I woke up yesterday with Ben Bochner's song Hold On Strong in my head. Let's start there :)

Hard times coming
You can see it everywhere
You can read it in the paper
You can feel it in the air
Gonna be trial and tribulation
Astonishment and shock
You’re gonna need a strong foundation
You’re gonna need a solid rock

We gotta hold on to each other
Hold on strong
We gotta hold on to each other
Til the danger’s gone
We gotta hold on to each other
All night long
We gotta hold on to each other
Got to hold on

It’s easy to get lonely
Yeah, it’s easy to get lost
And it’s easy to get crumpled up
Towed away and tossed
But don’t let yourself get isolated
Don’t get caught up in despair
Don’t run and hide
Just come inside
You know you’ll find us there


Even the tallest tree in the forest
Can’t make it on its own
You’re gonna need some friends around you
When that wind begins a-blowin’
It’s gonna shake up all our branches
It’s gonna tug on all our roots
Til the only thing left standing
Is the love that’s great and true

The scene: a beautiful day; quiet house; fig tree loaded with figs. It's harvest time. Sukkot.

I've been thinking a lot about leadership lately. Who's leading on various levels - and how they're doing. I'm sure that's on many people's minds right now. I found myself reading the Willamette Week yesterday and their coverage of the Oregon's governor's race . They were highlighting Democrats who have switched sides and are backing the Republican candidate Knute Buehler. To me this is an awful idea and it's important that people back Democrat Kate Brown . Governor Brown is a solid person and leader. She's not flashy, but she gets things done. I think the main concern I have with electing a Republican in Oregon is all of the people that person has to hire and manage. The Republicans don't have many leaders that put people first and if Buehler wins he'll be hiring people to replace those running various Oregon departments - as Trump has replaced people in the various departments that he overseas (look how well that's going - example: EPA).

I've been watching Oregon's state forests get clear-cut since I moved here in 2002. During that time I've been advocating for our board of forestry to include people who are not timber company owners. Just recently, we finally got 3 new members to that board appointed by Governor Brown. It's a big change and I'm hoping the whole Board gets a refresh some day. Governor Brown has also been great in many ways - helping stop LNG from coming to Jordan Cove and Nestle from bottling our water. Please join me in supporting her campaign.

Another woman candidate that I've been learning about and supporting is running in Oregon's 2nd Congressional District - Eastern Oregon! That's Jamie McLeod-Skinner . Jamie is running against one of my least favorite members of Congress, Greg Walden who votes consistently with Trump and misrepresents the interests of Oregonians in my opinion. Like Obamacare? Then you should be working to defeat Walden.

Lastly, Joanne Hardesty for Portland City Council. Joanne has been out there on the streets for years fighting the hard fight. She's a powerhouse and we're lucky to have her be willing to serve as a City Council member.

To discuss these races and more I'll be hosting a voting party once we have our ballots later this month. If you've never been to a voting party, consider hosting one of your own . They are a lot of fun and give everyone a chance to discuss the candidates and issues of the day. Plus, it's wonderful when you get first time voters showing up - I really can't express how beautiful an experience that is. Here are some pics from a voting party in 2008!
On a more personal level I recently had a chance to visit my family back East. I flew to Philly, and then drove with my parents to DC where we stayed with my brother, Dan. Dan MC'd an Irish music festival stage and also performed at the festival. I also got to visit the African American Museum in DC which was very moving. I highly recommend visiting that museum then next time you're in DC. Once back in PA I spent a couple of rainy days at our cabin in Sumneytown, PA and reconnected with some childhood friends and the trees, creeks and fresh air @ Camp Smiley .

I hope you're doing well. Don't forget to stay in the present moment. The present moment is probably pretty awesome - and it's a great place to start from. If you find yourself getting frustrated - drink a glass of water, take a big breath and notice what's happening right around you.

Big hugs and happy Autumn. Please make sure everyone you know is registered to vote - this one matters a lot.