Where were you in 1982?
Ronald Reagan was president, the Cold War with the Soviets was hot, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 1086, about 18,000 people lived in Bend and Republican Vic Atiyeh was elected to a second term as Oregon’s governor.
No Republican has won the state’s top job since.
Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, is the latest politician to give it a try. He’s used to breaking trends. Buehler, born in 1964, was the first Rhodes scholar at Oregon State University, founded in 1868.
This week, we’ll climb into the Way Way Back Machine to 1982, interspersed with items from the present in Salem and Washington, D.C.
Way Back No. 1: School days
Where were they in ’82? Knute Buehler was a member of Roseburg High School’s Class of 1982, off to Corvallis for his freshman year. Among top Democrats, Gov. Kate Brown had just started law school at Northwestern University; House Speaker Tina Kotek was a high schooler in York, Pennsylvania; and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley was getting a master’s degree in public policy at Princeton.
Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, has been endorsed by Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, in his run for governor. Whisnant, whose district is adjacent to Buehler’s, is the first lawmaker to endorse in the May 2018 GOP primary. Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, said it is too early to make an endorsement and wants to see all the candidates who enter the race. “I do like Knute and work well with him,” Knopp said.
Way Back No. 2: Politics
In 1982, Atiyeh’s re-election gave Republicans the top three spots in Oregon politics, with Mark Hatfield and Bob Packwood as U.S. senators. Democrats held a 3-2 majority in the U.S. House delegation, as well as majorities in both chambers of the Legislature.
The kernel of today’s long-running political careers were formed in 1982. State Senate President Peter Courtney was a freshman Democratic lawmaker — in the state House. Ron Wyden was a freshman Democratic congressman from Portland. Greg Walden was press secretary to the freshman Republican congressman for Oregon’s 2nd District, which Walden now represents.
Democracy in inaction
The nonpartisan Town Hall Project found that 175 members of Congress have yet to hold an in-person town hall in 2017. Of those 148 are Republican. Oregon is one of 13 states where both U.S. senators and all members of the House of Representatives have held town halls.
Way Back No. 3: News
Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev died; the U.S. slid into recession, and Britain defeated Argentina in the Falklands War. Princess Diana gave birth to her first child, William, who then — as now — is second in line to the British throne after his father, Prince Charles. In Washington, D.C., the Vietnam War Memorial was dedicated. In New York, Donald Trump was putting the finishing touches on his Trump Tower.
Among the trio of Bend-area state lawmakers, Rep. Whisnant was often eclipsed in the news during the 2017 session by his two high-profile colleagues: Rep. Buehler, who is running for governor, and Sen. Tim Knopp, who brokered key employment law changes with Democrats. But it was Whisnant who received a plum assignment as one of the 20 lawmakers chosen for the Emergency Board, the panel that handles federal grants, emergency spending and other issues until their colleagues return in February 2018.
Way Back No. 4: Entertainment
Remember these from 1982? On the radio: “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John, “Eye of the Tiger” from Survivor, and “Ebony and Ivory,” a duet by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, were hits. They were bought on albums, cassettes or 8-tracks. The CD made its debut in Japan that year. On TV: “60 Minutes” beat out “Dallas” for No. 1. “E.T.” topped the box office, though “Gandhi” would take home the most Oscars. Academy Award-winning actress Anna Paquin and Grammy Award-winning singer Kelly Clarkson were born in 1982.
License to fly
Sen. Merkley said last week the Oregon driver’s license would continue to be honored as valid identification for boarding aircraft following a Jan. 22 federal deadline. That is when passengers are expected to have a federally recognized “Real ID” license that is more difficult to duplicate or falsify. Oregon had run out of exemption extensions when the Legislature finally passed a bill last July to meet the federal standard. But the state said it would take at least a year to make the license available. Merkley said the passage of the bill and approval by Gov. Kate Brown was proof of Oregon’s intent to comply, and a federal extension is in the works. Residents should have no problem using their licenses alone to board commercial flights, even beyond the deadline. However, after the new license is available, and a certain grace period, residents have the choice of either getting the new ID at an as-yet-unspecified extra cost or keeping the old driver’s license. Those who don’t switch will be required to show a passport or other federally approved identification to board flights.
Way Back No. 5: Civil War
The Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers were both 1-8-1 when they played the “Civil War” football game — won by the Ducks 7-6.
It would get worse in 1983, when the teams would play in driving rain to a 0-0 tie in the infamous “Toilet Bowl” game.
“I treasure this country, and because I treasure it, I worry about it. We need to nurture, protect and respect how important each and every one of us is in a system of government. If we are strong, America is strong. If we are weak, America is weak.” — Vic Atiyeh, governor of Oregon 1979-87
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