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Earl Blumenauer

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Preceded by  Ronald L. Wyden
Political party  Democratic
Succeeded by  Erik Sten
Name  Earl Blumenauer
Preceded by  John W. Anunsen
Role  U.S. Representative
Succeeded by  Richard H. Bauman

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Born  August 16, 1948 (age 67) Portland, Oregon, U.S. (1948-08-16)
Alma mater  Lewis and Clark College
Office  Representative (D-OR 3rd District) since 1996
Spouse  Margaret Blumenauer (m. 2004)
Residence  Portland, Oregon, United States
Children  Anne Blumenauer, Jon Blumenauer
Education  Lewis & Clark Law School (1976), Lewis & Clark College (1970), Centennial High School
Similar People  Peter DeFazio, Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley, Greg Walden, Suzanne Bonamici

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Earl Blumenauer (born August 16, 1948) is the U.S. Representative for Oregon's 3rd congressional district, serving since 1996. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes most of Portland east of the Willamette River. He previously spent over 20 years as a public official in Portland, including serving on the Portland City Council from 1987 to 1996.


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Early life

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Blumenauer was born in Portland on August 16, 1948. In 1966, he graduated from Centennial High School on the eastside of Portland and then enrolled at Lewis & Clark College in the southwest part of the city. He majored in political science and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lewis & Clark in 1970. Blumenauer completed his education in 1976 when he earned a Juris Doctor degree from the school's Northwestern School of Law (now Lewis & Clark Law School). Starting before law school in 1970 and continuing until 1977, he worked as an assistant to the president of Portland State University.

Early political career

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In 1969–70, Blumenauer organized and led Oregon's "Go 19" campaign, an effort to lower the state voting age (while then unsuccessful it supported the national trend which soon resulted in the Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution which lowered the voting age to 18). In 1972, he was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives as a Democrat representing District 11 in Multnomah County. He won re-election in 1974 and 1976, and continued representing Portland and Multnomah County until the 1979 legislative session. From 1975 to 1981 he served on the board of Portland Community College. Following his time in the Oregon Legislature, he served on the Multnomah County Commission from 1979 to 1986. He lost a race for Portland City Council to Margaret Strachan in 1981. He left the county commission in March 1986 to run again for city council.

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Blumenauer was elected to the Portland City Council in May 1986. His first term began in January 1987, and he remained on the council until 1996. From the start of his first council term, he was named the city's Commissioner of Public Works, which made him the city council member in charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (also known as the Transportation Commissioner). During his time on the city council Blumenauer was appointed by Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt to the state's commission on higher education, and he served on that board in 1990 and 1991. In 1992, Blumenauer was defeated by Vera Katz in an open race for mayor of Portland—to date, only the second time that Blumenauer has ever lost an election. At the time he was described as "the man who probably knows the most about how Portland works", but left local politics to run for Congress. After winning election to Congress, he resigned from the city council in May 1996, to take up his new office. In 2010, Earl Blumenauer received The Ralph Lowell Award for outstanding contributions to Public Television.

U.S. House of Representatives

Blumenauer was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1996 in a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the election of then-U.S. Representative Ron Wyden to the U.S. Senate. He received 69% of the vote, defeating Republican Mark Brunelle. He was elected to a full term that November, and has been re-elected eight more times by wide margins in what has long been the most Democratic district in Oregon. He was most recently reelected in 2014, winning 72.3% of the vote over Republican James Buchal, who won 19.6%.

Blumenauer served as Oregon campaign chair for both John Kerry's and Barack Obama's presidential campaigns.

In Congress, Blumenauer is noted for his advocacy for mass transit, such as Portland's MAX Light Rail and the Portland Streetcar, and, as a strong supporter of legislation that promotes bicycle commuting, cycles from his Washington residence to the Capitol and even to the White House for meetings.

Among the bills that Blumenauer has sponsored that have become law are the Bunning-Bereuter-Blumenauer Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004 and the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005. In addition, the Legal Timber Protection Act passed as part of the 2008 Farm Bill, while the Bicycle Commuter Act passed with the 2008 bailout bill.

