Earl Blumenauer

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Earl Blumenauer
Earl Blumenauer, official portrait, 116th Congress 2.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oregon's 3rd district
Assumed office
May 21, 1996
Preceded byRon Wyden
Member of the Oregon House of Representatives
from the 11th district
In office
January 8, 1973 – January 1, 1979
Preceded byJohn W. Anunsen
Succeeded byRick Bauman
Personal details
Earl Francis Blumenauer

(1948-08-16) August 16, 1948 (age 72)
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Margaret Kirkpatrick
(m. 2004)
EducationLewis and Clark College (BA, JD)
WebsiteHouse website

Earl Francis Blumenauer[1] (/ˈblmən.ər/; born August 16, 1948) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Oregon's 3rd congressional district since 1996. A member of the Democratic Party, his district includes most of Portland east of the Willamette River. Blumenauer previously spent over 20 years as a public official in Portland, including serving on the Portland City Council from 1987 until 1996, when he succeeded Ron Wyden in the U.S. House of Representatives, who had been elected to the U.S. Senate following the resignation of Bob Packwood.

Early life and education[edit]

Blumenauer was born in Portland on August 16, 1948. In 1966, he graduated from Centennial High School on the eastside of Portland and then enrolled at Lewis & Clark College in the southwest part of the city.[2] He majored in political science and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lewis & Clark in 1970.[3] Blumenauer completed his education in 1976 when he earned a Juris Doctor degree from the school's Northwestern School of Law (now Lewis & Clark Law School).[4] Before starting law school in 1970 and continuing until 1977, he worked as an assistant to the president of Portland State University.[2][5]

Early political career[edit]

In 1969–70, Blumenauer organized and led Oregon's "Go 19" campaign, an effort to lower the state voting age (while then unsuccessful, it supported the national trend which soon resulted in the Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution which lowered the voting age to 18). In 1972, he was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives as a Democrat representing the 11th district in Multnomah County.[6] He won re-election in 1974 and 1976, and continued representing Portland and Multnomah County until the 1979 legislative session.[2] From 1975 to 1981 he served on the board of Portland Community College.[2] Following his time in the Oregon Legislature, he served on the Multnomah County Commission from 1979 to 1986.[2] He lost a race for Portland City Council to Margaret Strachan in 1981.[7] He left the county commission in March 1986 to run again for city council.[8]

Blumenauer was elected to the Portland City Council in May 1986.[9] His first term began in January 1987,[10] and he remained on the council until 1996.[5] From the start of his first council term, he was named the city's Commissioner of Public Works,[5] which made him the city council member in charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (also known as the Transportation Commissioner).[11] During his time on the city council Blumenauer was appointed by Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt to the state's commission on higher education, and he served on that board in 1990 and 1991.[12] In 1992, Blumenauer was defeated by Vera Katz in an open race for mayor of Portland—to date, only the second time that Blumenauer has ever lost an election. At the time he was described as "the man who probably knows the most about how Portland works," but left local politics to run for Congress.[13] After winning election to Congress, he resigned from the city council in May 1996, to take up his new office.[14] In 2010, Earl Blumenauer received The Ralph Lowell Award for outstanding contributions to Public Television.[15][16]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Blumenauer in 1997

Blumenauer was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1996 in a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the election of then-U.S. Representative Ron Wyden to the U.S. Senate.[13] He received 69% of the vote, defeating Republican Mark Brunelle.[17] He was elected to a full term that November, and has been re-elected 10 more times without serious difficulty in what has long been the most Democratic district in Oregon, never dropping below 66 percent of the vote.

Blumenauer served as Oregon campaign chair for both John Kerry's and Barack Obama's presidential campaigns.[18]

In Congress, Blumenauer is noted for his advocacy for mass transit, such as Portland's MAX Light Rail and the Portland Streetcar,[19] and, as a strong supporter of legislation that promotes bicycle commuting, cycles from his Washington residence to the Capitol and even to the White House for meetings.[20]

Among the bills that Blumenauer has sponsored that have become law are the Bunning-Bereuter-Blumenauer Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004[21] and the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005.[22] In addition, the Legal Timber Protection Act passed as part of the 2008 Farm Bill, while the Bicycle Commuter Act passed with the 2008 bailout bill.[23]

He was active in pressuring the United States to take greater action during the Darfur conflict.[24]

In the political aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Blumenauer noted that he was among those who had pointed out the vulnerability of New Orleans and encouraged Congress to help that city and the gulf coast get better prepared:

