The gridlock in Washington is widely discussed. The caucuses and cliques in Salem are less well-known publicly, but have a real impact on what happens (and doesn’t). The City’s political climate is unique – maybe because of our form of government, maybe because the political philosophies are so closely aligned (odd as that may sound), maybe for other reasons. I suspect it’s a bit of many things, including “Portland polite” and “Portland weird.”
2. What or who was most influential in your upbringing that contributed to your current success?
On a personal level, my father was surely the most influential. But I also had an inborn thirst for understanding not only WHAT was happening (the wonkier the better), but trying to figure out WHY it was happening. I think those traits have helped me.
I thought I was going to be an international diplomat. I studied several languages, lived overseas and was entirely taken by global political dynamics. I think this background helped me by, among other things, learn how to adapt and embed in different cultures and histories. That flexibility has helped me – and continues to do so to this day.
3. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“You were given two ears and one mouth; you should use them in that proportion.”
(It’s good advice; I didn’t say I am good at abiding by it!)
4. What is an issue that you think women should focus on in 2014?
The continuing erosion (some would say destruction) of the middle class. I believe it threatens our economy, our nation and the world.
I can’t just leave it at one issue, though. We are literally trashing our planet. As an old softball player, I’ve always like an aphorism that ought to be our warning: “Nature bats last.”
5. The Queen’s Bench theme for 2014 is "Authentic Communication: Considering the Value of Including Diverse Perspectives”, what does this theme mean to you?
To me, it is a reminder that the most difficult conversations are often the most important to have. That is, it is easiest to communicate with those who think like we do, speak like we do, and share other commonalities. But communicating meaningfully with those who don’t share our values, our
perspectives or our language can be most important to success.
Such communication can help on a personal level as well. I heard the Dalai Lama referred to the Chinese government as “my enemies my friends” as a way to capture the reality that those with whom we contend are uniquely situated to teach us deep lessons about ourselves. That is a painful, but wise, insight.
6. What is your favorite movie?
Honestly, I don’t have ‘favorites.’ I find I love foreign films as they don’t tend to need the “Hollywood ending” found in most US films. I also l.o.v.e. documentaries. So, give me a foreign documentary any day!
7. What is the last book you read for pleasure?
I’m just finishing Jeff Sheshol’s book “Supreme Power,” about FDR’s ultimately failed effort to change the make-up of the US Supreme Court. Fascinating political lessons – many of which sound ripped from today’s headlines.
8. What is something that you are proud of, that most people don't know about you?
This sounds silly compared to challenges both grander and more difficult that women around the world face every day, but I am proud of the fact that, decades after graduating from college, I went to law school.
While running a complex, multi-million dollar state agency (more than) full time, I went to school(evening program), won best brief, got a specialty certificate, was a Dean’s Scholar and finished semester early. The same day I received my application to the Oregon Bar, I also received my AARP