Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Political Blog: Brad Avakian vs. Susan Bonamici

n Congressional Candidates coming to Pacific on Sunday.

I'm thinking of these two candidates, the pick of the Democratic primary for the open 1st Congressional District seat I first claimed for the Democrats 35 years ago.

I've talked to both at length, thinking I had a duty of sorts to endorse. I could not. They are that close. But I earnestly hope voters will choose one of them. They are head and shoulders above the rest of the field.

An old journal prompted me to think of them and what's in store when they win (with my help) in January. Here's my entry written a few days after my first election in 1974:

'It's amazing how fast everything moves after an election victory. The only thing that got Sue and me through the final tense weeks of the race was the certainty it would be over soon, that in a matter of days maniacal 14- and 16-hour days would end. But by 3 p.m. on the day after the election, after an all-night election party, I met with Congresswoman Edith Green to discuss how she organized her office and the various tips and shortcuts she felt I should know. And for the next ten days it was nonstop, trying to button up the campaign organization, organize remaining paperwork, begin learning the pluses and minuses of service on various House committees, devise a procedure for hiring my legislative staff, shuffle through what finally totaled over 1,000 out of state job applications, answer congratulatory letters, make plans with Sue for relocating the household, submit to news media interviews, and answer the home telephone, which rang every five minutes.'

It's brutal and intimidating and Congress provides nothing - including no funds for transition staffing. The public has no understanding of it.

While I can do nothing about what I've just described, I will offer the winner - as I have done for my two Democratic successors - a 7-10 page memo about how to consider committees, how to set up DC and district offices, and other things I learned the hard way in hopes it will make it somewhat easier on him or her than it was on me.

- Les AuCoin represented the 1st Congressional District from 1975-1992. A former journalist and director of public information for Pacific University, he now blogs from his Montana home at thelesaucoin.wordpress.com.