Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: May 1996, 9th full term.

Born: August 16, 1948, Portland

Home: Portland

Education: Lewis & Clark Col., B.A. 1970, J.D. 1976

Professional Career: Asst. to pres., Portland St. U., 1970–77.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: no religious affiliation

Family: married (Margaret) , 4 children

Democrat Earl Blumenauer, who won a special election in May 1996, is best known for his role as Congress’ point person on “smart growth” planning strategies that combat urban sprawl and promote alternatives to driving. He is also known for his distinctive bow ties.

Blumenauer grew up in Portland and graduated from Lewis and Clark College and its Northwestern Law School. In his teens, he was inspired by the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s. In 1969 in college, he headed a statewide campaign to lower Oregon’s voting age. He has held public office almost all of his adult life. In 1972, at age 23, he was elected to the Oregon House; in 1978, he was elected to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners. In 1986, he was elected to the Portland City Council.

He championed many of the policies that have made Portland distinctive—regional light-rail transit, curbside recycling, and aggressive land-use planning. He encouraged bicycle riding and “regional rail summits,” which bring neighborhood residents into the planning for higher densities at transit nodes. Blumenauer has had some setbacks, notably when he lost the 1992 mayoral race. But he was the obvious successor to Rep. Ron Wyden when Wyden was elected to the Senate, and he won the special election 68%-25%. His campaign slogan was “Vote Earl, Vote Often.” He has never drawn less than 67% of the vote in any election since.

In the House, Blumenauer was the most liberal member of the Oregon delegation until 2013, when his new colleague Suzanne Bonamici edged him out after winning election in 2012. He and Colorado’s Jared Polis were lead sponsors of the February 2013 bill allowing states to legalize medical marijuana and to regulate it in a manner similar to alcohol. “We’re still arresting two-thirds of a million people for use of a substance that a majority feel should be legal,” Blumenauer told The Associated Press. He also has been active in promoting healthier school lunches.

Blumenauer rides his bicycle everywhere he travels around Washington from his Capitol Hill apartment. He formed a Congressional Bike Caucus that boasts more than 170 members and fought for showers for bike commuters at the Capitol. Blumenauer was astonished to find that the House subsidized parking for employees, but not mass transit; now, employees can get subsidized transit fares.He is interested in what seem like quixotic projects now but may seem less so in time: an interstate highway system for bicycle paths and less dependence on driving as a tool to improve public health. “The rise of bicycles is a metaphor for change in this country,” Blumenauer says.

The sometimes nerdy policy wonk has developed an audience for his gospel of livability and civic values, including the Obama administration, which has embraced some of his concepts. However, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has dismissed his ideas as “central planning.” The Internet-savvy Blumenauer sets his BlackBerry to notify him when he is mentioned in a blog posting, and he responds on a regular basis.

On economic issues, he has actively promoted trade across the Pacific, a key element of Portland’s economy. He joined Illinois GOP Rep. Aaron Schock in 2012 in complaining to the Obama administration that tariffs imposed on U.S.-designed footwear imported from Asia discriminate against companies like Oregon’s Nike. He supported normal trade relations with China as well as free trade agreements in 2011 with Panama and South Korea, but he joined most House Democrats in opposing the Central America Free Trade Agreement. When Democrats assumed the majority in 2007, Blumenauer secured a seat on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee and became a more active lawmaker. He gave the panel a new focus on the environment and urban planning, including his call for tax subsidies for bicycle commuting that were included in the Troubled Asset Relief Program law of 2008. He also promoted a national pilot program to examine alternative ways to tax road use.

Blumenauer chairs the Congressional Public Broadcasting Caucus and was an outspoken critic of a Republican proposal to strike funding for National Public Radio in 2011, citing polls showing strong public support for the operation. During the earlier health care debate, he promoted legislation to allow doctors to charge Medicare for end-of-life consultations, a proposal that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin famously charged would lead to “death panels.” He staged a retaliation of sorts in 2011, when he questioned the Park Service about whether Palin received preferential treatment during her widely publicized bus tour of national historic sites.

He seriously considered running for mayor of Portland in 2004 but decided against it.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4811

(202) 225-8941

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1111
Washington, DC 20515-3703

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4811

(202) 225-8941

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1111
Washington, DC 20515-3703

DISTRICT OFFICE

(503) 231-2300

(503) 230-5413

911 NE 11th Avenue Suite 200
Portland, OR 97232-4128

DISTRICT OFFICE

(503) 231-2300

(503) 230-5413

911 NE 11th Avenue Suite 200
Portland, OR 97232-4128

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(503) 235-3399

232 NE Ninth Avenue
Portland, OR 97232

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

232 NE Ninth Avenue
Portland, OR 97232

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Kristen Donheffner
Legislative Assistant

