Sunday, April 1, 2018

Raz Mason: Campaign Update

"My congresswoman is a truck driver from Harvard!"

                                    (Slogan on Raz Mason's campaign brochure.)

She is a schoolteacher and hospital chaplain. 

She was a long-haul trucker.

Raz Mason
She owns guns and is trained to use them. 

She talks about anxiety and calmness. 

She says she is visionary. 

She says she advocates for rural dignity.

She is new at politics and she is busy figuring out her brand. 

She is at work shaping her sentiments and concerns into describable policies of the kind a Member of Congress might influence and a candidate might voice. What does it mean to care about risk?  What does one do to advance "rural dignity?"  How does one talk about it in a way that is meaningful to political audiences?  

She is working on it. 

For now she presents herself exactly as she is, someone struggling to express something big and complicated, and she knows she doesn't yet have the words to describe what she wants to say. She is confident those sentiments will build bridges between the urban, progressive politics of the Democratic left and political interests of rural America.  She says she is a bridge builder.

One of her big themes is security. She says America is at risk to dangers in climate security, food security, health security, armed conflict security, and the security of our system of government. We are wrecking the climate and we need to take action. We need sustainable agricultural practices. We need to use renewable energy resources.  In her campaign literature she writes:

" *** Be a force in support of our vast wind technology and solar power resources.
  *** Secure the integrity of healthcare as a human right.
  *** Take decisive action on climate by limiting emissions and funding sequestration research.
   *** Address wealth inequality by enacting fair taxation on passive income to fund essential services like healthcare and national debt reduction
  *** Increase essential education funding to fulfill our generational obligation to posterity."

Getting around the District
Raz Mason talks about "rural dignity." I asked what she meant to her. She said the 2nd Congressional District is a great place to live. She said television, Hollywood, and political leaders in both parties have an urban view of America.  New industries are being packed into urban areas. She said technology is changing the need for physical proximity to organize and carry out complex work that involves multiple people. We can spread out. She advocated "micro clusters."  Industries should be encouraged to put factories and R&D locations in rural areas.  "Klamath Falls is a great place," she said. In the popular media, rural interests and lifestyles are considered second rate. Living here, she said, isn't a second choice. "People don't live here because they are 'losers.' They live here because it is a great choice." 

People in rural America feel disrespected. "The grain that comes out of Oregon is important.  We feed the world."

Mason calls herself "Deep Purple" in politics.  She says she has progressive politics, which she said fit perfectly well with the "real people" of the 2nd Congressional District. She is a teacher.  She is a hospital chaplain. "I know how to engage with people," and meet them where they are. In her campaign she is meeting people, and loving it, she says. She likens it to the year and a half she spent as a long haul trucker, seeing people in rural working America. "There is no one I'd rather hang out with than real people."  
Young Raz at Umatilla County Fair

She grew up in the District. She says she understands the struggling working class here, having herself been "really broke."  She has gone through a bankruptcy. She drove a truck because it was good money when she really needed it. 

She owns guns, including a handgun, a hunting rifle, and a semi-automatic rifle.  "I was trained how to use them," she adds, "and that is important."  She said she understands and respects "gun culture": ""This is a way of life here. It is how we protect our families."

Can Raz Mason win this election?  There has been no polling but it is evident other candidates are further along. They have been doing this for over a year. They have big campaigns set up. They have raised money. They have house parties and advocates in every county and endorsements from groups.  Raz has little of that. 

She is new and late to the game, but she is learning.

Early in the campaign she talked about the inner self. 
the video is still up.  Now she is talking about issues that relate to the political needs of her audience. Rural broadband. Rural health care and hospitals. Infrastructure to serve agriculture. 

There will be other offices and other elections for Congress.  In the meantime she is voicing something that was understated in the 2016 presidential race, that the people of rural America have vigorous Democratic supporters who advocated for their interests.  

CLICK HERE: Early campaign: Deal with your stress.
Mason says she wants to communicate appreciation and respect. She says rural America should not be bright red. The 2nd Congressional District did not vote for Trump and Walden because they hate health care. Rural counties aren't filled with rich one percenters who think trickle down taxation is great. It is the opposite. Republican policies supported  by Greg Walden are unpopular. Voters in the District were prime beneficiaries of the expansion of health care under the ACA, and they signed up to get it. Working Oregonians didn't profit from the carried interest loophole or the other benefits for the very rich in the tax plan Walden voted for.  Mason's politics, not Walden's fit the District, she says.

That is why she is "deep purple" because she says her policies fit everyone.  She fits the District, she thinks. And so does her message.

She says she can unite different people. She understands different worlds and different perspectives. After all, she was a truck driver from Harvard.


  1. Seems like an interesting person. If she doesn't get the CD2 nomination I hope she'll stay active in politics. The Oregon Legislature can use a few rural-friendly PROGRESSIVES from outside the Willamette Valley.

  2. Genuinely nice person. Am way impressed by her life's service in many activities. Hope she stays in politics. She is probably too new this time to win a lot of support. Had trouble finding the right words. Just kept repeating the same things over and over again. But I really like her.

  3. We have a lot of talented people in this district.

    Really, really wish more of them would run for office closer to home.

    We have county commissions that are solid red. We have city councils, school boards, boards for managing resources, and so much more that are vitally important to setting the tone and shaping a progressive vision for the future... and too many are abdicating them for the big shiny prize. I don't get it.

    No offense to Raz or any of the other candidates. But we need more candidates to build their resumes (and get meaningful work done!) at lower offices first.

  4. Thank you for highlighting Raz......very interesting woman!


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