It was a premonition, I guess, a message from the Progressive Cosmos that the positive vibes Governor Brown provided Sunday at Salem's Red Lion Inn were a warmup for Hillary Clinton's masterful debate performance on Monday.
So, yeah, it's been a couple of good days for my liberal-leaning wife and myself.
Brown was the keynote speaker at the Marion County Democrats Monroe Sweetland Annual Auction & Dinner. Laurel and I have gone regularly, so I can attest that this event felt like it had way more energy and enthusiasm than in previous years.
This is partly due to 2016 being a presidential election year -- one of the most consequential ever. If Clinton isn't elected this November, our country is screwed, big time. That's a plain fact, made evident by Trump's incompetent, clumsy, lie-filled performance at Monday's first presidential debate.
But mostly it was due to Governor Brown's appealing personality and charisma. Yes, charisma.
I was surprised by how Brown worked the room before, during, and after her talk. Beforehand, she went to every table and seemingly had an interchange with each person at the fundraiser. I don't recall ever seeing her in person before. At least, not up close and personal.
I've just seen her acting Governor'ish on television, where Brown has struck me as being quite reserved, controlled, and careful with her words.
But that wasn't the Kate Brown on display Sunday evening. She was wonderfully outgoing and expressive as she made her way around the room.
Brown shook hands with me as I said, "Hi, I'm Brian Hines."
At which point I hoped that Brown didn't have a photographic memory and was able to remember the names of all the people who send messages to her, because what I said in this year's Open letter to Kate Brown from a pissed-off wolf advocate was just as snarky as that blog post title indicates.
I sure had a much more positive attitude toward Governor Brown at the fundraiser, though. Her talk was heartfelt and energizing.
Brown started off by saying that she was a registered Marion County voter. Yay, a Governor who officially lives in Salem! (I'm pretty sure not all of them do.)
She said that after graduating from law school, she encountered some real-life lessons. Like being paid less than men. And being worried about losing her job, since she was in a relationship with a woman at that time. (Brown is the first openly bisexual governor in U.S. history.)
After being appointed to the state House of Representatives, Brown told us that she won a contested election to hold her seat by seven votes. "Everyone who voted for me believed they were the reason I won," she said.
Which is absolutely true.
Every vote counts, and it is impossible to tell ahead of time how much it will count. So damn it, even if Clinton or Brown aren't your dream candidates, vote for these women anyway -- because Donald Trump and Bud Pierce would be nightmares for the United States and Oregon.
I liked how Governor Brown spoke of roads, bridges, and mass transit as being a top priority in the 2017 legislative session. She emphasized mass transit, observing "I know you need more of this in Salem."
The Salem Chamber of Commerce and other special interests killed a 2015 ballot measure that would have funded a small payroll tax to bring evening and weekend bus service to Oregon's capital. So any transportation package in the next session that doesn't emphasize mass transit and alternative transportation should be DOA (dead on arrival).
After Brown finished speaking, she left the podium and did another round of working the room. Here she is (kneeling) talking with newly elected Salem City Councilor Sally Cook, who is at a table with other progressive councilors taking office in 2017. Matt Ausec is on the left, and Cara Kaser is between him and Cook. Current councilor Tom Andersen was sitting off to the right.
A live auction followed Brown's talk. People held up pieces of paper with their bidding number.
Laurel, my wife, had her eye on auction item #12: "Dinner for 4 with House Speaker Tina Kotek." The value was shown as $200. She made a few bids, but then dropped her bid number. So I grabbed it, and kept our bidding going.
Laurel ended up with the winning bid -- $300.
Our certificate says that we get "dinner for 3" with House Speaker Tina Kotek, and Laurel already has invited a progressive friend to join us. But if anyone has ideas for things we should talk about with Kotek, feel free to lobby me.
I've got some ideas of my own -- notably, "Please don't include any money for an unneeded Salem Third Bridge in a transportation package, because this Billion Dollar Boondoggle needs to die a well-deserved death, being a terrible idea for this town. But money to seismically upgrade the two current bridges and improve their approaches -- yes, Salem needs this."
Lastly, here's a photo of Governor Brown getting some sisterly love at the Dem fundraiser from Cindy Kimball and Kathleen Moynihan that I copped from Kathleen's Facebook feed. Charming!