‘It’s A Republic, If You Can Keep It’
You are invited to spend an informal evening with Les AuCoin, Friday, May 12 in an entertaining conversation about democracy values and public debate. A pre-program dinner will begin at 6 p.m., with the program following at 7 p.m.
Tickets for the dinner and program are $19, the program only is $5. The dinner menu includes manicotti, Italian chopped salad, and chocolate mousse dessert.
Congressman AuCoin takes the title of his remarks from a comment by Benjamin Franklin, who was stopped, leaving Independence Hall at the end of the Constitutional Convention in 1789. A woman asked Franklin what type of government the Founders had created. His reply reflected his belief that the world’s first democratic republic would require its citizens to honor democratic values, if it were to survive.
Two hundred twenty-eight years later, how strong is our allegiance to those values? What of the nation-building vision that sent Lewis and Clark westward down the Columbia, past the spot where the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum stands now, to the Pacific Ocean? Is it alive, still? What does it mean to the West—to the nation—when selling our national parks and forests emerges as a serious possibility?
What does it mean for democracy when the nation’s leaders, and many citizens, deem compromise as weakness? When political ends justify the means? When shout radio, Tweets, and the Internet become a substitute for journalism? When name-calling passes for debate?
Congressman AuCoin will lead us through a discussion of these ideas and more in an evening of adventure, discovery, and entertainment.
Seating is limited. Get your tickets early by calling 541-296-8600 ext. 201 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily.
About our speaker:
Former Congressman Les AuCoin (D-OR; 1975-1993)
Les is a retired nine-term U.S. congressman from Oregon’s First Congressional District. (That district runs from Portland’s west bank to the mouth of the Columbia, and down to the southern borders of Polk and Yamhill Counties.)
When Les left the Congress in 1993 at the age of 50, he was dean of the Oregon House delegation, and a veteran member of the House Appropriations Committee and its Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. He was the first Democrat in Oregon history to win in its First Congressional District, and his congressional service is the sixth-longest in Oregon history.
He and the late Senator Republican Senator Mark Hatfield worked together to pass the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Protection Act, and the metropolitan area’s East- and West-Side Light Rail systems, the largest public works project in Oregon history. Les authored the bill that restored the historic Columbia River Highway, and wrote the law that protected Oregon’s Outer Continental Shelf from oil exploration and development.
The congressman’s many honors include being named “One of Ten Outstanding Young Men of America” by the U.S. Jaycees, and top national awards from the Sierra Club, for his work on the environment, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, for his work on nuclear arms control.
In an active retirement, Les is a writer and author, a former award-winning university professor and public radio commentator. He has been an advisor to the Pentagon’s U.S. Joint Forces Command and its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. More locally, he has served on the board of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle, and Pacific University (his alma mater). He currently serves as a member of Southern Oregon University’s board of trustees.
Les and his wife, Sue, now live in Bozeman, Montana, where (he delights in saying) their daughter, Stacy, and two girls live exactly one block away.