I have been honored and humbled in the last few weeks by the number of you who have urged me to run for the 5th Congressional District. Your phone calls and e-mails, your generous offers of support and friendship, and your faith in me have been tremendously important to me and Joan and our daughter, Kate.
Those of you who know me best know that service to my country and my State is a calling for me - one that transcends politics.
Twenty years ago, I was elected to the Monmouth City Council. Ten years ago, I was elected to the first of two terms as Mayor. For fifteen of those years I have worn our country's uniform with service in Afghanistan, Iraq, and across the nation on homeland defense assignments. As Governor Kulongoski's Veterans' and Homeland Security Policy Advisor I am now leading his team's efforts to strengthen reintegration efforts, expand education and health care access for veterans, and facilitate more effective emergency preparedness.
2008 offers us a unique opportunity to change the culture of Washington D.C. and fundamentally transform America's role in the world. Each of us has a role to play, a fight to wage, to help get our country back on the right track and renew the promise of America. I especially challenge all candidates for public office to commit themselves to finding real solutions to the problems facing our military families and veterans who continue to answer the call to serve our country and carry the burden of this administration's foreign policy failures.
As you know, I have spent the last couple of weeks in thoughtful deliberation with my wife, daughter, pastor, other family, friends and close supporters, considering the opportunity to run for Oregon's 5th Congressional seat in 2008. Given the great challenge of such a condensed time frame for an expensive and potentially divisive Democratic primary election, I have decided this is not the right time to commit my family, our friends, and our supporters to a Congressional race.
In conclusion, I want to thank each and every one of you for your encouragement, prayers, and support. It was humbling to be engaged in the discussions of the past three weeks with men and women committed to making a difference in our community. I continue to look forward to serving my country and this great state in every way that I can.