Gore visits Portland to support Kulongoski

    Former Vice President Al Gore praised Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s performance over the last four years and made ties to his environmental work in a gathering at the Wonder Ballroom Wednesday that raised around $100,000 for the governor’s re-election campaign.

    The 250 guests each paid $150 to attend the luncheon held in Northeast Portland. Earlier in the day, about 50 people paid $1000 per plate to attend a smaller event in a separate room at the same venue.

    Gore complimented the people and government of Oregon, and said that when he travels overseas, he uses the state as an example of successful environmental leadership outside of the White House.

    ”One thing people just don’t get is why the U.S., the nation leading the others in the face of this challenge, is absent and without leadership. The people of the world don’t understand why that is,” Gore said. “And I tell them that the policy in the White House is not the only thing that matters. The leadership is coming from other places. I tell them about the leadership coming from Oregon and from your government.”

    Gov. Kulongoski’s record is better than any other regional leadership in the world, the former candidate for president asserted, citing Kulongoski’s clarity of vision and political skill and calling it a “virtuoso performance.”

    The audience was made up of a cast of Oregon Democrats, many with years of experience in government themselves.

    ”More than anything else, Al Gore’s incredible environmental credentials allow him to be very clear – Gov. Kulongoski is the only candidate who can meet any kind of environmental standards in this race,” said former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts, a Democrat.

    ”More and more, people are beginning to understand that Ron Saxton is not a moderate Republican,” Roberts said. “Even Ben Westlund, who was the Independent candidate for governor, is here, making a pretty clear statement that he supports Kulongoski.”

    Gore said that Oregon is currently positioned at the center of a green technology revolution, which he predicted will lead to an economic boom in the future.

    ”When Al Gore referred to the ‘green revolution,’ going on here in our state, we need to understand what’s at stake here and when talking about science issues in general, I’m really flabbergasted by the lack of understanding,” said Lew Frederick, a candidate for Multnomah County commissioner.

    Frederick said that Portland State University is in an important position at the center of the green technology growth going on in the state, and it is important for Oregon’s leaders to keep this at the top of their minds.

    Others in the audience felt that in this event Gore was able to help Kulongoski in an area of weakness that had been brought up at past debates with his rival, Ron Saxton.

    ”Al Gore has really established a vision that is larger than himself, which has been Kulongoski’s challenge,” said Moses Ross, the Treasurer of the Multnomah County Democrats. “Ted has an awesome track record, but has trouble articulating that big vision.”

    ”I was terribly excited and felt really pumped about Al Gore’s global warming message and how it connects with supporting our governor,” said Senator Margaret Carter, a Democrat. “He’s right that Kulongoski is the only governor in the country who has taken on these issues.”

    ”I was really pleased to see so many people in the audience in the 25- to 45-year-old age range,” said Carter. “It tells me that this generation is stepping up to the plate in leadership and accountability, and isn’t shying away from making tough decisions.”