By Kara Oppenheim - 08/01/07 12:08 PM EDT
The five-term member of the Oregon House of Representatives is the son of a mill worker and mechanic. He was elected Speaker in January after Democrats reclaimed the legislative majority in the state. Following his lead, the House has passed bills protecting families against predatory lenders, guaranteed emergency contraception for victims of incest and rape and established a rainy-day fund for education and other critical state services.
Merkley said he would run a “grassroots campaign” that speaks to the average Oregonian. He pledged to work with Sen. Ron WydenRon WydenThe Hill's 12:30 Report Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Dems push for US, EU cooperation on China's market status MORE (D-Ore.) to bring troops home from Iraq, promote clean energy, combat climate change and ensure quality healthcare for all Americans.
He cited his “passion for tax fairness, public education and for helping ordinary, everyday Oregonians achieve their aspirations,” as he asked for donations to counter “Gordon Smith and his special-interest friends.”