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Oregon2020 – Dacia Grayber

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These transcripts are presented to help users quickly find information they are searching for within the interview. Keywords may be searched using the CTL-F function. The software used provides a very rough but phonetically accurate transcription and for the most part, punctuation is omitted. Human speech patterns, being unique, make reading the interview transcript more difficult than listening to the interview audio file. It is recommended that users use the transcript and audio file together. For more information, visit the Candidate Interview Project at

This transcript is of the Dacia Grayber interview.

DM – Don Merrill
DG – Dacia Grayber

00:00 DM – I’m Don Merrill and talking with Dacia Grayber she’s a Democrat running for Oregon House District 35 Ms Grayber welcome

00:06 DG – thank you

00:08 DM – Ms Grayber, your campaign kickoff party was less than 48 hours ago

00:10 DG – yes it was

00:13 DM – why do you want to be in the Oregon house

00:16 DG – so dialing it back 20 years I have spent the last two decades working as a firefighter and paramedic in my communities and in that work I’ve had the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, kind of one call at a time and show up on someone’s worst day and make it better and through my career I have had a lot of exposure to all different folks in the world and I have started at sort of inform some of the advocacy that I’ve been working in for the last 10 years whether that is working in opening a houseless healthcare clinic in tigard or testifying down at the state capital for gun violence prevention work so two years ago, I was proctoring the metro fire camp at tualitin valley and I invited then representative Margaret Doroghty to come visit and she did she spent most of the day with us and she said at the end she said you think about running for office and I laughed I was like no way I am not politician there is there’s no way I’m going to do this and here I am in front of you so I have found through the work I’ve done that when you have a brave voice and you stand up for what you believe any show up for your community can change things them to continue working as a firefighter and the opportunity to take that to the next level is really exciting

01:42 DM – you mentioned youre a firefighter you’re also a paramedic with tualitin Valley and rescue and you knew you wanted to be one since you were 10 you say on your website you felt privileged to do what you do so what went through your mind last year when news broke that after nearly 2 decades Congress had finally got around approving the 9/11 fund for first responders that have been suffering from the toxic environment they were exposed with Ground Zero

02:09 DG – I can’t believe it took as long as it did that should have been a bipartisan effort from day one and not only just for first responders I mean we tend to enjoy a lot of public support but there are so many other people that were not under that umbrella that they didn’t have that seem health benefit who lived in new york at the time it’s the same thing that happened in Salem last year when we had folks on both sides of the aisle vote to cut public pensions

02:38 DM – in 2016 CNNMoney reported only 7% of the 1.1 million US firefighters are women the woman featured in the story Aaron Reagan who was a firefighter for LA County said I realized firefighting isnt for every girl but most girls never even consider it to be a possibility in your experience is that true and if girls ask you about becoming a firefighter would you tell them

03:04 DG – it is the best job in in the world and girls are more than capable of that the old adage that women can’t be firefighters is something that’s rooted in misogyny and I think frankly and insecurity because women are incredible firefighters now you do need to have standards for strength and your physical fitness and we absolutely have to have those but when you have a diverse team you are a stronger team and we have found that across the board I’m actually the chair of local 1660s equity and inclusion committee I’ve been that for the last seven years and in the time that I’ve been on that weve more than doubled our number of women that we employ as well as other minorities but I any woman thats questioning and hearing this out there look me up contact me on my website I will get you a ride along and I hook you up with what would be an outstanding experience

03:55 DM – you and your husband who is also a firefighter were featured last year the USA Today story about Oregons paid family medical leave house Bill 2005 which was signed into law by Gov. Brown makes Oregon one of only about eight states in the country to have it your husband was diagnosed with throat cancer and in the story you said at the time this was the beginning of the upside down world we been ever since what did you mean by that

04:23 DG – so he wasn’t sick we have as a benefit to us working for TDFR in our annual physicals and he had for a couple months he’d been snoring and he’s not he doesn’t snore and I thank goodness and he was choking on food but he never felt sick and so I was actually in a meeting talking about banning asbestos while he went for a routine follow-up because our department felt a lump on his neck I get this text message and by the way you should never ever tell your spouse this through text that said don’t freak out looks like I have throat cancer but that was March 21, 2019 and I am proud to say that he is cancer he has no evidence of disease it’s still a long journey ahead but so many things that we had taken for granted so many assumptions just the way our lives were gonna look we were thrown into an upside down world and you know I was already working in Salem as an advocate to testify for this bill based on the work I’d done with a houseless you know we never in a million years thought we’d be in a spot where that same law could have made a huge benefit to us because you know we have FMLA I have sick leave and vacation leave that I’ve accrued but I think always thought um you know were firefighters of public safety there’s got to be some some kind of leave and there isn’t we about the day after he got his CAT scan and a couple weeks before his surgery we went down to Salem when they had the large testimonies and both spoke to the bill and very thankfully that bill passed in it’s exciting because in the future Oregon families don’t have to choose between their job security and caring for their loved ones

06:17 DM – you also testified in support of this year’s house bill 4005

06:21 DG – yes

06:22 DM – which is a gun safety proposal that requires guns to be securely stored you know that proposal was aggressively attacked by gun rights proponents and I’ve talked with several of them and they say people have guns protect their homes and their families and they say in the time it takes to open a safe or undo a trigger lock the burglar who might have a gun has already killed but from your perspective you’ve seen what unsecured guns can do if you get into the legislature how would you find common ground with colleagues who see the issue so differently

06:53 DG -that’s something I feel really wonderful about the relationships that I’ve already built with folks across the aisle so my crew at work is deeply conservative I am a gun owner as well first of all which usually surprises people I keep them in a safe I grew up in kind of a world where I was either in the city or at my grandparents farm I knew how to shoot by the time I could run but I belive that doesn’t impede my ability to be safe and so I find that at the end of the day when we look to finding common ground that’s where we start and one thing I found particularly with gun violence prevention work at we all want to feel safe in our homes we have different avenues to that so how do we work together to find to find that and with this bill in particular what’s been most surprising to me especially talking with folks I work with whoever who are you know Oregon firearms Federation or who are very and I don’t want to say pro second amendment because I’m pro-Second Amendment too we have the Second Amendment no one is coming to take the guns away and no one is looking to remove that amendment at all there’s a lot of misinformation about this bill in particular you know the bill stipulates its first of all it’s not a criminal liability its civil liability and its all within reason so if you choose to have your gun on you in your house and you have a under your control its secured in your control you are not liable they’re not saying that you keep it locked up at all times if if you have it within with, so say you go to bed and you have in your bedside table you accepting responsibility for that same thing folks have been asking you know if I lock my door and someone breaks in and they steal my gun am I liable the answer is no you have 72 hours to report that and if it’s a hunting rifle and is not hunting season the law looks at that as reasonable the last thing I’ll say about house bill 4500 I’m obviously very passionate about it and it’s an issue I’ve worked on for years is that we know from polling if this goes to the ballot it will pass and that the bill that will go to the ballot that is going to be far more restrictive than the one that’s being worked on in the state legislature

09:08 DM – you said on your website that preserving and protecting our wild spaces is essential to who we are but the legislature has had two build this session that expanded the urban growth boundaries around Bend and Pendleton in Pendleton it’s helping to increase housing stock if you get into the legislature how will you address the need for space for people while preserving habitat for wildlife

09:34 DG – great question that’s one of those policies I would need to build out more but I believe that both of those can coexist you know by you know we have in Portland a lot of infill capability here and I know that’s a dirty word to a lot of folks especially in my district people don’t want to hear about infill but as we have more and more people moving here we need to continue to create housing that’s affordable I think we do have a mandate as Oregonians to prevent sprawl into some of these wild places when I say that when I’m specifically referring to are places like any obviously not local to like the Owyhee canyonlands or some of our national park areas or forestland that in some cases it’s been sold off for development you know how we find that balance that’s to be determined and that’s why we have a whole bunch of really well-informed people and planners and and folks in that industry that I would look to

10:35 DM – I used to work for the Department of Interior and so I was around and aware of a lot of controlled burns and I was also around when controlled burns became uncontrolled burns

10:49 DG – me too

10:50 DM – so I want to ask you every year we have a wildfire season every year the state announces controlled burns and sometimes those get out hand so what you as a firefighter what do you say as a potential legislator about how the state deals with of the use of fire to control fire

11:08 DG – we have done such a good job at putting fires out over the years that now we have some of this unmitigated fire growth so I am a fan of using fire to control fire but we have to be smart about how we do it you know we can get into the deep weeds about forest management I had someone the other day say that wildland fires only happen on federal lands and I was like oh I’m here to tell you I went on 3 slash fires at Weyerhaeuser last year I it’s not it’s not just there so we have to as we move deeper into the climate change crisis and you know as firefighters weve had to change our tactics and the way we look at things where I work we used to keep you know in the winter you have your chains on your rig then sometime in June you pull out your wildland gearing you put it on your rig last year we had our first two alarm wildland fire in February

12:06 DM – the Supreme Court is about to hear Louisiana abortion case thats like a Texas case the came three years earlier then clinic doctors not only had to also work in hospital but the clinics had have features of hospitals which of course the didn’t because theyre clinics Texas said they passed a law make abortion safer but critics didn’t believe it on your website you say you will fight any move Oregon makes to restrict a woman’s right to safe abortion are you worried that that Oregon is drifting that way

12:34 DG – I think that and I don’t have the exact numbers but last year there were dozens of abortion restriction bills that were proposed in the house and in the Senate most that were defeated I think with the I’m adamantly pro-choice and pro-abortion access and a know that’s a difficult position a lot of the my union membership is very conservative and Catholic and they are pro-life but I have seen you know both not personally but through friends and family I mean abortion keeps women safe abortion care is healthcare and we know with a Trump administration that even things you know sacred to our values as Roe V Wade are going to be under attack and so I think if we think that were safe in Oregon from that were kidding ourselves and so I will aggressively fight to make sure so Oregon is the only state that has no restrictions on abortion access at this point and I think it’s almost a mandate for us to lead that and to be that safe space for women we have women women coming from all over the country to seek abortion healthcare here and 98 just another thing people get caught up there is no such thing as as full-term abortion that doesn’t exist and we know that 98 to 99% of all abortions happen before 20 weeks and its a difficult issue and I want to see a world where every child is loved and wanted but sometimes there’s health reasons there’s other reasons and and I will hold the line on that we even have to go little further I’ve had experience working with transports from the prison system and our women who are in the prisons who are incarcerated don’t have access to abortion healthcare that’s safe and accessible for them because because of the insurance regulations they have to pay for their own security detail and most of those women who are incarcerated are in no position to do that

14:34 DM – Portland police have started sending crisis intervention team members with officers to situation that in the past have gotten people having a mental health crisis killed rather than helped Do you see that as progress

14:47 DG – the mental health response teams absolutely I have been working with the houseless specifically in Portland and in the Portland Metro area from most eight years now and the majority of my folks were learning all the time like a study came out the other day that over half of our houseless has a traumatic brain injury history but a lot of our folks are have either cycles of mental health concerns are certain addiction issues and when we are sending police in to add to a tense hostile situations things escalate quickly and a lot of these folks don’t understand what they’re proceeding in and I’ve watched and I consider a lot of these folks my friends and I’ve seen them get in a lot of trouble so folks that are trained in mental health response that know how to de-escalate know how to work with different populations and understand where folks are coming from that’s absolutely vital to helping solve our crisis that we have here and to de-escalating the violence

15:49 DM – Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have proposed ways to reduce student debt you say in your website that the cost of higher education is out of control why is it important for boomers & millennial to get debt relief and how will you fight to lower college costs for Oregon students

16:08 DG – I think especially and I’m also speaking as a mom of four teenagers three-year of whom are going to graduate in the next three years were a blended family the cost of higher education is almost prohibitive and even our avenues that we had towards towards reduced costs higher education like community college are getting to the point were a lot of folks are being priced out I don’t know as a state legislator I’m not going to be able to solve free college for all let’s put that on Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders but as far as from the state mandates you know we pass this really sweeping student success act and now I think the next step is to look both before that at pre-K and offering preschool programs and also post secondary so our community colleges and public institutions I think we need to have transparency and accountability in some of the overhead there and then look at ways to to to better fund our state institutions Oregon public colleges are some of the most expensive in the nation and it didnt always need to be that way that goes all the way back to believe its measure 5 where thing started increasing that brings up how you know to of the least sexy words in the state legislature are revenue reform and I think in this state we need to have real honest conversations about revenue reform and how that could benefit everyone by that I mean you know we have some of the largest corporations in the country where 98% of what their business is generating as exports and you know how much they pay on those exports as far as taxes nothing we are we are very low and export taxes I thats I mean toward like the cat Tax they paying right now so student success you had not to pick on them but Nike and Intel and Tektronix and some of those groups at the table crafting those laws because in some ways they could dictate the terms and I think we need its going to take a lot of brave voices standing up and people fear pass-throughs and they fear these companies leaving I work out where Nike is theyre not going anywhere