  • September 15, 2004: Mr. Speaker, barely have we recovered from Hurricane Hugo and we are seeing Hurricane Ivan pose the threat that has long been feared by those in Louisiana, that this actually might represent the loss of the City of New Orleans. Located 15 feet below sea level, there is the potential of a 30-foot wall of water putting at risk $100 billion of infrastructure and industry and countless lives.[25]
  • January 26, 2005: Mr. Speaker, I recently had the opportunity to view the devastation in Southeast Asia as a result of the tsunami. As appalled as I was by what I saw, I must confess that occasionally my thoughts drifted back to the United States. What would have happened if last September, Hurricane Ivan had veered 40 miles to the west, devastating the city of New Orleans? One likely scenario would have had a tsunami-like 30-foot wall of water hitting the city, causing thousands of deaths and $100 billion in damage...The experience of Southeast Asia should convince us all of the urgent need for congressional action to prevent wide-scale loss of life and economic destruction at home and abroad. Prevention and planning will pay off. Maybe the devastation will encourage us to act before disaster strikes.[26]
Blumenauer in 2011

Blumenauer is a supporter of the World Trade Organization (WTO)[27] and has voted for "free trade" agreements with Peru, Australia, Singapore, Chile[28] as well as Africa and the Caribbean.[29] Blumenauer's support for these free trade agreements has angered progressives, environmental and labor activists. In 2004, he voted against the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). On September 24, 2007, four labor and human rights activists were arrested in Blumenauer's office protesting the congressman's support for the Peru Free Trade Agreement.[30]

In February 2009, after an incident in Connecticut wherein a domesticated chimpanzee severely mauled a woman gained national attention, Blumenauer sponsored the Captive Primate Safety Act to bar the sale or purchase of non-human primates for personal possession between states and from outside of the country.[31] The previous year, in June 2008, Blumenauer had sponsored legislation to ban interstate trafficking of great apes, which had passed in the House but been tabled by the Senate.[32]

Blumenauer received some media attention during the political debate over health care reform for sponsoring an amendment to the America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 to change current procedures to mandate that Medicare pay for end-of-life counseling.[33] The amendment, as introduced, was based on an earlier proposal cosponsored by Blumenauer and Republican Representative Charles Boustany of Louisiana.[34] The amendment generated controversy, with conservative figures, such as 2008 vice presidential candidate and former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, suggesting that the amendment, if made law, would be used as a cover for the United States federal government to set up "death panels" that would be used to determine which people received medical treatment.[35] Blumenauer sharply criticized the claim as "mind-numbing" and called it an "all-time low." His rebuke was echoed by Republican Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who scorned the "death panels" claim as "nuts."[36]

On July 24, 2014, Blumenauer introduced the Emergency Afghan Allies Extension Act of 2014 (H.R. 5195; 113th Congress), a bill that would authorize an additional 1,000 emergency Special Immigrant Visas that the United States Department of State could issue to Afghan translators who served with U.S. troops during the War in Afghanistan.[37][38] Blumenauer argued that "a failure to provide these additional visas ensures the many brave translators the U.S. promised to protect in exchange for their services would be left in Afghanistan, hiding, their lives still threatened daily by the Taliban."[38]

Beginning in 2017, he has skipped every State of the Union address by President Trump, stating "I refuse to be a witness to his continued antics."[39][40] In 2019 he was one of the first lawmakers to come out in support of the Green New Deal.[41]

In July 2019, Blumenauer voted against a House resolution introduced by Democratic Congressman Brad Schneider of Illinois opposing efforts to boycott the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel for its continued occupation of Palestine.[42] The resolution passed 398-17.[43]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political positions[edit]

In 1996, during Blumenauer's first year in congress, he voted in support of the Defense of Marriage Act which was ultimately passed that same year. The law was found unconstitutional in 2013 and repealed.[49] Since then he has supported LGBTQ rights.[50]

On October 1, 2015, following the Umpqua Community College shooting, Blumenauer tweeted[51] his report[52] addressing the issue of gun violence in America titled 'Enough is Enough: A Comprehensive Plan to Improve Gun Safety' which he had published earlier in the year.[53]

Blumenauer has been known to support alternative energy sources, health care reform, and continuing federal support for education.[50] He is also known as one of the most fervent advocates for the legalization of marijuana, co-founding the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.[54][55]

Personal life[edit]

Blumenauer has been married to Margaret Kirkpatrick since 2004.[56]

An avid cyclist, Blumenauer is the founder and current Co-Chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus.[57][58]

Each year, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Blumenauer personally bakes and delivers hundreds of fruitcakes to both his Democratic and Republican colleagues on the Hill.[59][60]

Electoral history[edit]