Agriculture

Stephanie Phillips
Legislative Assistant

Animal Rights

Stephanie Phillips
Legislative Assistant

Emily Hebbron
Field Representative

Appropriations

Paul Balmer
Legislative Assistant

Laura Thrift
Legislative Director

Arts

Emily Hebbron
Field Representative

Banking

Jason Little
District Scheduler

Budget

David Skillman
Deputy Chief of Staff; Counsel

Stephanie Phillips
Legislative Assistant

Campaign

Paul Balmer
Legislative Assistant

Tara Sulzen
District Representative

Laura Thrift
Legislative Director

Census

Emily Hebbron
Field Representative

Commerce

Jason Little
District Scheduler

Communication

Jason Little
District Scheduler

Crime

Dillon Bergstad
Military Fellow

Disability

Liv Brumfield
Field Representative

Laura Thrift
Legislative Director

Disaster

Tara Sulzen
District Representative

Liv Brumfield
Field Representative

Economics

David Skillman
Deputy Chief of Staff; Counsel

Education

Paul Balmer
Legislative Assistant

Emily Hebbron
Field Representative

Energy

Stephanie Phillips
Legislative Assistant

Environment

Stephanie Phillips
Legislative Assistant

Finance

David Skillman
Deputy Chief of Staff; Counsel

Laura Thrift
Legislative Director

Govt Ops

Kristen Donheffner
Legislative Assistant

Paul Balmer
Legislative Assistant

Willie Smith
District Director

Liv Brumfield
Field Representative

Laura Thrift
Legislative Director

Gun Issues

Kristen Donheffner
Legislative Assistant

Emily Hebbron
Field Representative

Health

Kristen Donheffner
Legislative Assistant

Emily Hebbron
Field Representative

Tara Sulzen
District Representative

Wendy Serrano
Caseworker

Laura Thrift
Legislative Director

Homeland Security

Dillon Bergstad
Military Fellow

Housing

Tara Sulzen
District Representative

Liv Brumfield
Field Representative

Laura Thrift
Legislative Director

Human Rights

Tara Sulzen
District Representative

Wendy Serrano
Caseworker

Immigration

Kristen Donheffner
Legislative Assistant

Liv Brumfield
Field Representative

Wendy Serrano
Caseworker

Judiciary

Stephanie Phillips
Legislative Assistant

Julia Pomeroy
Chief of Staff

Labor

Dillon Bergstad
Military Fellow

Laura Thrift
Legislative Director

Medicare

Emily Hebbron
Field Representative

Wendy Serrano
Caseworker

Laura Thrift
Legislative Director

Military

Dillon Bergstad
Military Fellow

Native Americans

Stephanie Phillips
Legislative Assistant

Rules

Laura Thrift
Legislative Director

Seniors

Emily Hebbron
Field Representative

Social Security

Kristen Donheffner
Legislative Assistant

Emily Hebbron
Field Representative

Wendy Serrano
Caseworker

Tax

David Skillman
Deputy Chief of Staff; Counsel

Jason Little
District Scheduler

Tara Sulzen
District Representative

Technology

Jason Little
District Scheduler

Telecommunications

Paul Balmer
Legislative Assistant

Jason Little
District Scheduler

Trade

Jason Little
District Scheduler

Transportation

Paul Balmer
Legislative Assistant

Tara Sulzen
District Representative

Liv Brumfield
Field Representative

Urban Affairs

Laura Thrift
Legislative Director

Veterans

Dillon Bergstad
Military Fellow

Welfare

Kristen Donheffner
Legislative Assistant

Tara Sulzen
District Representative

Laura Thrift
Legislative Director

Women

Kristen Donheffner
Legislative Assistant

Julia Pomeroy
Chief of Staff

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Earl Blumenauer
Votes: 264,979
Percent: 74.62%
Ronald Green
Votes: 70,325
Percent: 19.8%
2012 PRIMARY
Earl Blumenauer
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Earl Blumenauer
Votes: 193,104
Percent: 70.02%
Delia Lopez
Votes: 67,714
Percent: 24.55%
2010 PRIMARY
Earl Blumenauer
Votes: 73,962
Percent: 91.23%
John Sweeney
Votes: 6,774
Percent: 8.36%
2008 GENERAL
Earl Blumenauer
Votes: 254,235
Percent: 74.54%
Delia Lopez
Votes: 71,063
Percent: 20.84%
2008 PRIMARY
Earl Blumenauer
Votes: 121,176
Percent: 86.75%
John Sweeney
Votes: 9,389
Percent: 6.72%
Joseph Walsh
Votes: 8,783
Percent: 6.29%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (70%), 2008 (75%), 2006 (73%), 2004 (71%), 2002 (67%), 2000 (67%), 1998 (84%), 1996 (67%), 1996 special (68%)

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