Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Real Stand-Up Guy

Hey guys, I want to introduce you to someone. Meet my state representative for the 48th district of Oregon, a guy named Mike Schaufler

Mike's been my Rep for about seven years. I'm ashamed to admit that, until recently, I didn't really know that. Like most people, I knew the President's name, Oregon's Governor and Portland's Mayor. Like (sadly) fewer people, I also knew my Senators names. My State Senator and Representative, though? Eh... not so much.

You might remember that back in March I and a group of people from Oregon's film industry went to our state capitol in Salem and lobbied for the passage for Senate Bill 621 and its companion bill, Senate Bill 863. Mike was good enough to meet with me (on short notice) and talk about the bills. I could tell from our first meeting that he was a "regular Joe," a working man in a suit. He got the positive economic impact that the bills would bring to the sate, but he also got the political realities of the economic crisis the state was facing. We had his support on the bill, but he didn't whitewash things - he let me know that it'd be an uphill battle to get it passed.

Fast-forward to late June of this year... the session was winding down, and SB 621's future was in Jeopardy. Trish and I joined the dynamic Leanne Littrell and Lana Veenker as they were shuttling back and forth to Salem to lobby for SB 621's passage. Mike was on the front lines of that fight - he and I had several conversations in between votes about the bill, and he was instrumental in gaining the support that eventually got the bill passed.

Mike gets it. He's a regular guy who understands people who work hard for their daily dollar. He also knows that the best way to help working people at the bottom of the ladder is to help THEM, and not the people at the top of the ladder. Sit down with Mike, and you won't get a patrician attitude or the idea that he thinks he knows more than you do - he's the type of guy you might run into at your local diner, or out at your local supermarket.

This effort to pass SB 621 was a real wake-up call to me... if you've read the blog much in the past, you know that I keep an eye on politics. Those politics have always been on the national level, though... and this was a reminder that "all politics are local." Get to know your State Rep's and Senators - they really want to hear from you on the issues, and it's a great way to play a part in shaping the decisions that get made on a local level.

And if you're one of my neighbors in Happy Valley, get to know Mike. He's the type of guy you want on your side.


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