He is active in pressuring the United States to take greater action on the Darfur conflict.

In the political aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Blumenauer noted that he was among those who had pointed out the vulnerability of New Orleans and encouraged Congress to help that city and the gulf coast get better prepared:

  • September 15, 2004: Mr. Speaker, barely have we recovered from Hurricane Hugo and we are seeing Hurricane Ivan pose the threat that has long been feared by those in Louisiana, that this actually might represent the loss of the City of New Orleans. Located 15 feet below sea level, there is the potential of a 30-foot wall of water putting at risk $100 billion of infrastructure and industry and countless lives.
  • January 26, 2005: Mr. Speaker, I recently had the opportunity to view the devastation in Southeast Asia as a result of the tsunami. As appalled as I was by what I saw, I must confess that occasionally my thoughts drifted back to the United States. What would have happened if last September, Hurricane Ivan had veered 40 miles to the west, devastating the city of New Orleans? One likely scenario would have had a tsunami-like 30-foot wall of water hitting the city, causing thousands of deaths and $100 billion in damage...The experience of Southeast Asia should convince us all of the urgent need for congressional action to prevent wide-scale loss of life and economic destruction at home and abroad. Prevention and planning will pay off. Maybe the devastation will encourage us to act before disaster strikes.
  • Blumenauer is a supporter of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has voted for "free trade" agreements with Peru, Australia, Singapore, Chile as well as Africa and the Caribbean. Blumenauer's support for these free trade agreements has angered progressives, environmental and labor activists. In 2004, he voted against the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). On September 24, 2007, four labor and human rights activists were arrested in Blumenauer's office protesting the congressman's support for the Peru Free Trade Agreement.

    In February 2009, after an incident in Connecticut wherein a domesticated chimpanzee severely mauled a woman gained national attention, Blumenauer sponsored the Captive Primate Safety Act to bar the sale or purchase of non-human primates for personal possession between states and from outside of the country. The previous year, in June 2008, Blumenauer had sponsored legislation to ban interstate trafficking of great apes, which had passed in the House but been tabled by the Senate.

    Blumenauer has received some media attention during the political debate over health care reform for sponsoring an amendment to the America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 to change current procedures to mandate that Medicare pay for end-of-life counseling. The amendment, as introduced, is based on an earlier proposal cosponsored by Blumenauer and Republican Representative Charles Boustany of Louisiana. The amendment has generated controversy, with conservative figures as well known as 2008 vice presidential candidate and former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin suggesting that the amendment, if made law, will be used as a cover for the United States federal government to set up "death panels" to determine which people will receive medical treatment. Blumenauer sharply criticized the claim as "mind-numbing" and called it an "all-time low". His rebuke was echoed by Republican Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who scorned the "death panels" claim as "nuts".

    On July 24, 2014, Blumenauer introduced the Emergency Afghan Allies Extension Act of 2014 (H.R. 5195; 113th Congress), a bill that would authorize an additional 1,000 emergency Special Immigrant Visas that the United States Department of State could issue to Afghan translators who served with U.S. troops during the War in Afghanistan. Blumenauer argued that "a failure to provide these additional visas ensures the many brave translators the U.S. promised to protect in exchange for their services would be left in Afghanistan, hiding, their lives still threatened daily by the Taliban."

    Committee assignments

  • Committee on Ways and Means
  • Subcommittee on Health
  • Political positions

    In 1996, during Blumenauer's first year in congress, he voted in support of the Defense of Marriage Act which was ultimately passed that same year. The law was found unconstitutional in 2013 and repealed. On October 1, 2015, following the Umpqua Community College shooting, Blumenauer tweeted his report addressing the issue of gun violence in America titled 'Enough is Enough: A Comprehensive Plan to Improve Gun Safety' which he had published earlier in the year.


    Earl Blumenauer Wikipedia