18:12 DM – in recent years employers have complained that the graduates they’re getting are not able to do the job they need them to do that’s been called the skills gap what if anything do you think you can do to help close that gap before kids graduate to make sure they have a job when they do

18:32 DG – thats awesome and that makes I want to backup a little but that when were having this conversation about higher education we absolutely can’t leave out the trades I work in a trade a skilled trade we have some of the strongest trade unions in the country right here in Oregon so we need to work I know Bolli right now is working on strengthening apprenticeship programs and seen more folks have that route I have you know one of my kids hes he wants to go in medicine he is like fully set on wanting to go premed I’m not sure how were going to pay for that but one of my other kids he doesn’t know what he wants yet but he said he’s incredibly skilled and that’s one of the you know area for him that he may go into the trades and having that as an opportunity so we need to be bolstering and there was a bill passed I don’t remember off the top of my head but to increase funding for trade schools and how we kind of create that pathway I know one of the things we’re doing in the fire services trying to reach kind of lean forward to high schools like with this Portland Metro fire camp program and give people a taste of that in being a firefighter’s outstanding job it’s it’s a great way to provide for your family and well most of our firefighters are coming with some level of college whether it’s two or four years or in some case we have we have folks that have had PhD’s that turnaround and become firefighters cause its a great job so we just need to increase the diversity of pathways and and the skills

20:01 DM – one more question on education a few years ago report out that accused PPS of purposeful discrimination in the process that seemed to send kids of college detention more often which affected their schooling and ultimately got the more detention and in adulthood more jail time a lot was made of this school to prison pipeline do you recognize this problem in PPS and and what would you do to address it statewide

20:24 DG – I think that that has been a problem in PPS I think were waking up to that on on a statewide level I think one of the most important things we can do if you go if you look at that percentages of teachers who are people of color indigenous theyre very low they don’t have folks that reflect them in the classrooms and that’s a problem so thats one of the proposals that I would love to explore more especially working with different groups of teachers and speaking of higher education where almost like an AmeriCorps program if you have of students of color who want to go into teaching they get either some cost abatement or sponsorships and they go to a public institution to get their teaching degree but then they commit to a certain time of teaching in Oregon’s public schools that’s been done in other states very successfully and I think it could help increase the diversity here and you know it creates more culturally conscious education just from the ground up

21:27 DM – 320 years and one month ago Oregon’s Cascadia subduction zone ruptured

21:37 DG – oh you’re in my Wheelhouse now

21:28 DM – and triggered a 9.0 earthquake seismologists say is one of three chance have another 9.0 earthquake in the next 50 years much of the transportation and infrastructure west of the Cascades may be destroyed if that earthquake comes do you feel either Oregon government or its citizens are doing enough to prepare

21:55 DG – (laughing) did I write this question for myself uh no were not but we’re working on it I think you know we are the only developed and I should say nonindigenous not looking back to indigenous times but modern European settler area in the in the world that hasnt experienced their own natural disaster when someone brought that up to me it was Dr. Chris Goldfinger at OSU I was like OMG she’s right so we don’t have that sort of collective consciousness in this state of oh my gosh that the ground the ground gonna shake and everything gonna get really bad we need to be funding shake alert and every year the legislature makes some noise about it but nothing I mean right now with the walkouts that are happening thats some legislation that staying there and that’s legislation that could save literally millions of people we need to come up with ways that are culturally informed and work with our our communities our more marginalized communities on seismic retrofitting that’s doesn’t displace people and we need to bolster our road systems because so my background um I have a background in emergency management and homeland security but I’ve done a lot of work on my and also the public safety commissioner for OSSPAC which is the Oregon seismic safety policy advisory commission and Don it’s bad I think you know it’s not gonna be like a movie like what was it San San Andreas with the rock where the grounds gonna open up and bridges are gonna collapse but were gonna see it’s not so much like what will happen at the time we will have you know several thousand deaths is what the models have shown in the city it’s what will come months and months out we are sitting in Portland on outside of this tsunami hazard at the coast were sitting in one of the greatest hazards in the state and that’s the uh the fuel station the fuel farm down on the river there none of those tanks at this point were built to withstand more than a 6.0 earthquake we are working thru OSSPAC we’ve made recommendations were were trying to sound the alarm but it’s hard to get people to care about something they can’t see or they don’t have some memory of

24:17 DM – I wanted to I would ask you about cap And trade Oregon Republican’s walked out of the legislature yesterday again because of cap And trade despite Democrats saying it was a very different bill from the one they said made them walkout last session as someone who believes in climate change what do you think it’ll take to get your conservative colleagues to agree with some version of cap And trade

24:40 DG – you know I don’t know because I looked at some of the amendments that were brought forward I know they’ve been meeting with folks at the coast some of the millworker at GP the Steelworkers on the concerns could those are a lot of the communities that are feeling the input having those conversations bringing bringing those folks to the table to help craft the legislation I frankly feel like the bill as it stands probably isn’t strong enough to make a really big difference if we were really in it be be bold on that we would be looking at carbon taxing but given what were seeing right now that’s not gonna happen some of the concerns I’ve heard you know one of that guys I work with his son owns a small business and they use diesel and he feels like you know his son in his trucking business is going to be punished more than some of these really large corporations so making sure that when we craft this legislation were looking with an equity lens at this and making sure that it that we don’t have exemptions for certain groups so I I don’t know a lot of the specifics one of them specifics I saw most recently was a buy Oregon provision which I thought was pretty neat so you know when we look at things that are coming up like Southwest corridor and building new infrastructure there then instead of buying or steel from overseas or from Canada were buying it from Oregon made suppliers and and that’s one way you it keeps those folks in business it’s reducing our carbon generation from shipping things from all over the world there is there’s a lot of win-win there and I think that labor has a really strong voice in this and help craft this and so do our industries that are being impacted on it

26:25 DM – you you have relatively new Facebook histogram and Twitter accounts you also have a LinkedIn account and webpage if you get into the legislature will you keep those accounts open and use them to connect with your constituents

26:38 DG – so I I have Facebook since 2008 but I have a Dacia Grayber, my official Dacia Grayber for state representative absolutely I have found in the last six months or less probably last two months I’ve had hundreds of new friends wanting requests and at a certain point we saw how it started being used in politics but I will always keep an open channel not only that I am committed to being out there I’m with different organizations people know who I am and I will continue to do that and be an open door

27:11 DM – on your Facebook page you said the campaign trail is inspiring and exhilarating even but it’s also exhausting often lonely it seems to me to politics and preparing for the political life might test you just as strongly as firefighting ever did are you and your family ready for it

27:28 DG – what I meant by that post is I am one of the few people I know who’s running for office who is continuing to work full-time and that is because my family we don’t have the option I can’t take time off I can’t like oh I’m going to go down to half time or take a leave of absence for this this is about bringing working family voices to the legislature cause and and not to diss anyone whose there we have wonderful people there but a lot of folks are either retired or there independently wealthy or they have the ability to to flex their work

28:02 DM – this is my last question why should Oregonians vote for you

28:05 DG – because I I’m brave and determined enough and I am I am an Oregonian I’m one of them I’m not somebody beholden to special interests I’m not someone who decided to do this is a vanity run my run is informed by the work that I do every day with everyday Oregonians and I see pathways to making things better my whole campaign we have a hashtag that I don’t know if we invented that we use #redefine possible and that to me is what this whole thing is about and what my service in the legislature will be where were not just doing business as usual we were trying to bring disparate voices to the table to come up with new meaningful solutions that are inclusive of everyone it’s about being you know and I recognize I may be wildly idealistic in this but I also you know I’ve survived in a career that wasn’t very welcoming the women for two decades whatever I may experience in politics bring it on

29:06 DM – Dacia Grayber is a Democrat she is running for Oregon House District 35 Ms Grayber thank you very much again

29:11 DG – thank you Don

29:13 DM – I’m Don Merrill thanks for listening

Written by Interviewer

March 3, 2020 at 17:21

Posted in Scratchpad

Oregon2020 – Charles Rand Barnett

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These transcripts are presented to help users quickly find information they are searching for within the interview. Keywords may be searched using the CTL-F function. The software used provides a very rough but phonetically accurate transcription and for the most part, punctuation is omitted. Human speech patterns, being unique, make reading the interview transcript more difficult than listening to the interview audio file. It is recommended that users use the transcript and audio file together. For more information, visit the Candidate Interview Project at

This transcript is of the Charles Rand Barnett interview.

DM – Don Merrill
CRB – Charles Rand Barnett

00:00 DM – I’m Don Merrill and I’m talking with Charles Rand Barnett Mr Barnett is running as a Democrat for the 3rd U.S. House district against Earl Blumenauer Mr Barnett welcome

00:13 CRB – Thanks for having me out today Don

00:15 DM – I noticed that you don’t have any political experience but did serve in the Navy when you were in the Navy would you do

00:22 CRB – I was a jazz trombonists in the Navy for seven years

00:27 DM – okay so you joined to be part of the Navy band

00:28 CRB – correct I auditioned

00:32 DM – so so so what was it about music that that made you decide that’s what you want to do in the military

00:37 CRB – it’s just what I what I had been doing for my schooling years

00:45 DM – right

00:46 CRB – I I learned just jazz music in Portland from thera memory trombone from Mark Walters and Jack Quinby

00:53 DM – okay so have you done any musical work since you got oout of the Navy

00:59 CRB – I’ve done a lot of recording actually I was frustrated in the navy not having enough creativity I guess so I got out of the Navy and did a lot of recording it it didn’t lead to financial success so I retrain myself as computer programmer while living on the streets of Seattle

01:19 DM – I want to talk about that about you living on the streets but I want to ask you you lost to Earl Blumenauer two years ago with 1.6% of the vote what do you think is going to be different this time

01:32 CRB – I don’t know I just hope to bring the climate change message forward winning the election I mean I want to do this job I’ve I thought about it a lot I I I want to be leading the climate change conservation effort on a national level anything I can do to bring that cause forward and talking with you here today is bringing that cause forward so

02:03 DM – OK we might get into specifics about that on Twitter at least a few people seem to know of you and your platform one-woman tweeted that she thought you were a single issue candidate she said she thought that you wanted to reduce driving by letting people telecommute more so are you for driving less or are you for telecommuting more

02:25 CRB – I’m for driving last actually I am a fairly one issue candidate climate change is a is a pressing issue we have excellent upward mobility in our society there are social protections I think things are going pretty good in this country things can always be better but you know if if climate change werent an issue you know I’d say let’s just consume all we want you know we’d all have McMansions and yachts or whatever but the reality is the the world is limited and were pushing up against these limits hard climate change is a pressing issue in in in mind my point of view

03:08 DM – OK you say on your website that you were homeless for four years you see the problems here in Portland then in Salem and Eugene with homelessness if you were elected to Earl Blumenauer seat and it becomes your seat how would you fix that

03:25 CRB – well what worked for me to to get out of homelessness was a HUD voucher through central city concern got me off of the streets I used the HUD voucher for almost 2 years and then I was employed and on i made a good living since then but you know we have freedom in this country and were free to fail on too you know and you can help someone out that you can’t make someone learn you can’t in in a free country you can’t make people work you know I do believe in raising the minimum wage I do believe in social protections but there’s limits to how far we can go with that I lived in a car I lived in my Geo Metro for a year and a half and then I lived in a van for a year and a half before it was just hopeless trying to find money to put gas into a vehicle and when I left my vehicle was like sky above me it was summertime when it when I left my vehicle to live on the streets full time you know living in a car a car is like a mini house you know it’s actually you know besides driving around it’s it you know you’re saving energy by living in the car as opposed to running your heater in your house all the time as long as you’re not driving very much which some of the time I was driving quite a bit it’s a pretty bad situation to be in know I was my only skill was being a jazz trombonist in I’m not a very social person I didn’t know how to get into that after I left the Navy so I had to retrain myself in the public libraries while and I didn’t study a lot in library but I spent a lot of time in library out of the elements with my paperwork in learning trigonometry and and from a book from the library and using library computers to do some experiments with computer programming and it’s quite a story you know

05:44 DM – so much so much to unpack there my gosh the first thing that struck me was when you said you arent a very social person but youre running for a US House of Representatives seat

05:56 CRB – it is very contradictory you know social media I assume a lot of candidates these days are using social media I don’t use any social media you know I like to disconnect I’m just up in my studio with my keyboard my mechanical keyboard typing away in thinking about issues I consume a little bit the news but not a whole lot

