregon: The “Center for Cyber Excellence.” That is what leaders from the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) are calling a new, state-sponsored project that would enable skilled workers from Oregon universities to work in cyber security and enhance research in the cyber tech field.

To kick off the project, TAO is asking the state legislature for an initial $2.5 million over two years. 


Dennis Richardson: The Republican gubernatorial candidate may have violated elections laws by receiving donations of as much as $15,000 from a media consulting firm, and then paying that same firm $20,000 to made a TV ad. As GoLocal reports, the complaint was filed Tuesday by Frank Dixon, chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon (DPO).

The Richardson campaign called the complaint “outrageous,” asserting that the DPO is simply trying to distract from campaign finance investigations into the Kitzhaber campaign.   

City Hall Recall Effort: Ray Horton, the organizer of the effort to recall Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick, admitted defeat on Wednesday. Long considered a long-shot, the recall effort started in July and had until Oct. 9 to submit the necessary signatures from nearly 70,000 Portland voters. According to Horton, there simply wasn’t enough time to gather the remaining signatures.

Luckily for Hales and Novick, they can put this one behind them.   

Cynthia Kendoll: The president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform—a group that calls for undocumented immigrants to leave the U.S.— told Willamette Week regarding undocumented immigrants, “I don’t think they’re interested in becoming U.S. citizens. It’s just an organized assault on our culture.”

Racist much? Not according to Kendoll, who believes her campaign is delivering a message of “law and order.” Kendoll’s group is leading the “No” campaign against Measure 88, which, if passed, would allow limited drivers cards to people who can’t prove they are in the United States legally.  

Veterans Jobs Assistance: The National Guard’s Joint Transition Assistance Program, which helps place veterans returning from combat in jobs, suddenly ended this week. Members of Oregon’s Congressional delegation are trying to figure out why. The Oregonian reports that Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon called the abrupt end of the employment assistance program “deeply disappointing” and remains committed to ensuring that returning soldiers “receive the resources and support they have earned.”

More than 900 soldiers will be returning to Oregon next year from deployment locations including Afghanistan and Kuwait. 

Climate Change in Oregon: Climate change might mean hotter temperatures, but that doesn’t mean people are aware of it. While most politicians tend to focus their campaign messaging around jobs and the economy, it would be nice to see more conversations about what Oregon is doing to prepare for a much warmer future. 

Gus Wendel is a writer, organizer, and musician. Originally from Eastern Oregon, he now resides in Portland.

Banner Photo Credit: iStock 


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