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Jeff Merkley

From dKosopedia


Jeff Merkley, a Democrat represents House District 47 in the Oregon legislature and is the current House Minority Leader of the Democratic caucus.



Jeff grew up in his district and attended David Douglas grade schools and David Douglas High School. At David Douglas High School Jeff ran cross-country, played tennis, and competed in public speaking. He spent a summer in Ghana as an exchange student and was elected Student Body President by his classmates.

Jeff earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and pursued his Masters Degree in Public Policy on a full scholarship at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. He was selected as a Presidential Management Intern in 1982. He tackled various assignments in the Office of the Secretary of Defense including coordinating a committee on technology transfer, developing a computer model to study the proposed “small ICBM”, generating a verification strategy for theater arms agreements, and assisting the US delegation to NATO. Jeff then served Congress as a budget and policy analyst in the Congressional Budget Office, generating studies on the nation’s options for strategic weapons.

Jeff returned to Oregon in 1991. He returned to his love of community development and became Executive Director of Portland Habitat for Humanity. At Habitat he coordinated community volunteers to build homes for sale to very low-income families. He also started the Walk for Humanity, launched development of the Habitat Home Building Center, and initiated a pilot project for “YouthBuild” in which gang-affected youth learn construction and life skills while building homes in their own neighborhoods. He then served as Director of Housing Development at Human Solutions, working to create affordable housing complexes and launching Oregon’s first Individual Development Account (IDA) program that helps low-income families save money to buy homes, attend college, or start businesses. Most recently Jeff was President of the World Affairs Council of Oregon for seven years and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees. In 1998, the voters in Portland's House District 47 elected him to the Legislature, where he now serves in his fifth term.

In September, 2003, Rep. Merkley was elected by his peers to the position of House Democratic Leader. In this capacity he is responsible for the legislative activities of the Democratic caucus. His top legislative goals include guaranteeing a full school year and reasonable class size for all Oregon students, stabilizing Oregon’s revenue system, and investing in higher education. All three of these goals are essential if we are to create an environment in Oregon where businesses can thrive and more job opportunities can be created. Merkley championed the Rainy Day Fund, which was in essence a savings account to protect public schools against an unstable economy. Merkley helped pass the Oregon Equality Act which outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing and in the workplace. Merkley helped pass the Family Fairness Act, which made provided same sex couples with state granted rights, immunities, and benefits. Merkley also helped pass the Employee Free Choice Act in the Oregon House. Merkley worked to pass House Bill 2210, which gave tax breaks to companies who will produce bio-fuels. Merkley championed Senate Bill 838, which required renewable energies such as wind, solar and geothermal power to make up for 25 percent of a utility's electricity sales by 2025.

In regards to the Iraq War, two days after the war had started Merkley said, "Colleagues, I have not been and am not today persuaded that Iraq was a significant threat to the United States or that the war we fight today is the best strategy to fight terrorism or the wisest application of our superpower resources." In 2007, Merkley co-sponsored House Joint Memorial 9, which called on Congress to withhold funding for the surge in Iraq. HJM9 called on Congress to pass legislation that would limit the President spending taxpayer dollars on the surge. HJM9 called on President Bush and Congress to pass legislation to begin withdrawing Armed Forces from Iraq and redeploying those forces, and begin handing over security duties to the Iraqi Government.

Jeff Merkley and his wife, Mary Sorteberg, have two children, Jonathan and Brynne.


M.A., public policy, Princeton University; B.A., international relations, Stanford University; David Douglas High School.

Governmental Experience

Started the state's first Individual Development Account program to help citizens buy homes, go to college and start businesses; spearheaded successful efforts to reduce toxic mercury pollution; championed the Homebuyer Protection Act that defends buyers from liens previously hidden at the time of sale. U.S. Congressional Policy Analyst; 1983 Presidential Intern, Office of Secretary of Defense; Citizen Sewer Advisory Board; Intern for Senator Hatfield; David Douglas Student Body President

Jeff's committee assignments during the 2003 legislative session were the Business, Labor and Consumer Affairs Committee and the Audit and Human Services Budget Reform Committee.



'Jeff Merkley

PO Box 33167
Portland, OR 97292<p> Phone: (503) 261-7826
Email: Jeff Merkley

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This page was last modified 21:00, 24 January 2008 by dKosopedia user Sarahlane. Based on work by dKosopedia user(s) Allamakee Democrat and Lestatdelc. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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