06:21 DM – so you’re computer savvy your just not social media engaged

06:24 CRB – yes I I I I dont like Small talk is not my thing you know you

06:30 DM – so the other things I wanted to to to touch a little bit is there seems to be a lot of different kinds of political ideologies running through you. There seem to be libertarianism which is do what you are free to do as long as you don’t necessarily mess up anybody else’s life there is progressivism which is climate change is is important we need to pay attention to it there just seems to be a lot of different things going on in you how do you reconcile all of that

07:00 CRB – I call myself a fairly moderate Democrat I’m fiscally moderate I mean again it goes back to the homelessness issue yes we we need to have these social protections but theres only so far we can go that were going to bankrupt ourselves if we give every homeless person a house for free and then what they do you know so

07:26 DM – right I read that you’re on the fence about the idea of universal basic income and for those don’t know universal basic income is an idea where the government or some entity gives citizens a basic living income and now that they don’t have to worry about making a living working they can use that money to achieve whatever they personally feel is the highest best self

07:50 CRB – I think societies ultimately going to wind up there its going to knockout a lot of lower-level jobs and how do we pay for it I mean it if if robots are doing all this work then there’s then it frees people to do other things with their lives theoretically it should lower the amount of work that everyone does but you you have to do something with your time so what you do it if if if a semitruck driver loses his job to automation then all of a sudden instead of being behind the truck he’s at home heating and cooling his house driving around his neighborhood looking for something else to do spending more energy than he was in the truck so automation can create more problems Creating a whole bunch of robots there’s a carbon footprint for every robot this automation can make things better but if were not conscious about making the conservation effort it could just wind up being worse we haven’t made a savings then

08:58 DM – youre also an unfunded candidate now the these days campaigns are all about money besides interviews like this how will you get people know who you are

09:07 CRB – I’ve distributed 2000 or 20,000 mailings this year I I’ve I’ve spent $17,000 of more my own money and as I put skin in the game I’ve created a political platform it’s on my website I’m a writer

09:23 DM – and what what’s your website

09:24 CRB – 4040 in 4040 is about 40% of people driving 40% less by working from home it’s good I believe in public schools and children being socialized like that but we should we need to trim our margins you are outsourcing our pollution problem were the highest consumers in the world in the history of of know life in the universe we have some serious margins to trim I think if we took this my platform seriously I think we could reduce carbon our carbon imprint in the United States by 10%

10:03 DM – well now that were talking about reducing the carbon footprint I want to ask about cap And trade

10:09 CRB – I don’t I don’t really believe in cap and Trade to me that’s getting around the issue of really making a savings you know I mean how we can how to stop using carbon you know if if you put it in your tank you’ve used carbon you know it doesn’t matter what industry money is floating around there you know finding other alternatives know a lithium battery and cobalt and you know it’s it’s all movement it’s all activity reducing activity to me is more important than playing some financial trick

10:50 DM – okay will then let’s let’s talk about something else related to the environmental footprint now you have said in the past that you cant really speak to agricultural issues until you had more information about them so do you have more information since you wrote that

11:03 CRB – you know I I keep on trying write a food article on my website and it I find that it’s very subjective I mean I think that we have a serious problem with nitrogen runoff and people that are close to me that are really passionate about this UN report that we only have 60 years of topsoil left I personally don’t think the the the the work organic farming can scale to the amount of food that we need in society but you know it it it takes like 17 times the amount of vegetable feed to to feed livestock to come up with with meat you know so you know eating less meat to me is a huge part of the agricultural piece of this puzzle you know mandating that people eat less meat is ridiculous, but being a national leader and on being elected to Congress with a message of conservation and talking on websites and and and talk shows about eating less meat and why that’s important and getting that message out and putting a face in a voice behind the message instead of it just being some commercial on TV you know conserve your trips take your bags to the store I mean I do these things you know but it’s good to put a face to this whole message

12:31 DM – so I get the impression that you feel it individual efforts arent as effective as a governmentwide program

12:39 CRB – it should be organized you know we should be working together I get the feeling that people like me that are trying to conserve on a daily basis were just doing our own thing and were not organized you know I mean there’s a lot of people that are against the idea of climate change does it even exist you know a lot of people say aoh no that’s just silly stuff you know so were only goin to win over so many of the people but you know 40 60% of the people in this nation do believe that there’s a problem and all those people need to be organized with a national leader you know it should be led from the White House but you know we obviously don’t have that right now and we hear our national Democratic candidates talking about climate change like were going to buy our way out of the problem by building a whole bunch windmills and all that I have an extensive energy article where I crunch some numbers on my website about energy and and wind power and

13:40 DM – you also talk a lot about science you you answered some questions for balletopedia And one of the questions they asked you were some your favorite books and one of the books you reference was a trigonometry book science seems to be very important you now what you make of the trend that seems to be people turning away from science and turning away from experts and I think the anti-vaccine campaign would probably be the best example of that

14:06 CRB – you could say science is technology we use science to come up with technology technology is all based on power really you know can we invent our way out of climate change by making a better you know we have been getting better were the the world that used work on horses and burning wooden fireplaces I still burn a little bit of wood in my fireplace you know of

14:40 DM – right but I think there’s a difference between what you’re talking about and what people don’t want to rely on experts are talking about to say that the world moves faster because we dont have people who make buggy whips anymore me that’s different than saying I don’t want your beliefs about technology to tell me how I should take care of my children or I don’t want your beliefs and climate change to affect the possibility of my job going away

15:05 CRB – everyone’s concerned about their job I mean that’s a personal thing I’m concerned about my job you know I I’ve had to put my campaign on hold so I can get more paid work everyone’s concerned about their personal thing here but you know this really doesn’t lean towards a libertarian idea here where uh where what I’m doing is affecting what other people are doing and what everyone is doing here is using a lot of energy on it it’s it’s going to impact everybody here you know maybe not this decade but in a few hundred years were going to have a major problem because what we’re doing today and theres just simply a better way to do things you know

15:45 DM – so that makes me think of the recent change that city of Portland enacted where now every single-family lot can have duplexes fourplexus some housing advocates or even not pushing for 8 plexus surely that’s an energy-saving efficient use of resources that you champion

16:04 CRB – well you see I know this is a very interesting issue personally I like my house I I I’ll I like tending to the yard I like having some space around me and not being crowded in sure there’s there’s this dream that we can can save a lot of energy by all been living close together making these plexus and all that and I’m for that you know I I’m for I for freedom basically you know that people should be able to do what they want with their plexus or whatever but I I think I think our suburbs are our greatest asset in this country honestly it’s it’s the driving that’s killing things

16:46 DM – okay lets move on you also said that you had started having some drinking problems around the year 2000 and that brings up a lot to talk about

16:57 CRB – I have my dad was a recovering alcoholic so I’ve I was introduced that from a very young age I was drinking in the Navy and and wound up kind of binge drinking I’m a very lightweight drinker I get sick a lot I transitioned over to using marijuana in the end my Navy time and that pretty much killed cured me of the alcohol problem and then being homeless and poor solved me of the marijuana problem and I basically haven’t gone back to any of that I must admit I’ve been drinking a little bit lately I havent drank in years and I’ve been enjoying drinking a little bit a little bit of wine and even a little bit of whiskey lately. But I can tell my liver doesn’t doesn’t want to go back to that I was I was diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease 10 years ago because I was drinking soda pop and it took a lot of effort to lose 40 pounds

18:03 DM – 40 seem to be a very significant number in your life

18:06 CRB – it does I keep on running into it h

18:09 DM – OK so with regard to the drinking how do you think that the city and the police need to treat people with alcohol and addiction problems I mean drug court seem to be somewhat successful I talked to judge Donahue in Corvallis a couple of days ago and he presides over a drug court that he says has been very successful in helping people transition from whatever their drug or alcohol problem is to being more productive members of society so what you think about what the city and the police could do

18:46 CRB – well first of all I I I do believe in balance you don’t have to be a teetoltaler to balance the equation if you’re being productive in society your spending time being productive and that’s time that you’re not drinking what the city can do about it I mean again I I I I I’m pretty libertarian that when it comes to that people should be allowed to do what they are doing but you know there is a public problem there where you start infringing on other peoples I don’t know you do want a drunk coming up to you pissing on the streets and you know being obnoxious we do have a certain right in this society to be protected from obnoxiousness I’m going for a national position here there’s a lot of local issues here that you know I I

19:47 DM – but theyre issues that are similar to issue cities around the country dealing with

19:54 CRB – it’s an issue yes I think a lot about all these other issues you know I I like to think I’m fairly well-rounded politically

20:04 DM – I want to talk about employment for second know you also said that you think it’s illegal or it should be illegal for employers to require employees to necessarily have college degrees so for what types of jobs are you talking about because you are a science literate person some jobs obviously require higher-level of skills than others

20:28 CRB – yes I I you know I I I believe that people should be able to self educate themselves out of lower-level jobs obviously in the lab training that you get in an institution can’t be replaced in a lot of jobs you know but a lot of jobs can be a lot of these engineering jobs you can just crunch the numbers on a desk you know I mean I often thought when I was living on the streets that I could the educate myself into being an architect I don’t I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t self educate yourself into being an architect can you get an architectural job with the self education background I don’t know should it be illegal you know I put that idea out there how serious I am more about about even the 440 bill being passed mandating that employers allow their employees to work from home I mean it be great if we didn’t have to have laws to enact that kind of change you know

21:454 DM – I get the impression too from looking at your website that you believe things in a person’s life should proceed in the kind of order like Social Security priority over free educational or climate change and organic farming over healthcare

22:00 CRB – I believe in Social Security I mean it it’s alarming news that you know my generations Social Security benefits can be cut by 25% 25% I mean that the social protection that we need you know what mean that’s you know

22:19 DM – so of if you were elected to the U.S. House before you would pursue anything regarding free education you would first make sure that Social Security was secured

22:26 CRB – I think so yes

22:28 DM – and before you would focus on healthcare you would make sure that work toward climate change and and more efficient organic farming were in the works

22:39 CRB – I do agree without yes I I I think healthcare I mean you know it’d be great if we had single-payer system I really I really think that’s a good idea but you know I think were distracting from the issue of climate change by saying that we want action on climate change and action on healthcare and other actions I I think I think climate change really needs to be the top issue and everything else is secondary thing

23:14 DM – I want to talk a little bit about the international stage just for a second you seem to be in favor of tariffs why is that
23:20 CRB – I came up with the political theory 6 years ago that I I I felt that immigration that people should be more free to come and go from country to country but that the products should have borders I mean our money has borders and the products passing over those borders I mean it if we want it if we want a stronger economy here it it does make sense to have borders for products not people

23:51 DM – you know its very interesting because that is exactly the opposite policy we have right now with the USMCA making the free flow of money across the borders of North America practically frictionless meanwhile the Supreme Court has just the the trump administration has just proposed a modification of its the plan that it introduced last year to increase the number of countries where people have to be restricted from entering the United States

24:22 CRB – that’s correct him and the tariffs that the trump has been proposing here and and and and and and enacting how successful have they really been I mean you know does does a manufacturing center in Asia a factory for the world makes sense I mean I I can get behind that idea maybe it does make sense to have a unified world factory in in shipping everything over I haven’t crunched all these numbers but maybe that does make some sense when it comes to our personal economics I think manufacturing at home makes sense if they’re producing everything and were just giving them all our money for these products in all that bad for our economy but you know in the big scheme of things efficiency is you know you want efficiency

25:20 DM – do you feel the same way about the intellectual property because a lot of conservatives and liberals democrats and Republicans have been giving the president tepid praise for his hard line against China and the way China has more or less been brought to heel for how it’s been stealing American technology

25:42 CRB – yeah I I follow a little bit about that it must be hard to be in China and maybe just someone on the on the line seeing all these technologies and machines being used I mean how can you help but not steal them or use them I mean there are just like this is this is a steering wheel on a car all cars have steering wheel so you know we see this in our factories all the date everyday why wouldnt I use this technology on my own now so

26:12 DM – that reminds me something you said earlier you were talking about the deficit and debt do you feel the deficit spending is important because as a lot of people do because it helped grow the economy and or and and the American economy will always recover from deficit spending or do you feel that the country has an obligation to live within its means

26:30 CRB – I think the U-shaped curve of the debt to deficit I mean deficit to our debt to GDP the U-shaped curve from World War II to now I think it’s significant you know if interest payments all all this you know the interest payments could be a burden you know you know I don’t know I believe in in in lowering the deficit yes it’s out of control

27:07 DM – okay so I got two questions left but one question is sort of like related to everything we’ve talked about so far you said that you are single issue candidate but we’ve talked about a bunch of issues do you feel like you need to expand your palette

27:21 CRB – I care about all these other other issues I think about them a lot but I think climate change and and having a national conservation effort that’s organized behind an individual I’m trying to be that individual because I don’t see that in our society I don’t see it an individual going for a national role like this with the conservation effort if if there were presidential candidates talking about conservation right now I be totally behind them but right now I I’m I’m pretty dissatisfied with with goings on in our national politics so I’m trying to be that conservation voice

28:01 DM – were you happy back in the 90s when Al Gore was that candidate we you happy with with the leadership he was providing are you going

28:07 CRB – its a shame we didn’t get al gore you know wow it wouldve been a different world if we would’ve gotten Al Gore

28:14 DM – are you so then are you running in the model of Al Gore

28:18 CRB – no I get the feeling from Al Gore that the that he’s more towards the side gonna build our way out of the problem I more on the conservation side I think that you know were using a lot of resources in this company in this country and the you know I think we can seriously trim our margins without with without changing productivity

28:44 DM – okay this my last question why should people Oregon vote for you

28:50 CRB – it’s a vote for this conservation message plain simple we hear a lot about climate change in the news it’s it’s becoming a pressing problem we need to vote for this kind of thing you know I’m trying to be a voice of of reason in this movement that it’s not just up to the government’s to solve our problems

29:15 DM – alright mr barnette thank you very much for talking I really appreciate it

29:20 CRB – thanks don

29:22 DM – I’m Don merrill been talking with Charles rand Barnett Mr. Barnett is a candidate for the third U.S. House district thanks listening

Written by Interviewer

March 3, 2020 at 01:23

Posted in Scratchpad

Oregon2020 – Bob Neimeyer

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These transcripts are presented to help users quickly find information they are searching for within the interview. Keywords may be searched using the CTL-F function. The software used provides a very rough but phonetically accurate transcription and for the most part, punctuation is omitted. Human speech patterns, being unique, make reading the interview transcript more difficult than listening to the interview audio file. It is recommended that users use the transcript and audio file together. For more information, visit the Candidate Interview Project at

This transcript is of the Bob Neimeyer interview.

