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Sources: Peterson plots political comeback

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Wyden not a member of the Gang of Eight, but still involved in Trump-related issues

The 2018 elections are continuing to heat up, with former Clackamas County Chair Lynn Peterson filing a committee to run for Metro president. She currently is the acting director of the 1000 Friends of Oregon land-use watchdog organization.

Tom Hughes, the current president, cannot run for re-election because of Metro's term-limit policy. After leaving the county commission in 2011, Peterson held high-level transportation posts in Oregon and Washington.

So far, Peterson has raised nearly $10,000 for her campaign. Major contributions include $5,000 from lawyer Charles Swindells, $2,500 from Stacy and Witbeck board chair John Bollier, and $500 from former Metro president David Bragdon, who is now executive director of Transit Center Brooklyn NY.

Wyden not a member of the Gang of Eight

Democratic U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden has gotten a lot of media coverage for pushing the FBI to investigate possible ties between President Donald Trump and Russia as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

But in Washington, D.C., Wyden is not one of the most important members of Congress pursuing such an investigation. When FBI Director James Comey met with the eight lawmakers who have the most access to the most highly classified information, Wyden wasn't among them.

Instead, the so-called Gang of Eight included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, chairman and ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, and ranking member Mark Warner. Those on the House side were Speaker Paul Ryan, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and ranking member Adam Schiff.

Trump aids Wyden on priority issue

Although Wyden is one of Trump's biggest critics, the president is inadvertently helping Oregon's senior senator on one of his biggest issues — reining in the U.S. government's spying powers.

Wyden repeatedly has tried to expose and restrict secret surveillance programs, some of which are up for renewal this year. But he and other civil libertarians have struggled to get the public's attention about how they work and can be abused.

But as the well-read Politico.com news website notes, Trump's recent accusations that former President Barack Obama tapped his phones, along with WikiLeaks' most recent release of CIA spying technologies, have helped spark a national debate on the issue.

"I have many people coming up and asking, 'Why is this such a big deal?' " Politico quotes Wyden saying in a March 10 article on the issue. "And it's important now."