Congressman Blumenauer Visits Campus, Gives Perspective on Political Issues

LC alum pays visit to the Manor House  after 2014 elections

By Guadalupe Triana /// Managing Editor

Just two days after the 2014 elections, Oregon’s 3rd District Representative, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (’71) spoke to students at the Frank Manor House about today’s controversial political issues, including the legalization of marijuana, the status of undocumented immigrants and global climate change.

“It’s too late to reverse some of these pretty dramatic impacts, but it’s not a foregone conclusion that we’re just going to make the planet uninhabitable,” Blumenauer said to a room of about 18 students. “Stuff is in fact happening. Stuff you can’t ignore. It really is there.”

Clad in his signature bowtie, Blumenauer not only stressed the importance of the larger community’s recognition of global climate change, but emphasized the achievements of Lewis & Clark Pioneers as well.

“I am really proud of what’s been going on campus. The advocacy the people have had for the environment—for livability,” Blumenauer said. “It’s been really fun watching it and students here, for the last dozen years, have been  at the forefront environmentally.”

Among these prominent issues, Blumenauer also spoke about the 2014 elections and their results throughout the country. For Oregon, the election marked the end of a memorable campaigning season and the start of an era dealing with new, noteworthy issues.

“Part of what I’m interested in exploring is how students are going to be reacting to these challenges—the big problems with the economy, immigration reform, climate change—these are problems that affect everybody, but the consequences are more serious for younger Americans,” Blumenauer said. “We need to [be] sure […] to connect it to them, to be a part of this conversation. I feel students feel like they’ve got not just a stake in the outcome, but a voice and a role in the solutions.”

In what seemed to have marked a historic election, Blumenauer shared his thoughts on the 2014 results that included Measure 88 and Measure 91. Measure 88, which would have allowed for undocumented immigrants to attain driver cards statewide, received majority 66 percent no, while Measure 91 legalized the recreational use of marijuana throughout the state of Oregon. The measure passed with 55.9 percent yes.

“We had a pathbreaking vote on accelerating the reform of marijuana and even though the driver card failed statewide, in my district it passed. For me it was inspirational to work with so many young people who went out door to door, making the case. We had a very strong vote for it here,” Blumenauer said.

Blumenauer, who is also an alum of the Law School, often visits both campuses to discuss issues affecting the country and Oregon.

“It was great to have the Congressman talk to students in such a close and comfortable space. There was very little formality and it was an honest conversation about topics we care about.” Politics Club President Daniela Lopez (’16) said. “He was very real. He was very honest. And he was very personable. He made sure to open up the space for us students and cater to us.”

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