Oregon's 3rd congressional district: Results 1996–2018[61]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1996 Earl Blumenauer 165,922 67% Scott Bruun 65,259 26% Joe Keating Pacific 9,274 4% Bruce A. Knight Libertarian 4,474 2% Victoria P. Guillebeau Socialist 2,449 1% *
1998 Earl Blumenauer 153,889 84% (no candidate) Bruce A. Knight Libertarian 16,930 9% Walt Brown Socialist 10,199 6% Write-ins 2,333 1%
2000 Earl Blumenauer 181,049 67% Jeffery L. Pollock 64,128 24% Tre Arrow Pacific Green 15,763 6% Bruce A. Knight Libertarian 4,942 2% Walt Brown Socialist 4,703 2% *
2002 Earl Blumenauer 156,851 67% Sarah Seale 62,821 27% Walt Brown Socialist 6,588 3% Kevin Jones Libertarian 4,704 2% David Brownlow Constitution 3,495 1% *
2004 Earl Blumenauer 245,559 71% Tami Mars 82,045 24% Walt Brown Socialist 10,678 3% Dale Winegarden Constitution 7,119 2% Write-ins 1,159 <1%
2006 Earl Blumenauer 186,380 73% Bruce Broussard 59,529 23% David Brownlow Constitution 7,003 3% Write-ins 698 <1%
2008 Earl Blumenauer 254,235 75% Delia Lopez 71,063 21% Michael Meo Pacific Green 15,063 4% Write-ins 701 <1%
2010 Earl Blumenauer 193,104 70% Delia Lopez 67,714 25% Jeff Lawrence Libertarian 8,380 3% Michael Meo Pacific Green 6,197 2% Write-ins 407 <1%
2012 Earl Blumenauer 264,979 74% Ronald Green 70,325 20% Woodrow Broadnax Pacific Green 13,159 4% Michael Meo Libertarian 6,640 2% Write-ins 772 <1%
2014 Earl Blumenauer 211,748 72% James Buchal 57,424 20% Michael Meo Pacific Green 12,106 4% Jeffrey J. Langan Libertarian 6,381 2% David Walker Non-affiliated 1,089 1% *
2016 Earl Blumenauer 274,687 72% No candidate David W. Walker Independent 78,154 20% David Delk Progressive 27,978 7% Write-ins 1,536 <1%
2018 Earl Blumenauer 279,019 73% Tom Harrison 76,187 20% Marc Koller Independent 21,352 6% Gary Dye Libertarian 5,767 2% Michael Marsh Constitution 1,487 <1% *

Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1996, write-ins received 531 votes. In 2000, write-ins received 576 votes. In 2002, write-ins received 1094 votes. In 2014, write-ins received 1,089 votes. In 2018, write-ins received 514 votes.


