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JOHN KITZHABER: OREGON BABY BOOMER GOVERNOR

Governor Kitzhaber Speaking At Thomas Vaughan Memorial In Downtown Portland, via BoomerPdx.com

Governor Kitzhaber Speaking At Thomas Vaughan Memorial In Downtown Portland, via BoomerPdx.com

Boomerpdx is a non-affilliated blog giving a baby boomer perspective to Portland, Oregon, and beyond.

If it had a mission statement it would read like the Bible: Treat others as you would like to be treated.

No one goes wrong with the Golden Rule.

From a political point of view, especially in an election year, it’s a good idea to review leading candidates for high office.

In Oregon that office is governor.

In my role as Collection Manager for the Oregon Historical Society I had the pleasure of meeting many governors.

I shook hands with Mark Hatfield, Vic Atiyeh, Neil Goldschmidt, Barbara Roberts, and Tom McCall’s wife while carrying out the duties of history.

This happened because the Governor’s Mansion needed furniture. So did the ceremonial office in the State Capital as well as an exhibit venue inside the building.

Governor Roberts was the commencement speaker at my college graduation. Mrs. McCall donated some of her husband’s gear to history. He left big boots to fill.

I’ve enjoyed the governors and the work they’ve done for Oregon. Most of all I’ve enjoyed the lack of lock-step ideology from both parties.

Oregon is special like that. But will it last?

Sitting governor John Kitzhaber joins a long line of independent minded leaders moving Oregon into the future.

While he might place well in a Mel Gibson lookalike contest, he’s not Mel.

Instead, he’s a baby boomer from the early days of 1947, the first wave. Does that make him a hippie? Make that Dr. Hippie if anything. Except he looks more redneck with his mullet, jeans, and boots.

That picture clears up when his wikipedia page lists a domestic partner, or girlfriend, instead of spouse. And she’s twenty years younger than Governor K. And she sounds like she’s got a wild streak, just what a 67 year old man needs to stay in touch.

Does that sound boomer enough? How many single or divorced boomer men could use the sort of freshening up a sharp young woman leaning toward wild child brings to the table?

The easy answer is, “All of them.” But this lady would be too hard to handle for most stick in the mud older men. Not JK.

While this post is no endorsement of any particular candidate, call it an observation, I go back to the ideology notion.

Governor Kitzhaber faces an opponent in this election cycle who may have some ideology issues.

Republican Dennis Richardson might be a good man. If he’s elected, we’ll find out more. So far this is the news on him:

Via wikipedia: Richardson is listed as a Mormon with nine kids; a graduate of Brigham Young University (BYU) and J.Reuben Clark Law School (BYU Law founded in 1973.)

He’s listed as a decorated Army pilot who flew missions in Vietnam. (An aside: Army pilots are usually helicopter pilots and as such carry Warrant Officer rank. It was a tough job for anyone.)

Which one is the governor for Oregon? After the elections we’ll either have a man in his mid to late sixties who’s been in office long enough to know what he wants to do with the Big Stick of leadership, or a new guy with a new agenda also in his mid-sixties.

With the issues from a woman’s right to choose, execution of death row inmates, and the influence of outside money like the Koch Brothers investment in U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Monica Wehby, which man will act to balance Oregon’s place in the Union, and which one will repeat ideas fed from ideological interests?

Oregon does’t need a lightning rod in the governor’s office any more than it needs a reminder of the Oregon Citizen’s Alliance and their champion Lon Mabon.

If John Kitzhaber or Dennis Richardson wins this election, let’s hope they stay on the Oregon Trail of progress and don’t play the hate card, the ideology card, or the slam women hard card.

Let’s keep it on the up and up and vote accordingly.

 

 

About David Gillaspie
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