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Merkley kicks off Senate campaign


Speaker of the Oregon House and U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Merkley, podium, introduces his family — wife, Mary; son, Jonathan and daughter, Brynne — at a rally held last month to launch his Senate campaign’s kickoff tour of Oregon. Standing behind Merkley (figuratively and literally) are, from left, Oregon House colleagues, Representatives Chip Shields, Tobias Read, Larry Galizio and Diane Rosenbaum.
Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley, state representative from District 47 in the heart of Mid-county, who is now running for United States Senate, had political luminaries help launch his campaign kickoff Monday, Sept. 17 from the parking lot of UNITE, a union and labor hall in Southeast Portland.

Politicos of Oregon’s first female governor, Barbara Roberts, who at one time held the same house seat as Merkley; Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams, favored to be Portland’s next mayor; and a host of state representatives were on hand as a crowd of hundreds of supporters cheered Merkley on.

Roberts, along with Gov. Ted Kulongoski, is cochair of Merkley’s U.S. Senate campaign.
Merkley said that current U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith sees the doors of the Senate chamber as “doors to opportunism” for the wealthy and powerful, while Merkley sees those same doors as the “doors to opportunity” for every American family.

An idealist in the truest sense, Merkley’s right, it is about class in America — always has been and always will be. Is America a ‘me’ or ‘we’ society? He asks the question: As Americans, are we going to look out for each other or take, beg, borrow and steal everything we can for us and our cronies and others be damned?

Merkley said his campaign will be about creating greater opportunities for every Oregonian. “The Bush-Smith agenda has put working families last. I will put them first,” he said. “We need living-wage jobs, affordable health care for every citizen, and smart investments in education, the economy and national defense.”

He also said that a top priority will be to bring a responsible end to the war in Iraq. “We need to restore sanity to America’s foreign policy and to regain the respect and esteem our nation has lost. Sadly, Gordon Smith is unwilling or unable to take a firm stance against the Bush administration’s tragic mistakes.”

Merkley is a five-term member of the Oregon House of Representatives. He was elected Speaker of the House in January after Democrats reclaimed control of the legislature in the 2006 election.

Originally from Myrtle Creek, Ore., Merkley’s family moved to Portland when he was young, settling in Southeast. Merkley was elected student body president at David Douglas School High School, later graduating from Stanford University and obtaining his master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University.

Upon graduation Merkley worked in Washington D.C. at the office of the secretary of defense, then at the Congressional Budget Office, returning to Oregon in 1991, where he was local director for Habitat for Humanities, then director of Housing Development at Human Solutions in Mid-county. Merkley later served seven years as president of the World Affairs Council of Oregon before running for the Oregon House of Representatives.

His Western Oregon campaign tour took him through Medford, Roseburg, Eugene, Newport, Lincoln City and Salem.

During the campaign tour, at the stop in Roseburg, Merkley — a true blue, progressive Democrat — said, “For one thing, I come from this part of the state, and I’m fighting for working families. Senator Smith has fought for the elites of this nation and for opportunism for those elites. The state is not filled with elites. It’s filled with working families like yours, so it doesn’t matter where your address is. But it does matter where your heart is.”

To learn more about Jeff Merkley visit
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