Nearly a year ago we fought for an opportunity to make a difference in Oregon Senate District #10. While we didn't win the race, we helped Marion and Polk Counties build momentum for change. 2006 was the beginning salvo in a campaign for the heart and soul of our community.
On a personal note, 2006 was special. Each of you stood with me on election night; through that experience, we became a team; we became family. Together we built a campaign from scratch, we moved it forward on a shoestring and a smile, and we crafted a progressive message that matters - a message that endures.
As you know, upon my return from Afghanistan, Governor Kulongoski asked me to join his staff to help strengthen our state emergency preparedness and our assistance to veterans. It was a generous, life-changing gift. Without doubt, working for Ted Kulongoski on these issues for citizens of Oregon is among the most important experiences of my life.
Over the past nine months I have had an opportunity to work on policies affecting soldier reintegration, veterans' access to education and health care, facilities security, emergency response investments, and assist with the transition of the Oregon Emergency Management into the Oregon Military Department.
Although it is hard to believe, 2007 is nearly over. Time is marching forward. Endorsement interviews are beginning, campaigns are gearing up, and the respective caucuses are recruiting candidates. I have been asked to consider
a race for the Oregon Legislature.
Right now, our family is weighing a decision for 2008. We are preparing ourselves for another campaign in the near future - the question is when.
In the meantime, work is meaningful - and I am enjoying the opportunity to reengage in community service. I was appointed to the Monmouth Economic Development Commission and continue to serve on the Monmouth-Independence Community Foundation, the Monmouth-Independence YMCA board, and the school budget committee.
Over the next few months, Dmitry White, Richard Riggs, Ed Taylor, and I (along with a few more interested folks) will establish a non-profit for veterans and families. We believe a group dedicated to advocacy at the community level is long overdue. We hope to help provide support for programs that matter. Over time, we hope to raise awareness within our neighborhood about veterans' issues.
We are also planning on forming a non-partisan PAC focused on assisting candidates at the special district, municipal, and county levels. Oregon Pioneer PAC will advance our values: guaranteed opportunity, a safe environment, protecting our basic rights, and preserving the future as well as the present. It will assist candidates, provide support, and bring people together around the compact. It is time we focus our energies at the community level because systemic change must be made one corner - one neighborhood at a time.
In closing, I want to thank you for your friendship and support. The Evans Family is grateful for your letters, prayers, and well-wishes. We are
excited about the future. Together we really can make our Oregon
stronger - one corner, one neighborhood at a time.