DM – Don Merrill
BN – Bob Neimeyer

00:00 DM – I’m don merrill and I’m talking with Bob Niemeyer’s mr neimeyer is running for Oregon House District 35 in Tigard Mr Neimeyer welcome

00:08 BN – thank you

00:10 DM – on your website you have a statement titled why Run where you ask whether certain outcome that you describe as negative in Oregon were intended by Democratic lawmakers and you make a distinction between lifestyle and life for Oregon residents can you explain what you see as the intentions of the left and and talk about the difference between your definitions of life and lifestyle

00:34 BN – Ill start with the difference between life and lifestyle learning to me having a lifestyle basically has no tomorrow whatever you do that day is all that matters to you day by day and having a life means that you plan ahead and intended to do other things down the road such as build a career or have a job or something like that that extends much much farther than whatever you can manage to get a hold of in one day like a heroin addict I mean they live literally a lifestyle of whatever it takes to get their day taken care of they do it all over the next day very much like what’s going on in our legislature whatever they can do for one year to get away with and doesn’t really matter

01:28 DM – one of the things you have said on your website that you want is you want the removal of the emergency clause from the Oregon Constitution

01:35 BN – yes completely taken out

01:36 DM – why is that first of all explain what the emergency clause is and then tell me why want it removed

01:40 BN – well emergency clause is something that goes back clear to the starting of the state I can understand how they would have done that in 1859 given the looming civil war and the need for an extra northern state on the north side and when I first started all of this stuff back in 2014 I was on the side of the emergency clause because I could see how it could be something that was actually necessary should there be an event that would require us to shell out a bunch of money for the earthquake

02:19 DM – earthquake thats what I was thinking too

02:21 BN – yes if the big what happens were not going to want a bunch of people to say we’re going to do a referendum to keep the Oregon from spending the money on lets just say coos Bay because theyve got a lot of damage to fix but then again whos gonna say they don’t need the help that’s what convinced me that the emergency clause has to go today it it’s a political weapon at this point to force things onto the the people that in many cases is what you don’t want

02:52 DM – if I understand the emergency clause it is a provision that allows a bill that becomes law to be enacted immediately rather than waiting for the beginning of the new calendar year or after a 60 or 90 day period

03:07 BN – But it also prevents people from doing referendums against the removal or stoppage of the passage of a law

03:14 DN – and that’s bad why

03:16 BN – because if there’s no way to undo something that the legislature has done then there’s no buffer against the legislature doing whatever they want

03:30 DM – how often do you feel the emergency clause is is used unjustifiably

03:34 BN – easily half

03:37 DM – give me an example of where you think it was used unjustifiably

03:39 BN – I have to think it has been a while since a forced something that nobody wanted on us I don’t have an example in the back of my head right now

03:54 DM – OK when we talked in 2016 you wanted a constitutional convention convened to remove the role of the U.S. Congress to ratify amendments article 5 was a hot concern at the time you said that’s what the framers intended for the states rather than the Congress to have a say over whether or not amendments became a part of the Constitution

04:21 BN – I want the convention where the states can create constitutional amendments outside of Congress we very much need to do a few very critical things such as term limits for instance I don’t know that I necessarily agree with the balanced-budget amendment because I think that would actually go the wrong way but it may take that in order to get Congress to stop wasting money the term limit thing should apply to all three branches of government I mean we already have on that prevents the president from doing two terms more than two terms but that I think that that should apply to Congress and it should also apply to the courts

05:11 DM – so the Supreme Court justices should not serve for life

05:13 BN – I don’t think so

05:17 DM – you said on your website representatives who are underpaid are tempted to take funds from other sources

05:24 BN – I personally believe that the legislature should be paid about the same as whatever a schoolteacher more or less about $60,000 a year but I also have got this other thing that I intended to publish as well in the website that I’m calling independent contractors the whole idea behind that is that they only receive money. They don’t get benefits they don’t get health insurance they don’t get anything but cash And they have to go pay their own taxes buy their own health insurance do everything had that people outside of the legislature do

06:08 DM – it sounds like you want to bring the legislature closer to the people that they serve

06:12 BN – yes right now I think there’s an awful lot of qualified candidates out there who just wont do it because it just gonna cost too much

06:22 DM – if the legislature continues to underpay legislators in and some are found to take funds from sources that compromise their role as a legislator should their punishment be lessened or eliminated or strengthened like what should happen

06:36 BN – I think they should be thrown out of the legislature

06:46 DM – so there is no excuse for it but what youre saying they shouldn’t have to suffer that kind of of of under underpaying

06:53 BN – underpaying gives them the excuse and when somebody has an excuse its an awful awful easy to look at other ways

07:02 DM – the US Supreme Court has just allowed the president to expand the list of countries that can have their citizens restricted from coming into the US if you were elected to the Oregon house would you work to introduce a version of of measure 105 which is the repeal of the state sanctuary law 61% of Oregonians voted it down 2018 would you work to bring it back from some version of that back

07:26 BN – I think sanctuary anything should be totally against the law they had no business risking the people of this state for sanctuary Multnomah County for instance has got an awful lot a crime out there and it’s all due to illegal aliens I know that right now that’s more or less about 85% of the crime that’s committed in Multnomah County is all being done by illegal aliens and they put them in jail and let them go again and they can’t keep them they can’t call up ice just doesn’t make sense to me why anybody would think that that sanctuary is good for the bad apples, if you will of the illegal aliens that come here

08:18 DM – you said our education system is being destroyed by

08:20 BN – completely destroyed by PERS

08:25 DM – you said our education system is being destroyed by PERS it it’s a connection that I’m not sure people always make can you tell me what you see that connection as being and since PERS is a problem that only seems to be getting worse how would you fix both problems

08:41 BN – well first of all they should have taken advantage of the fact that the federal government was creating things like 401(k)s or SEP’s for self-employed people and said okay were going to have you contribute to your own retirement and we’re going to get out of it had the state of Oregon discontinued PERS and told everybody that we have to put your 6% even if we give you a raise of 6% it goes into 401(k)s that we no longer have that accumulation of debt to the PERS program that we would be out of hock right now and that’s just from 2004 if we do that right now it’s probably going to take about 15 years to get to the same situation but it’s going to take time and we just have to got to stop giving away future benefits for nothing in in the PERS program

09:47 DM – so if you get to the Oregon house what you wanted to work for that

09:53 BN – exactly that discontinue it and and right now apparently I can’t say this for totally sure but apparently the governor is the one who actually can decide whether or not it can be discontinued there is no law per se that gives her and forces her to continue to give away retirement benefits now I’m not totally sure but I believe that the legislature could say we’re going to give everybody a 6% raise and that has to go to 401(k)s and be done with it I would like to also say that the vestment in the PERS program should take 10 years and what I would like to see it is an additional 3% from the state matching funds for you every year that you’re working towards your vestment you would basically get 10% of that 3% so that a person’s vestment in the system would ultimately wind up with 9% being of your pay being donated to your 401(k)s that you have control of in the banks and you can see that deposit that you have that you own rather than saying that I’m just gonna hope that the taxpayers are going to pay my retirement the rest of my life

11:27 DM – you supported hunters and and their clay pigeon device and and showed off your own golf ball device because you’re an engineer

11:38 BN – that’s right the last time I showed you the clay pidgeon thrower

11:43 DM – so being an engineer is in your DNA how how will you apply that kind of scientific method thinking to the squishyness of politics and the Oregon legislature

11:54 BN – things have to make sense to me theres no excuse for anything that that doesn’t make complete sense for how it start to finish and if you look at the cap And trade thing there is so much of that it just doesn’t make sense to me about why they’re doing it who is getting the money turning carbon into a commodity item based upon what the government does theyre creating an atmosphere that would to me be something easily turned into absolute total corruption

12:33 DM – well since you want to get to cap and trade lets talk about cap And trade

12:34 BN – okay

12:35 DM – Oregonians are really concerned about their environmental footprint the governors made cap And trade a priority you say cap And trade is a waste of taxpayer money but when what the US should be doing is developing clean technologies and exporting them to countries that are as dirty now as the US was 30 years ago but when a lot of those technologies that the US pioneered were being developed people said the development was hamstringing the American economy and the the manufacturing industry those countries might ask why should we pay the US for expensive technology when older technologies are working for us now just like they worked for you then

13:12 BN – well okay back then I believe they should pay for it now if they are actually in the mode of quote unquote saving the planet then we should be developing that technology and giving it to those countries that are necessarily making a mess of the environment

13:31 DM – give it to them

13:32 BN – yeah I mean how much aid do we give to other nations how much weapons do we give to other nations that they’re not paying for but the government bought them from the people with the taxes and stuff like that why can’t the government buy that technology from us and give it to a nation which is in really a mess that needs to be cleaned up cap and Trade the money that they take doesn’t have any direction where its gonna go they have no intention of dedicating that tax money towards anything that makes sense why tax if youre not going to do anything with it related to preventing the use of carbon there is nothing in the bill that says that that money is going to be used for either roads or for paying down PERS or for one iota of anything is just a big pot of cash thrown at the legislature to do whatever they want and you know perfectly well that under the current leadership that’s exactly what’ll happen

14:37 DM – the city of Portland is proposing to widen the I-5 lanes around the rose quarter to reduce clogged traffic Vancouver wants to restart talks with Portland over bridge to replace the defunct Columbia River Crossing idea that field a few years ago and of course there’s a lot of talk about toll roads but trimet is expanding bus and light rail service because it thinks that’s the answer to many of our traffic issues you oppose light rail

15:10 BN – completely

15:11 DM – so how do you fix the congestion problem not just im portland, I mean throughout the state throughout the western side of the state anyway

15:16 BN – why cant those businesses that have all those people coming into them be allowed to be out in McMinnville just as easily as portland why don’t they just go out there and spread out across the state to someplace else in and be able to have their employees have some space around the outside of them not have to deal with getting on a light rail system and spending a good deal of time trying to get to their job

15:45 DM – for a business to to just up and move out to McMinnville and all of its employees then have to move to to McMinnville or some other community I mean that’s that is not only hardship for the business on the assumption that you reducing traffic congestion but youre also asking families to move asking them to change their surroundings asking to change everything mean it seems it seems like a big ask

16:11 BN – yes but then look what happens to wherever they put in a light rail system it’s very specifically known that a lot of businesses fail because the light rail is too close them they put that light rail into Tigard for instance there is about 800 businesses that are going to have to move just because of that and I know two or three of them very specifically they are going to be wiped out because they they have to move 700 employees to someplace and then there’s no prospect of where anything actually go

16:52 DM – I want to talk a little bit about basic minimum wage in Portland for someone or in any city for someone have utilities they need to pay a monthly minimum even if they don’t use any of it for next and none of it average rent for a single apartment in portland is among the highest in the country basic food to meet minimum nutritional needs for one person is no less than hundred $200 a month out-of-pocket healthcare means getting sick or hurt and no way to get yourself the care you need if youre not making enough money plus to get around town let alone have any kind of social life means people have to have at least to trimet bus pass