  1. ^ Lobbying Contribution Report for Visa, Inc., Clerk of the House of Representatives
  2. ^ a b c d e "Earl Blumenauer". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved November 19, 2008.
  3. ^ "Voter Guide for Oregon District 3". National Federation of Independent Business. Retrieved December 30, 2006.
  4. ^ "Blumenauer speaks at law commencement". Lewis & Clark Chronicle. Lewis & Clark College. Summer 2002. Archived from the original on November 8, 2006. Retrieved December 30, 2006.
  5. ^ a b c "About Earl Blumenauer". Blumenauer for Congress. Archived from the original on December 13, 2006. Retrieved December 30, 2006.
  6. ^ 1973 Regular Session (57th). Oregon State Archives. Retrieved on November 18, 2008.
  7. ^ Durbin, Kathy (April 2, 1981). "Blumenauer learns from loss". The Oregonian, p. B1.
  8. ^ Mayes, Steve (March 18, 1986). "Blumenauer backs 'supercounty' plan". The Oregonian, p. B6.
  9. ^ Read, Richard; and Gordon Oliver (May 21, 1986). "Blumenauer clinches City Council seat". The Oregonian, p. B1.
  10. ^ "Blumenauer takes oath" (January 6, 1987). The Oregonian, p. B8.
  11. ^ Oliver, Gordon; and Lane, Dee (December 17, 1986). "Bureau assignments announced by mayor". The Oregonian, p. 1.
  12. ^ "Members of Congress / Earl Blumenauer". The U.S. Congress Votes Database. washingtonpost.com. Archived from the original on January 1, 2007. Retrieved December 30, 2006.
  13. ^ a b Schrag, John (1999). "Battle of the Bleeding Hearts". Willamette Week 25th Anniversary Edition. Archived from the original on March 31, 2013. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  14. ^ Parente, Michele (May 26, 1996). "Councilman Blumenauer ends 10-year stint at City Hall". The Sunday Oregonian, p. C7.
  15. ^ ernestosilva (July 20, 2015). "Ralph Lowell Award". cpb.org.
  16. ^ ernestosilva (June 30, 2015). "Press Room". cpb.org.
  17. ^ "Election Results Final Agate Tally". The Oregonian. May 25, 1996. pp. D2.
  18. ^ "Clinton, Obama campaigns headed Oregon's way". KATU. March 5, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  19. ^ Editorial (November 9, 2002). "Fall Voter's Guide 2002". Willamette Week. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved December 22, 2006.
  20. ^ Hitt, Greg (December 29, 2007). "For Congressman, Life in Bike Lane Comes Naturally". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 30, 2007.
  21. ^ "THE FLOOD INSURANCE REFORM ACT OF 2004". Rep. Blumenauer’s office. Archived from the original on December 27, 2006. Retrieved December 30, 2006.
  22. ^ "President Signs Water for the Poor Act Into Law". Rep. Blumenauer’s office. Archived from the original on December 27, 2006. Retrieved December 30, 2006.
  23. ^ Kannapell, Andrea (October 13, 2008). "Buried in the Bailout: The Bicycle Commuter Act". The New York Times. Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  24. ^ As of December 2006, the Genocide Intervention Network gives Blumenauer a grade of A on its DarfurScores.com web site. "DarfurScores.org: Earl Blumenauer". Genocide Intervention Network. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved December 30, 2006.
  25. ^ "Issues". Congressman Earl Blumenauer.
  26. ^ "DAMNING Congressional Record: Cries for Help Ignored By The Federal Government [updated]".
  27. ^ "U.S. Should Remain Active in the WTO," Rep. Earl Blumenauer
  28. ^ "Earl Blumenauer on Free Trade". Ontheissues.org. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  29. ^ "Project Vote Smart – Representative Blumenauer on HR 434 – Africa Free Trade bill". Votesmart.org. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  30. ^ Moore, Scott (September 27, 2007). "Trade Secret". Portland Mercury.
  31. ^ "H.R.80 Captive Primate Safety Act". OpenCongress. Archived from the original on February 13, 2009.
  32. ^ Pope, Charles (February 24, 2009). "House passes Blumenauer bill to restrict primate sales". The Oregonian.
  33. ^ Alonso-Zaldivar, Ricardo (October 29, 2009). "It's alive! End-of-life counseling in health bill". The Associated Press.
  34. ^ Goldberg, Michelle (August 4, 2009). "The Health-Care Lie Machine". The Daily Beast. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  35. ^ Farber, Daniel (August 8, 2009). "Palin Weighs In on Health Care Reform". CBS News. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  36. ^ Daly, Matthew (August 14, 2009). "Palin stands by 'death panel claim". Associated Press.
  37. ^ "H.R. 5195 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  38. ^ a b "Blumenauer, Kinzinger Hail Passage of the Emergency Afghan Allies Extension Act". House Office of Earl Blumenauer. Archived from the original on August 1, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  39. ^ Karanth, Sanjana (February 4, 2019). "Some Democrats Refuse To Attend Trump's State of the Union". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  40. ^ Group, Pamplin Media. "Blumenauer to skip Trump's State of the Union again". Portland Tribune. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  41. ^ "The first lawmakers lining up behind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal resolution". Axios. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  42. ^ Clare Foran. "Who voted 'no' on the House resolution opposing Israel boycott movement". CNN. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  43. ^ Schneider, Bradley Scott (July 23, 2019). "H.Res.246 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel". congress.gov. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  44. ^ "Pro-Pot Lawmakers Have Launched a Congressional Cannabis Caucus". Fortune. February 16, 2017. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  45. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  46. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  47. ^ "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen´s Climate Lobby. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  48. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  49. ^ "Meet the Democrats Who Voted for the Defense of Marriage Act". Reason Foundation. June 27, 2013.
  50. ^ a b https://blumenauer.house.gov/issues
  51. ^ @repblumenauer (October 1, 2015). "I hope we can summon political courage to stop gun violence. We need more than thoughts & prayers. We need action. 1.usa.gov/1Jm6MUY" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  52. ^ Blumenauer, Earl (2015). "Enough is Enough: A Comprehensive Plan to Improve Gun Safety" (PDF). Congressman Earl Blumenauer. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 11, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  53. ^ Oesch, Elishah (February 9, 2015). "Blumenauer's gun plan: 'Enough is enough'". Portland, OR: Koin 6 News. Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  54. ^ Higdon, James (April 24, 2018). "Legal Marijuana's Big Moment". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  55. ^ Salant, Jonathan D. (April 20, 2018). "Here's what U.S. Senate's top Democrat now says about weed". NJ.com. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  56. ^ https://childinst.org/who-we-are/board-of-directors/margaret-d-kirkpatrick/
  57. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/13/science/earth/13profile.html
  58. ^ https://blumenauer.house.gov/congressional-bike-caucus
  59. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-lKVTynL5I
  60. ^ https://saltandstraw.com/blogs/news/fruitcake-and-1000-bikes
  61. ^ "Election Statistics, 1920 to Present". History, Art and Archives United States House of Representatives. United States House of Representatives Office of the Historian. Retrieved March 25, 2019.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ron Wyden
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oregon's 3rd congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mac Thornberry
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Robert Aderholt