Wednesday, October 31, 2007
MONMOUTH -- Paul Evans of Monmouth, who narrowly lost a grassroots campaign for the Oregon Senate in 2006, is considering another race for the Legislature.
In an open letter to supporters and media, he also said he is involved in organizing a nonprofit support group for veterans and their families, and in forming a nonpartisan political action committee (PAC) to aid local governmental candidates.
Evans, a former mayor of Monmouth and an Air National Guard officer, was defeated last November by incumbent Jackie Winters in the Oregon Senate's District 10. "While we didn't win the race, we helped Marion and Polk Counties build momentum for change," he said, referring to the year 2006 as "the beginning salvo in a campaign for the heart and soul of our community."
On his return from a military tour of duty in Afghanistan, Evans joined Gov. Ted Kulongoski's staff to to work on state emergency preparedness and assistance to veterans. Evans called it "without a doubt ... among the most important experiences of my life."
Evans said his work involved "policies affecting soldier reintegration, veterans' access to education and health care, facilities security, emergency response investments, and assisting with the transition of the Oregon Emergency Management into the Oregon Military Department."
Concerning his policial future, Evans said, "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."
Evans added: "In the meantime, work is meaningful and I am enjoying the opportunities." He serves on the Monmouth Economic Development Commission, the Monmouth-Independence Community Foundation, the Monmouth-Independence YMCA board, and the school district budget committee.
Over the next few months, Evans said, he will join Dmitry White, Richard Riggs, Ed Taylor a few others in establishing a nonprofit support group for veterans and families.
"We believe a group dedicated to advocacy at the community level is long overdue," he said. "We hope to help provide support for programs ... to raise awareness within our neighborhoods about veterans' issues."
He also plans to help launch a nonpartisan PAC called Oregon Pioneer PAC that will focus on assisting candidates at the special district, municipal, and county levels.
"It is time we focus our energies at the community level because systemic change must be made one neighborhood at a time," Evans said.