17:33 BN – I believe those are $84 a month right now

17:36 DM – right but if you add all that up that’s more than anyone could make in a job that pays the federal minimum wage so what would you say to those people you know some of them your potential constituents who can’t get by without a mandatory minimum wage

17:52 BN – I got to ask what caused all of this stuff to be so expensive in terms of rent and things like that what has the state done that has caused rent to go up so high like for instance one of the key reasons that a lot of of places have not been built has to do with a whole bunch of the Oregon’s regulations for construction if you start out building a house now you will pay somewhere like $25,000 just to the city to go get it all proofed and if you are building an apartment complex paying $40,000 and in fees just to build one apartment complex it is the starting the amount of money you have to shell out has almost nothing to do with anything but regulation that just all wasted monies sent to the government for whoever has to handle it

19:04 DM – how you feel about the the city Council’s recent decision to make all single-family lots in Portland buildable for duplexes and triplexes some housing advocates even want 8 plexes that we that would help reduce the housing shortage at least

19:20 BN – it won’t reduce the cost of building it. You go out there lets just say you have two pieces of property and two houses on it and I can fit an eight Plex on there for rent how much is it gonna cost to get the permits to do exactly what the city wants you to do for instance

19:40 DM – okay lets talk about another piece of that of that scenario healthcare I had read on your website that you oppose single payer system

19:53 BN – okay thats being kind I’m totally 100% against a single-payer because there is absolutely no form of competition the other thing about single-payer is that there’s still taxes involved with it I know a lot of companies that make medical devices in fact that diabetic Lansing is a medical device the company that manufactures a lot of our parts pays a good share of taxes on the fact that they taking material and molded it and ship us parts just because of various different types of regulations and certifications that we have to live by because it is a medical device I mean okay there some that’s necessary but it shouldn’t cost as much as as their paying theyll still get taxed for their income tax or something like to go spend money that they earned at the company they pay taxes on that money they spent but getting that product from very beginning all the way to the patient if we were to take out all of those different areas that taxes can be taken out of the system and basically recycled that the government has all this money that can be put into healthcare is really been filtered out in that process if that were stopped the cost of healthcare go way back I’d like to see that type of thing put into place just because why should the government be taxing something and virtually everybody uses

21:42 DM – looking at your website I saw an article on the separation of church and state and I thought it was very interesting you compare the heavenly structure gods word reaching down to the flock and the human government structure and you seem to be saying there is no separation of church and state because the founders pattern the human structured government after how they saw the heavenly structure structured by God so if that’s true

22:11 BN – oh no I I say that is the separation

22:14 DM – that is separation

22:16 BN – that is the separation there are two things to believe in where you have God’s word the Bible and things like that then God and then the church and then the pastors or whatever you call them and then the flock and then the citizens at the bottom and then there’s in the United States states government there is the Declaration of Independence the Constitution the government as defined by the Constitution the elected officials that are running the government and then the political parties who are supposed to be stewards of the Constitution and then there’s people

22:55 DM – so you’re saying there parallel not overlaid on each other

22:58 BN – correct they are two separate columns of of things to believe in if they were one then you wouldn’t have a chance to at all to choose which God you wanted to believe in and the government could tell you which God you wanted believe in which is something that happened you know when King George was in charge of England I mean he made one church one nation type of thing and he could have unlimited control I put them at the same level I tried it to draw that thing where each one had the same importance over the top of the citizens

23:40 DM – but you’re saying there is a separation of church and state

23:41 BN – there is a separation and that’s what the founding fathers gave us when they created the Constitution to support the Declaration of Independence

23:48 DM – and and to avoid the creation of a national church a national religion

23:53 BN – that’s right

23:54 DM – okay

23:55 BN – then there’s the right now there’s a more or less a big old monster right in the middle thats trying to control both sides you know what is sharia law all about that literally mixes both of those together and look what that entire system has done sharia law is something it isn’t necessarily a Muslim believe there’s a lot of people that believe that the government and the religious things should go together and I look at many things that that the Democrats and the Republicans are trying to do as stewards of the Constitution and what I’m seeing is the Democrats not wanting to obey the Constitution they would rather have total control outside of the Constitution to me that is pushing towards having a religion if you will where you have the combination of the two that Monster in the middle

25:06 DM – I want to make sure I understand what is the monster in the middle

25:08 BN – when you have people in government who really do believe they can do anything that they wanted doing government and there’s no limits the Constitution is something they should avoid that’s the the monster that were seeing welling up right now particularly with everybody uses the the term deep state those people are all operating outside of the Constitution because they don’t think that the Constitution should be standing in their way

25:41 DM – you told the wilamette week a story last year about a machine called a sticker

25:50 BN – oh that was about my grandfather

25:52 DM – what is a sticker exactly

25:54 BN – see all of the molding thats got little curves to it and fancy different things a sticker is a machine we take a square block of of wood and run it through and it will cut the profile onto it its is got a spinning set of blades theyre razor-sharp and grandfather ran that sticker for pretty much about 10 years and they kept him doing it because he was so good at and he never lost a finger to me like I have woodworking equipment metalworking equipment prototyping equipment and I did something stupid and got my finger lopped off my fear was I would be letting them down my grandfather my father not so much losing a finger

26:44 DM – I wanted to soft of extend that to you in office sounds like what you’re saying is the standard that you have yourself are very high do you think that any those fears would follow you into office I mean not wanting to take a wrong political decision not wanting to make a wrong ruling

27:06 BN – that isn’t so much of fear as much as the taxpayers of this state are giving you tax dollars and you’re supposed to be stewards over that money and youre supposed to handle it properly and do what you’re supposed to do and right now that is not happening I’m actually disgusted with what they’re trying to do in Salem right now

27:31 DM – is there anything else I havent asked you that you want to mention

27:33 BN – youre doing pretty good another thing that sickens me is a use of the police fire and schools as bargaining chips to get people to get tricked into spending more money on taxes because when you you tug on that kind of of heartstring or something like that thats aggravating and that’s that is

28:04 DM – you just clenched your fists

28:07 BN – yeah I think that that bothers me more than anything else is them using a person’s well-being his safety do this for the children type of thing to extort as far as I’m concerned tax money away from the taxpayers

28:27 DM – this is my last question this is your third [fourth] run for office in six years you ran for the U.S. House District 1 2014

28:36 BN – yes

28:37 DM – you ran for governor ran for governor to complete the term of john kitzhaber but lost to bud pierce in the primary with 70% of the vote in 2016 you ran for House District 35 and 2018 and and lost Margaret Doherty with 32% of the vote she is not running this time

28:54 BN – correct

28:55 DM – your running for that seat again Oregonians seem a little cool to your candidacy why should they vote for you

29:02 BN – I believe that their tax dollars should be protected and used the way they’re supposed to be used not the the way they’ve been used

29:12 DM – well mr Niemeyer I really appreciate you taking the time to come and talk to me thank you

29:15 BN – thank you for having me the I really appreciated it youre my first interview this time and I’ve been holding out to make sure that you got it

29:24 DM – I’m Don merrill and I’ve been talking with Bob Niemeyer Mr Niemeyer is a Republican he’s running for the Oregon house in district 35 mr neimeyer thanks for talking with me

29:27 BN – thank you for having me appreciate it

Written by Interviewer

March 2, 2020 at 13:19

Posted in Scratchpad

Oregon2020 – Andy Saultz

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These transcripts are presented to help users quickly find information they are searching for within the interview. Keywords may be searched using the CTL-F function. The software used provides a very rough but phonetically accurate transcription and for the most part, punctuation is omitted. Human speech patterns, being unique, make reading the interview transcript more difficult than listening to the interview audio file. It is recommended that users use the transcript and audio file together. For more information, visit the Candidate Interview Project at

This transcript is of the Andy Saultz interview.

DM – Don Merrill
AS – Andy Saultz

00:00 DM – I’m Don merrill I’m speaking with Andy Saultz Mr. Saultz is a Democrat he’s running for state representative in the 33rd district mr saultz welcome

00:09 AS – thank you for having me

00:10 DM – my first question why ask you what you want to be in the Oregon house

00:17 AS – sure it’s a question I get often in our and our politics I think a lot of times people think about the nastiness and the divisiveness I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old and I am not inspired by the leadership that I see especially nationally and I was raised that if I want to create the change that I want to see I need to get involved and so I grew up in House District 33 in Northwest Portland and have spent my career try to build a better education system and so really important to me that we have individuals who are committed to the long term health of our community and unfortunately have not seen that currently,

00:54 DM – I’m going to ask a lot of questions about how you want to do those things just because I hear a lot of people saying they want to but then they don’t lay out how you have a lot of policy positions on your website education is where your education and experiencing be centered is it your goal to get on the House committee of education or the education Ways and Means committee if you elected

01:17 AS – that would be fantastic and to get the how and I’m glad you brought that up a little bit of a policy wonk and so I really like getting into the weeds on some of the stuff

01:26 DM – not to say that the audience does

01:31 AS – I started as a high school teacher and I was loving life unfortunately Betsy DeVos and other folks were doing really harmful things to schools I was living with in Michigan at the time I partner is going to graduate school there and they were really trying to privatize a lot of our public education system and so I ran for my local school board in Michigan and got a PhD in education policy and so for my perspective our schools are inequitable and there are tangible things we can do to make them better so to answer your question yeah I’d love to be on the education committee this is the stuff that I live everyday

02:03 DM – I want to ask you a question about Healthcare because you know when you get into the legislature if you get in the legislature its not always going to play to your strength so I want to ask you about healthcare the Oregon health authority had a leadership change in 2017 after news reports revealed a plan to discredit the nonprofit healthcare provider family care that was because the two were disagreeing over how OHA was going to reimburse the nonprofit Oregonians depend on OHA considering how conservatives relentlessly attack Obama care so what will you do to make sure OHA works honestly and ethically to serve the Oregonians that depend on it

02:45 AS – yeah thanks for that and and I would just expand a little bit my research is actually on the intersection between education health and economic policy and so while my doctorate is an education policy really try to understand how these policy areas relate to one another so for example I have a grant right now that that’s working to understand the relationship between a school-based health centers that is health centers within schools and academic outcomes so in terms of OHA I feel really comfortable understanding the Medicaid system the shift to a CCO model that has a more holistic approach to health policy in terms of the accountability with OHA I do think we need to invest in Medicaid in mental health care and then have really transparent oversight over those those groups to make sure that we are getting the most for our tax dollars

03:35 DM – as opposed to what we have now we do you consider the oversight that we have now as transparent

03:40 AS – I think the CCO model moving towards thinking about what’s called the social determinants of health and that is education that is safety that is housing for all of our students is a really good model so that healthcare isn’t just who shows up at the ER but how to prevent things and I think that shift that OHA has has been really a leader on has been really important and I would continue as conversations

04:06 DM – I want to ask you a question about the environment all of these are planks in your platform you we haven’t a real car derailment in several years but odds are we will have another one what we do give Oregon more say not only over whether tanker cars move through Oregon at all but not having our first responders put in danger by responding to her derailment but not always knowing what the responding to

04:31 AS – great great question and two of my brothers-in-law our first responders so this is an issue that’s really near and dear to me for my perspective we need to have an environmental policy that moves us to agree on economy and we need to limit the transportation of dangerous materials and hazardous materials I don’t think we have done enough to make sure that our pipelines are safe and I think that there are tangible things

05:00 DM – why not why not

05:01 AS – why haven’t we done that we have like manual shutoffs in some of our underground pipelines for example I’ve heard a talk with some folks they couple as you may know Veterans Affairs with emergency preparedness in the house and I’ve talked with some of those legislators who say you know we have manual shutoffs for these things and so the event of an emergency or earthquake individuals would literally have to go to sites and pull a lever there are very few individuals who know how to do that or have the access and so moving towards your automatic shutoffs are other things might prevent the amount of damage moving forward so I think some of those conversations are important to have moving forward

05:41 DM – also there was legislation to change the thickness of the lining of tanker cars they would be less likely to split open Which was what happened in that derailment Hood River

05:53 DM – I want to ask you a question about climate change so cap and trade shut the legislature down at the end of last year’s session and it threatens to do that again that the group timber unity was very successful in influencing the legislature especially the Republicans to walk out in order to avoid discussion or a vote on cap And trade legislation so cap And trade is a priority for the governor she said so so if you get into the legislature what’s your role going to be regarding cap And trade

06:32 AS – I will be a champion for environmental policy and cap And invest is incredibly important for the future of our state

06:40 DM – now you call it cap and Invest

06:42 AS – I do I because I think that the focus needs to be the whole system is designed to put a price on carbon and then invest those additional dollars all of the additional dollars from that into a future economy that would be more environmentally friendly and so I focus on the invest part because I do think moving away from coal and to greener energy is really really important to me this is a core value and if something’s a core value shouldn’t negotiate away and unfortunately what we’ve seen is people say that it is important to them but the relative importance has led to folks negotiating away policies or having session and on these things which you look people can disagree all they want but to walk away and not even have a conversation I I don’t think that’s Democratic and and I really hope that we can bring folks together and find a resolution for this moving forward

07:43 DM – so I just want to ask a question related to something she said so far so you’re running for district in Northwest Portland its a fairly affluent district I’ve talked to people who are running for districts and what they said is I’m going to be focused only on the needs and wishes of the people in my district and I always wonder does that mean then that when it comes to voting on an issue that is statewide are you going to be ignoring the needs of the state in general to satisfy your constituents of the people who put you in office so I mean I’m curious to know do you think the role of a legislator to serve the people put him in office or to serve the larger goal of of what up being a legislator means which would to serving the needs of greater state

08:31 AS – yeah that’s a good question and as a political science undergrad I can appreciate the that the core and ethical question there for my perspective all of my work and education has been premised on the fact that there are things that are good for kids regardless of where they live and I think part of the problem with our system historically as we weve segmented our education system so that all kids arent getting equal chance to relate it back your question I think our environment it doesn’t matter where you’re polluting that’s gonna affect everyone and I really worry about some of the fractured nature of folks saying well were going to have a policy and and this actually relates back to cap And trade or cap And invest as you ask it the current proposal treats Portland different from the rest of the state and I fundamentally opposed that I think we have to were all in this together and state policy is made for the whole state now that said the constituents have to take the priority and have to have a representative who will fight for them but our policies affect everyone and so as a result we have to take a very holistic look about policy

09:37 DM – so how do you go about helping your constituents see that expansive view when you called upon to make a vote that may not be in the best interest

09:46 AS – yeah I mean a if it’s hard to get down the rabbit hole in some of these hypotheticals I think for me listening to other perspectives is really really important understanding where your constituents are and how you can best represent them is important but at the end of the day on things like education and health care the environment we haven’t talked about housing yet but housing is really important those issues affect all of us and if we ignore people that don’t live right next door to us then we arent serving our state best and we will feel the ramifications of not serving other communities down the line

10:25 DM – lets talk about homelessness you say on your website that you work to improve access the homelessness issue is complicated as back and forth by the Salem city Council have shown it’s easy to say Im going fight to make things better and I saw your post on twitter about how Finland has eliminated homelessness by giving everyone a place to live you but that kind of all in government intervention sounds a lot like the activism of Bernie Sanders so first do you know how you will reduce homelessness in Portland and second are you Democratic socialist like Mr. Sanders

11:04 AS – we are about 40,000 unit affordable unit short on housing our population has grown really quickly and as a result housing Costs are up about 200% since 2000 median income at the same time is up up about 17% and so we have this huge gap that has led to a couple of things one an increase in homelessness two gentrification and pushing out folks who need a affordable housing outside of the city center that makes our transportation puts a lot of pressure on our transportation system and it leads to worse environmental damage it’s all of these things are related for my perspective we have to have affordable housing in every community so people can live where they work because if people are traveling a long time to work that’s going to be worse on our environment and worse on our transportation system how are we going to do this I I think we have to look at ways to incentivize building affordable units and that developers have been building high-end housing because are getting more money for that their are something called the SBC which is a series of fees that are charged to folks when they build a new home those are flat fees regardless of how much money the house cost and what I would like to do is stagger or provide some sort of incentive program for folks to provide affordable housing because we have to we have to prioritize the housing side of this and housing first model I think is worked in other places so I think we have to invest a lot of money there the second question and I don’t I’m not a democratic socialist I really value investing and the Democratic Party platform but I don’t identify socialist no

12:43 DM – so you how you do how you view the portland city Council’s recent move to make all single-family lots zoned so that they can have duplexes fourplexs some even some housing advocates even want 8 plexes the people in those neighborhoods are saying we already have lots of mixed-use housing in a lot of our neighborhoods and when you when you make the neighborhoods susceptible to more mixed-use housing in portland’s narrow streets, you’re just going to make transportation worse

13:13 AS – so I favor the zoning changes 70% of new homes built last year were in single use single family use or detached housing as some folks refer to it as so think that zoning’s important the second part of that though is how does the infrastructure follow the zoning changes and these building changes and I think as housing is being built you have to have those discussions about the roads and the schools what happened out in Bethany in my neck of the woods and washington County is they’ve built a bunch of houses and then they realize that the schools are overcrowded and the roads can’t handle the infrastructure and so I think you have to have those conversations in coordination with one another I don’t think the stress on the infrastructure is a reason to prevent zoning changes I just think if you do zoning changes you have to think about how the infrastructure can keep up with those changes

14:06 DM – you believe in investments in transportation and mass transit but how do you propose to get people out of their cars because one of the reasons why mass transit is so difficult is such a difficult sell for people is because well because of what’s happening right now with of the trial Jeremy Christian people feel that mass transit is unsafe so how to get people out of their cars for the benefit of of of the environment for the benefit of the transportation infrastructure

14:38 AS – let me give you an example thats personal to me my partner works downtown and she would love to take mass transit the Sunset transit center right the max station closest my house their parking fills up by about 630 morning our daycare opens at seven so there’s no way unless I do drop by to drop off this morning as I can come in earlier but there’s no way for our family to drop our kids off and then be able to get to the max station and have time second it takes her about twice as long to take public transit as it does to drive now that’s not an excuse she’s very environmentally conscious and sometimes she make the decision to do that but if you’re taking longer on public transit if there are safety concerns then people are more apt to just drive in the car cities that do this well are able to say public transit is really predictable it’s safe and it’s really fast and so I think about like when I go to DC for example for conferences and things I take the public transit because I don’t want to sit in traffic like that’s awful and I go and is predictable and it’s a lot faster and so we need to get to a place as a city where people have the confidence in the safety as well as the speed of the transit and and I just don’t think were there right now the other thing I just want to say about public transit and and you mention trimet earlier my understanding is there’s only one bus only lane and all of washington County County and so I think we need to move to electric buses I think we need to have bus only lanes and again try to speed up the public transportation to incentivize people to take it

16:19 DM – when you get to the legislature how will you go about getting your colleagues especially colleagues on the other side of the aisle to appropriate stuff like that

16:30 AS – I do think one of my skill sets is working with folks regardless of their background and listening and trying to incorporate their perspectives I think it will reduce the emissions quite a bit if we are able to invest in public transportation and it will reduce traffic and what I’m hearing from folks when I’m talking on the doors is there is a priority for individuals but also businesses to reduce traffic because they can’t get their materials to where they really need to be either and so I do think there some common ground there

16:59 DM – I’m very interested in when I do these interviews I’m I’m interested in policy but I’m more interested in the people and how they interact with people who don’t think like them because those people represent a bunch of other people and so I’m I had another question here you got a lot of research papers to your credit so you’re familiar with the term confirmation bias and for people don’t know confirmation bias is the tendency of researchers to see what they’re looking for so it seems a confirmation bias might show itself in the tendency of people to do things against their own best interest in the long term to get a victory in the short term if you can of the legislature considering the acrimony that exists there right now how will you be able to help your colleagues overcome their own confirmation bias their own stereotypes and actually get together and get some work accomplished

17:54 AS – sure I think you have to invest a lot of time in relationships and unfortunately the confirmation bias reminds me a lot of other biases right that that people assume that I’m from Portland that I may or may not understand a certain perspective I think that the best thing you can do is humble yourself lead with integrity and listen to other perspectives thats something that I’ve prided myself in and feel like I will absolutely prioritize moving forward amd the other part of that question I just want to highlight you talked about can of the short term versus the long-term our legislator legislature unfortunately in the house it’s a two year cycle and so as a result I do think it incentivizes people to think in a very kind of short window which has led to a lot of long-term problems in our state and so I have a three year old and a one-year-old I’m not looking for a career change I actually love being a professor it’s a great job what I am interested in doing is trying to shift the discussion about what we want our state to look like 20 or 30 years from now how can we build and environmental policy that takes care of her most precious resource how can we build an education system where we arent second to we don’t have the second-worst high school graduation rate in the country I think that longer-term perspective is really really important and unfortunately lacking an oregon politics

19:15 DM – in the summer of 2004 according to your resume you taught in Poland what did that experience teach you about how to teach

19:23 AS – thank you for bringing this up so on a whim I was a political science undergrad I was I was raised that your education is about helping you learn how to think and not get a job and so as a result I went to undergrad Oregon State loved it learned a lot about politics but didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up and so a friend of a friend said hey do you want to go teach in Poland in the summer and I had never been overseas and at 21 who says no to that. So I go to Poland to a small town called Socha which is in southern Poland on the Slovakia border border with Slovakia the Czech Republic and that experience really was the first time I felt love with teaching I was teaching middle school English I knew no Polish at the time it was kind of this comedy of errors but at the end of the day what I learned is that teaching maybe like politics in this regard is about relationships that if you show students that you care about them that you are flawed that you don’t have all the answers and that it’s okay not to know that they will open their hearts to you and work really hard for you and so on that trip again I was 21 I decided I would spend the rest of my career in education I decided I would proposed to my partner when I got home and so it was really life-changing that regard

20:42 DM – I went through all of your social media and your websites and saw you have lots of endorsements

20:51 AS – thank you

20:52 DM – you you you are you are surrounded by people who have lots of respect for you who agree with your way of thinking who want to see you succeed and you’ve got a young family and I’m I’m assuming that you’re prepared for the rigors of of political campaigning but considering the state of union speech last night and what the speaker did at the end of the speech that’s another demonstration of how divided we are in this country and I’m just curious I mean are you prepared to encounter people in the legislature who are diametrically opposed to you in in almost every way who may not like you but who are who have the responsibility to work with you for the betterment of of Oregonians I you know that you talked about you know the long-term game and getting to know people and coming in with humility and all that other stuff but that takes a really long time and like you said it’s it it’s a two-year cycle

21:50 AS – for me the stakes couldn’t be higher we have I have a three-year-old and a one year old I grew up here. And am absolutely committed to this community my partner actually went to high school together at Sunset high school and so were raising her kids in the community that we grew up in and for me we can’t get distracted from the core of our work the core of our work is 22,000 children are homeless in our state the core of our work is we of the second-worst high school graduation rate in the country we are not taking care of our environment and we have the third-highest deductable rates for health insurance in this country we have to do the work and all of the distractions that become personal attacks or become walkouts or any this other stuff is a distraction from best serving the next generation and to me as a parent maybe people out there listening can relate to this that is the work and so I’m committed to not getting pulled into these distractions because we just have too much work to do

22:50 DM – it says on your Pacific EDU faculty page that the unifying purpose of your research service in teaching is to improve equity and schools since your education is in education I see youve been involved in research that looks at both public and private charter schools I want to ask you if you think the messiness and transparency of public schools is is better for taxpayers than the apparent orderliness of charter schools even though much of their operation is out of the public view

23:19 AS – yes I support traditional public schools and I think governance as you said governance is messy transparency is messy but it’s vital to democracy and I have just seen too many examples a lot of my research on charter schools shows that exacerbates segregation in particular both racial and socioeconomic segregation and I am a firm believer that we need integrated schools for a lot of reasons and I really worry about that charter model moving away from that

23:50 DM – well that reminds me of my next question a few years ago a report came out that accused PPS portland public schools of purposeful discrimination in the process that seemed to send color kids of color to detention more often which affected their schooling and ultimately got them more detentions and in adulthood more jail time a lot of people called that the school to prison pipeline do you recognize this problem in PPS and and what will you do to address it

24:18 AS – yes the school prison private pipeline is a problem throughout our state and I think that what I would like to do is move away from the

24:31 DM – And I just want to say it strikes me as ironic that such a thing could be documented and shown to exist in a state that often trumpets itself as one of the most liberal states in the country

24:40 AS – Absolutely and maybe thats the harsh reality of the ideals versus that the reality of the situation the reality of the situation is our school system is not serving students of color as well as it should be it is not serving low-income kids and what I would like to do is continue to push the conversation about discipline there’s a really powerful research actually out of New Orleans that just came out looking at discipline incidents where white students and student of color did exact same thing so imagine two students got in a fight one is a student color one is not a student of color what they showed thru this research empirically is that the student of color was punished more severely on on a statistically significant basis and so I think what we have to do is understand the problem I think we are there we know that these inequities exist we need to do a lot of work with educators about their implicit bias and how they can take a more holistic and integrated approach and there there needs to be consequences if disparities exist we have to push the conversation about how we are building inequitable system and the discipline side of things unfortunately has been and continues to be a huge part of the problem

25:59 DM – I talked with Serin Bussell last week she’s also running for the district 33 seat she also had a story of how when she was young she was passionate for politics mitch greenlick is retiring and his constituents are used to his style of representation how will you be different from challenges like like Ms. Bussell or Mr. Greenlick

26:19 AS – I think there are a couple of things that distinguish me in this race the first is I’m the only person in this race to have grown up in the district I think when you grow up in an area you see how it changes and some of those changes a really exciting House District 33 is much more diverse racially that we have ever been before thats something to celebrate some of the other changes are more challenging right we’ve had population growth that has led to more homelessness that has put a lot of strain on our infrastructure and so I think that historic perspective of growing up in the district is important second I’m the only educator in this race I firmly believe if we want to get to the structural inequities in our system we have to better serve kids you mentioned this with the school to prison pipeline if you look at a third graders reading score that is incredibly predictive of their ability to graduate high school to go to college and actually to end up in our criminal justice system and so what we have to do is focus on kids and unfortunately throughout the 90s we have divested in education to the degree that we aren’t serving all kids in our system has become more inequitable the third thing that stands out about me is on the only person that’s been elected official I served on the school board and I think having that local government experiences is really really important for a state legislator who needs to understand what the policy areas are what problems exist but then third who should solve those problems and sometimes thats the state and sometimes it’s local government and I think my school board experience will help me answer that question and then finally Im the only washington County candidate in this race two thirds of this district is in washington County washington County is a really unique place unincorporated Washington County would be the second largest city in the state for example theres like 400,000 people in unincorporated Washington county so I think having that perspective and bringing the voice for washington County will be really really important

28:13 DM – this my last question why should Oregonians vote for you

28:19 AS – I think I a partially just answer that I’m incredibly passionate I’ve I’ve worked in education for the past 15 years and have a deep understanding of policy I’m working incredibly hard we have a great team around us we have knocked a lot of doors we have a great number of endorsements including the current State Sen. from area Elizabeth Steiner Hayward folks should vote for me if they think we need a better future for our kids Oregonians are worried about the future when I talk to folks on the doors they’re worried that the schools are overcrowded that are our traffic is awful were not taking care the environment their healthcare costs I mean I can’t tell you how we people on the doors have told me I take my prescription drugs every other day cause I cant afford them I’m supposed to take them everyday but I can’t afford my prescription drugs and so I think folks want a different future and I think when they look at my background they can see someone who takes this stuff really seriously and can integrate these policy areas in important ways

29:17 DM – alright Mr. Saultz I really appreciate you coming in to talk to me thank you

29:22 AS – Thanks so much for having me it was great

29:26 DM – Andy Saultz is a Democrat he’s running as a candidate for House District 33 I’m don merrill thanks for listening

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March 2, 2020 at 10:39

Posted in Scratchpad

Oregon2020 – Alex Krupkin

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These transcripts are presented to help users quickly find information they are searching for within the interview. Keywords may be searched using the CTL-F function. The software used provides a very rough but phonetically accurate transcription and for the most part, punctuation is omitted. Human speech patterns, being unique, make reading the interview transcript more difficult than listening to the interview audio file. It is recommended that users use the transcript and audio file together. For more information, visit the Candidate Interview Project at

This transcript is of the Alex Krupkin interview.

DM – Don Merrill
AK – Alex Krupkin

00:00 DM – I’m don merrill I’m talking with Mr. Alex Krupkin Mr. Krupkin is running for president of the United States Mr Krupkin welcome

00:07 AK – thank you thank you

00:09 DM – so I’m talking to you because you filed as a candidate for the presidency on the federal election commission’s website why do you want to be president

00:20 AK – I want to be president to affect positive change as quickly as possible and at its core as a molecular biologist I see trouble on the horizon as far as human development is concerned like how we are basically put together and the issue for me at least is seeing the growth and environmental contaminants and were just starting to see the effects of these environmental contaminants and so my goal really is basically to clean up the environment and to switch into a economy that isn’t necessarily different on the face of it but the structure of it is a lot more sustainable basically I want create a birth of an explosion in cleantech changing all of the unit of disposable bags to rehab for potato chips to ones that perform same function but are 100% compostable of 100% made from materials like the cornstalks or anything like that very adaptable economy

01:24 DM – your party logos a triceratops and you say on your website that the three horns represent the unity of the three branches of government and now the three political parties working together

01:35 AK – right

01:38 DM – how would you get there considering last night after the state of the Union speech the speaker the house ripped up the president’s speech on national TV

01:43 AK – now is the time for America to have that third wheel as it worry you know of maybe a balance the way he took to have things change is that the third energy in the equation and that energy is at least as far as I’m concerned I think most people wanted to be a very positive direction and it was out of the core of why I think there needs to be a third-party even if it’s the kind of person like me who only ends up with all this publicity as lets just say the secretary of commerce okay is like the best case scenario is just a token to have people understand that the government is listening and the government understands the people want change but the structure of government currently isn’t able to help meet that function that desire rather so I think the arguments and embed this the level of animosity between the two parties requires there to be a third mediating party to exist and to do nothing else to be a referee

02:50 DM – shouldn’t be the job of the people to be the mediator mean that’s what that’s sort of how the Constitution is set up the House of Representatives the congress is first because it’s closest people and then you have the presidency and then you have the judiciary

03:04 AK – yeah if you mean constitutionally I think ideally but I think that the way that the government operates in the modern society is that it’s kind of out of touch and I don’t know thats the I don’t think that our government the way that it currently operates a least on the outside I know on the insider there are millions of really great employees but this was your latest thing that the powers being affected between the two parties doesn’t serve America well I I talk annexing more more more people who are disconnected because they just don’t think that it matters because it’s not really addressing the issues that the people want to change

03:41 DM – your field molecular ecology looks at populations of species relationships in space within the context of biodiversity things like that that’s looking at life and behavior on a cellular level the United States could be seen as a body with 325 million cells so using your experiences that lens how do you see our country right now

04:04 AK – our countries in the state where it’s about to have a growth explosion okay were a if you were a where we can either choose to split off and become two different beings or three different beings you know were at that kind of amorphous state in American history where much like when it was founded theres an opportunity for tremendous growth and for everybody to at least be happy in that there working towards a common goal and I think that one of the issues I have with the current body of America’s I think that it it’s it is not as well as it could be no other wellness the health of our American people the health of the rivers all of that sort of stuff is were sick is just that we could be better and I think that everybody wants the nation the body of the nation as were the bones that you know the soil that air the way that we talk to each other everything they want the body to be more well than it is now and that’s that’s has how I view it as a molecular biologist in each of the cells basically is crying out for cleaner water for better food everybody wants that organic perfect food that works in an economy where everybody’s paid 20 to 25 bucks an hour everybody wants that we have to really work towards that as a group and I think it’s time for the cells to ask the question now do we want to be contained by the by the definition of of of what we have been rudely wanted define who we are new and become a new life form new America

05:35 DM – where on the political spectrum would you say you are

05:39 AK – I’ve said this early I think I’m still dead center absolute dead center because I think that you know, looking at politics aside as I can’t like I keep going back to the kind of what the core to be a healthy America you know and I don’t think anybody on either side would say no I want a unhealthy America and how you define real health and all that sort of thing you know is up to the individual but I think that you know I I feel that I have an understanding of at least is a general basis of what the middle-of-the-road is because I think I’ve been the middle of the road of somewhat reasonable thought

06:19 DM – we know moderates are an endangered species right now

06:22 AK – I don’t think so I think politically they are

06:26 DM – you’re running for president

06:28 AK – yeah I know I i give you that moderates are a rare commodity

06:32 DM – on your website you call yourself the fun presidential candidate you also say your a real presidential candidate fun people aren’t always seen as serious and real or serious people aren’t always thought to have a sense of humor so how combined into a competent but good-humored candidate the people can like and follow

06:54 AK – well you know I think that early the early I just I think I just have to be me know I think that that’s what it is not not kind of creating a brand I am kind of the brand you know I think it if you listen to what I say in the way they approach things that’s I kind of am for lack of a better term I tried trying to be know from a Buddhist or trying to be the embodiment of those two things of being a real person and having fun because you know you can you can do a difficult project that causes you strain mental difficulty in figuring out that you can have fun by doing you know you can have fun trying to build a barn together and have fun trying to figure out complex physics equations is not it’s not that work is difficult work or painful it’s the attitude that you know that that you have it to make it fun I think I think you know when I separate myself from the previous party I was associated with all my life it was because they weren’t fun

07:57 DM – what was the previous party

07:58 AK – I know I’m a lifelong moderate Democrat okay and and I had been for you know for a long time my mom know came to this country and I don’t want to go and all of it but the bottom line is that in oh women’s rights people’s rights in general were always important to us and the kind of the Democratic side of view at that time when I was growing up in a really reflected that at least as far as I could tell maybe maybe I was blinded I don’t know but it just seems that up until I think you know 2012 things started to get contentious and end a little you know Testier and by the time 2016 was over it was just a full on fistfight between you know basically the Bernie people and and the Clinton people in and fighting within a party is not fun and I just was like you know how I got silly arguments with people that I thought I was close to and I was like I am done being a Democrat

09:01 DM – do you have a campaign

09:02 AK – well yes I do

09:06 DM – between October 15 and December 31, 2019 your campaign raised $4100 is that from a lot of smaller donors are from a few major donors

09:16 AK – me that’s in my wife said you know don’t go crazy with this right and so you know originally 5000 but it just like I whatever 4100 seems like a decent number so I pulled it out and my plan basically is to use it to have as much fun campaigning as I can and the first only be doing is making T-shirts actually the design on my website is not the same as the ones can be the final is a

09:50 DM – you have you have something in mind for final designs not the Triceratops

09:55 AK – no it’s the triceratops but instead of the it’s can have fun on it instead of something else that I had before the Triceratops is is is I have to go check my paperwork but year the Triceratops is is it that’s there’s no question that that’s going to be my symbol in the symbol of the fun party because like I was saying before his release smiles we see the Triceratops like it is just a fun thing played with as a kid you know

10:22 DM – do you have any endorsements

10:25 AK – know not at moment no

10:26 DM – do you have any public events planned

10:27 AL – well I think I think I do a lot of public events but they’re mostly Internet-based and the issue with public events is part of this campaign will be a low-budget affair is I feel that as as as and as a nation are as a society were Past the point of having to meet the person you know all you don’t necessarily have like a lot of events like that in a rallies and things like that and I just can’t want this to be a common natural growth campaign and yes I will eventually have some things going on but you know for the most part at least in Oregon from what I’ve seen is that you know the political rallies you very rarely get back what you invest in if you know what I mean like the amount of money and time you pour into creating an event in a live event because people don’t go out as much people are on their phones and stuff like that so

11:26 DM – I’m not sure return on investment is really what politicians are thinking about when trying to get public office I think they want they want to get elected and thats return on investment isn’t it

11:35 AK – they want return on investment money there’s no question about that that they they wan’t return on investment that’s one of the key things that’s different about modern politics I think it’s because you know you have a budget bernies got a $27 million whatever handing over to the DNC but you want to win your investment is to win

11:54 DM – right write that’s the goal

11:58 AK – right that’s what I’m saying the return on investment is for me is awareness and so you know if I spend $1000 putting out of event that only like 15 people show up and get like seven tweets out of it than that’s a very poor impact looking for maximum amount of impact per dollar and you know you doing this interview with me is absolutely fantastic I love that you’re doing this project that you know it’s it was interesting to me to find out how many people are really running for president in America and so you taken on Oregon by itself which you know is is I’m sure going to be a bit of a chore so and I wish you well in the project

12:47 DM – do you have campaign machinery that lets you operate in other states other states

12:53 AK – not at the moment no into my original idea while the original ideas I had was to have a lot of awareness mostly in the Northwest the hope was that it would go at a greater rate you I thought I get a lot more help we’ll get into that later but what was question again sorry

13:10 DM – do you have campaign machinery that lets you operate in other states

13:13 AK – no only thing have done other than filing in Oregon to file a have the ability to file to create a party is also did that New Mexico so basically it’s a you file an intent to file and I did that in Oregon and New Mexico but I don’t have boots on the ground anywhere no

13:32 DM – you mentioned the other Oregon presidential candidates how you different from those 14 other challengers

13:39 AK – I haven’t looked at all the myself but I I are all of the ones that you look at registered on the FEC okay the other thing is when you run for president you don’t always have to be registered with the FEC you can just declare run for president and you don’t have to do anything other than do that to be officially I got president presidential candidate because how many of us have heard some Israeli somebody say I’m running for president so technically that person is running for president I think the difference between me is that I’m the best one

14:14 DM – so then that leads me to my next question how are you different from the major national candidates

14:20 AL – I because I listen to the people more accurately because I have real-world experience you know that sort of thing on I like to think I’m much closer to the reality of your everyday person then a career politician and while their good being politicians I think that another ability to communicate really get things done is limited by who they are by the constraints that they put themselves on within these political parties and being a Democrat or Republican itself you know what makes me a better candidate is having the freedom you know that’s part of the fun is that I’m don’t necessarily want to have to define what it is what the process is part of this is is that the interested parties define what the fun party is what the new way to govern how is it twitter is it is in some secure online site that the State Department puts out that you have to have a code for you know that associated with drivers license you know and just trying to get people to be engaged in shaping their own world and I think that because of the negative discourse between the two parties there’s that this is that time were third-party could actually be viable in at least push the front runner into a much more stable situation than otherwise

15:45 DM – candidates often make promises while there campaigning that they know they can’t fulfill once again to the office what you think of what’s often seen as the conflict between promises and reality

16:00 AK – I think of it people have understand that that’s part of the game and that the promises are just that they’re just their promises are not oaths you know that you know that that’s that’s that’s more of a fundamental issue that the I think that the voting public has to deal with

16:21 DM – your platform is pretty simple you basically it’s a shorter work week and raise our hourly wage using the budget to jumpstart a huge infusion of technology which could result more jobs to fix some of are the problems and working together oh and a lot of weed and beer

16:39 AK – a lot of weed and beer

16:43 DM – is that a viable platform

16:45 AK – yes yes I the platform is realistic I think in that if you look at it a lot of what I talk about is the long long-term and I think that one of the things that we need to do I know it’s not like we are the world sort of situation where everybody holding hands but I think we need to recognize that we need to work together towards 2030 you know and I think that in order to do that we need to bootstrap ourselves basically it’s like it’s one of those things where we get up and start working towards the future that we want every thing else will follow you know of how you how do you start a new business venture right so the answers you think it’s a viable think it’s of a I think it’s viable I think that I think the promise of a new sort of world slowly opening up over the next 30 years gives us the possibilities of having shorter work weeks with higher pay a lot a lot of the work that I envision I think this is important for people understand a lot of the work that I envision is going to be highly adaptable skilled work you basically going to be you know everybody’s going to need to learn a trade of some sort that they really want have a decent job and have to do a good job at it because I and you said how many 325 million Americans I think you’re underestimating I think its closer for 450 and I think that in 30 years that numbers can be closer 800 and so we have to realize that were at this point where we can grow grow grow in a beautiful way right absolutely magnificent beautiful semi-harmonious way and that being the case is there’s more people and there is roughly to be the same amount of work that happens over time even though obviously corresponds mathematically the ideas that the more people there are in you know the less you have to work but if everybody there is a very well skilled trades person and is worth the money that paying them then everybody can earn 30 bucks an hour or is it is a plumber carpenter or special chef or whatever it is there’s going to be a lot of work to be done that can be well compensated for

19:02 DM – talk about some of the issues you’d certainly facing you were elected president going to go through a few random ones abortion is a national issue conservatives are bringing many cases before the supreme court in hopes that it will hear one of them and possibly re-examine Roe versus Wade some presidents have openly said they are against abortion what’s your view

19:27 AK – excellent question and I have given us a bit of thought I wanted take abortion and have it regulated on the county level overseen by the states and what that allows for his allows for the territories for state like lets just look at Georgia okay Ima guess that Atlanta would be pro-abortion where the rest of the state or much of the rest of the state would be antiabortion it allows this understanding of and separation of ideals it’s like you I know that you’re not going to change oh I know you’re not in a change if you don’t like the fact that we don’t allow abortion here go move to Atlanta oh you don’t like to be have abortion, the thing is that in so I think in a way it would just calm that conversation down and allow people to express their desires very strongly and be able to govern and take care of that issue on a on a local level and because and I’m in it seems a little bit of an oversimplification but ideally I think that the it makes sense to me

20:36 DM – okay a few years ago the Civil Rights Act some say was gutted and paved the way for states to begin rolling back protections for minorities especially in southern states but LGBTQ proponents also say they need protection in the workplace and housing and schools the ERA now has enough votes for ratification although Congress says it missed its deadline by decades so do you feel the nation is where it needs to be in the area of civil rights

21:07 AK – its close probably just talk about this on a molecular level okay if you think about who we are as far as genetics is concerned that we are born with whole set of predispositions and its possible that you know maybe because of a pheromone that I excrete that you hate me right there’s just a receptor in your brain that says for some reason they could be completely genetic drift but for some reason you hate me right and when you tell people that oh you can’t hate me fundamentally on the brain it’s like that that’s just their wiring right I mean you sure you can overcome that with education but I think that its more of a live and let live sort of situation here where you again the, stratification of America rather than a regulation of America and you know we can go on it but as many laws it in in in order to protect people but my comes right down to it it’s not going to force people to do what they don’t want so we the hope is that if you want to discriminate against people who wear blue and have tattoos of kittens then fine you know than that’s just the way its going to be can of be supporters of people who are blue and have tattoos of kittens want to boycott you then fine you know I think that having this regulated rather than have become it’s more of an economic issue you know stratified economically and of course of there’s violence harm that’s a law-enforcement issue that not to be tolerated but otherwise when I grew up as a kid you know there were just some places you didn’t shop because they didn’t like you okay you weren’t welcome there you just didn’t put your money in there till and I think that we need to go back to that so if know they don’t if people just don’t like you than allow them to just not like you and move on with your life

23:03 DM – so what you’re saying is you sound like you’re saying it’s okay for people to self segregate

23:07 AK – yes absolutely people want to self segregating

23:13 DM – even if collectivism I think has been shown in sociobiology as one the best ways for societies to move forward

23:22 AK – well collectivism only occurs with interbreeding and interbreeding always occurs when two populations border each other so this is a matter of this is why social change has the ability change so quickly in America right now we’re at that point were that mixing pot is going to just make lots of like another 250 million new babies in the next 30 years least so I think you just have to let the process occur when people talk about the process you have to let the biological process flow

23:57 DM – I’m thinking about historical corollaries to that

24:03 AK – okay

24:04 DM – like redlining and forced school busing and an instance involving Melissa and the Supreme Court case where she and her husband’s business went out of business because they refused to make a cake for LGBT couple yet they were making a decision they were self segregating so you’re saying that those kind of examples are they represent of what you’re talking about are you saying those are examples of letting the natural process proceed as it does

24:38 AK – if you don’t want to sell cakes to the homosexuals then fine but the other side the coin is go somewhere else or learn to make your own cake don’t give them your money don’t get upset about it don’t make this into a rage just don’t make this into an injustice alright dude I’m going to order one off of Amazon you know it’s just that easy you know is it’s like if people don’t like you it’s a turn the other cheek sort of thing I guess but you I grew up with it and it worked fine as far as we’re concerned you know the just people self segregating they do that automatically based on just their biorhythms I guess you know if it’s in its if you just let the natural process occur in a relaxed setting that I think we’d be a lot further ahead of other nations I think that’s can make America incredible is to just let us be who we are and be awesome

24:39 DM – okay so this is a lightning round I’m going to mention an issue and and you give me maybe a quick one sentence policy shall do my best to fire away healthcare

25:50 AK – healthcare we need to change the overall wellness… not going to be able to fix the current healthcare so everybody just get healthier

26:00 DM – Social Security

26:03 AK – Oy just oy

26:06 DM – terrorism

26:07 AK – that’s a problem I think that we just need to really pursue and we need to find out what the core problems is that’s causing the hate at that level in fix it

26:18 DM – immigration

26:20 AK – immigration is going to be something that we’re good have to deal with and I want to include immigrants as long as they provide a long-term economic benefit

26:31 DM – climate change

26:33 AK – well you I’d love to as a scientist I would love to have just a little bit more data and understand it that way but the fact that I have seen a lot of change in the short time leads me to believe that we need to make some action level

26:50 DM – national infrastructure

26:52 AK – that’s good to be a overhaul that’s a lot of them monies can be used by that cleantech monies can be used to find new ways to create roads or power or all that stuff you that’s that’s major overhaul major overhaul

27:10 DM – the military and VA

27:13 AK – I’d love to change the VA to actually work from what I understand it never really has and I don’t know why you know what you know would be great for the VA Hulk Hogan I want the Hulk Hogan in charge the VA as far as armed forces are concerned I I need more data on you that’s something I need to know more before anything

27:32 DM – technology transfers of

27:36 AK – technology transfer I think that the key on you mean patents

27:42 DM – and also the protection of technology from hostile states like China

27:46 AL – yeah well don’t know if I’d say hostile states but opportunist states we need to protect that that is an absolute critical portion of of my vision is that as we create this cleantech you can be darn sure were gonna protect it

28:03 DM – what do your friends and family think about your campaign to be Pres. you mentioned that your wife said you know don’t go crazy this

28:14 AK – its funny that you say it that way because everybody else that I know thinks I literally have gone crazy with this like all of my friends all of my family have abandoned me like you wouldn’t believe they won’t even talk to be me now the just like they couldn’t believe that I could go oppose them at least myself as a lifelong Democrat could possibly go in the face of of what the wise DNC wanted to serve me you know theyre appalled that I would oppose the DNC I think that’s really the bottom line

28:42 DM – is this a stunt or are you as serious as you can be

28:46 AK – no I’m this is me and so you know if you as a country want us they are I you know what this looks like it could be a fun idea and so if you want to get me to Washington I will do the job

29:00 DM – this my last question why should Americans vote for you

29:04 AK – because it’s fun because if you’re just tired of politics as usual a third-party fun party the way go

29:15 DM – okay Mr. Krupkin thank you very much for talking I really appreciate it

29:19 AK – I really appreciate you having here don

29:21 DM – my name don merrill and I’ve been talking with Alex krupkin mr krupkin has registered on the federal election commission’s website for Pres. of the United States mr Krupkin, thank you again

29:32 AK – all right thank you can I mention my website

29:35 DM – sure go ahead

29:36 AK – if you wanting more information go to thank you

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March 2, 2020 at 08:07

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Sounds Familiar

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Rural Radio ImageRural radio stations are disappearing.  I talk about this in my new book, PLEDGE: The Public Radio Fund Drive, at Little stations, unable to meet impossible matching requirements for federal money, slowly dying while their frequencies get gobbled up by big radio corporations. If you think this doesn’t affect you, you’re wrong. Read more about it here.

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August 31, 2019 at 02:22

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Great Interview

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Had a good talk with Nicholas Erickson of Rhetor News about PLEDGE: The Public Radio Fund Drive at  Here it here:

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August 31, 2019 at 02:15

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KBOO interviews me.

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Newsies Lisa Loving and Annette Newell talk with me about my book, PLEDGE: The Public Radio Fund Drive during an episode of KBOO’s “News from the Boo.” It was the fastest 9 minutes ever.  Find it here:

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July 29, 2019 at 06:57

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(Overcoming) The Fear

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Whenever I see or hear of someone that inspires me with what they’ve done, it reminds me of how scary it can be to put yourself out there. I’ve been feeling that especially as my book filters it way out to more people. I found somebody else who gets exactly how I’ve been feeling recently. It’s a part of a blogpost by Carol Lynch Williams on her blog, “Throwing up Words.” It was republished by Chris Crowe on his blog, “Writing is an Act of Faith.”

“It is an act of faith to plop down in a chair—on a good, bad, or indifferent day—and to face the blank page or computer screen with a subconscious voice drowning out all your thoughts and inspiration with head-splitting shrieks of high expectations, self-criticism and self-doubt. To put that first letter on the great unknown of the blank page is an act of faith comparable to anything the boldest dreamers and explorers have done: to go boldly where no one has gone before. Faith is what turns that first letter into the first word, the first word into the first sentence, the first sentence into the first paragraph, the first paragraph into the first page. Moving that pen or striking that keyboard is like planting a tiny mustard seed with the hope, the faith, that it will, eventually, with time and effort, turn into something much grander than the original speck of organic material.

It is an audacious act of faith to keep stringing words and sentences together for an extended period of time, hoping that with enough effort, they will eventually add up to a book that is much greater than the sum of its parts. You hope that, even in the face of self-doubt, rejection, and failure, your faith will give you the courage to write that first letter, to plant a tiny speck on the blank page and to hope, no, to know, that if you keep going, sooner or later it will begin to add up to something. It’s a leap of faith, really, but you have learned that if you take that leap into the great blank unknown, you can write. Believe it or not, you can write. Really, you can write.”

Yeah, that about sums it up.

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July 22, 2019 at 03:51

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Branding Music for PLEDGEtheBook

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I comissioned two pieces of music to coincide with the book’s release. I’ll be including them in marketing pieces for the book later in the month. The composers and I worked hard to find that public radio feel. I think we got it.

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July 9, 2019 at 06:45

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