Pacific Green Congressional candidate Chris Henry (OR-1) to Willamette Week: I’m so not a drifter

Chris Henry at New Menu, responding to the Willamette Week endorsement of Congressman David Wu for re-election:

“The Pacific Green Party’s Chris Henry, a drifter of sorts, is a walking explanation for the failure of third parties.” (Wow! The Green seems like a threat… Let’s get rid of him quickly, and shoe-in Wu!)

“We liked Wu’s vote against the original financial bailout package” (As did I…) “and hope it’s a sign he’ll make his sixth term more memorable than his fifth.” (At least I’m not a Wall Street turncoat!)

After filing to run for office, using September’s rent, food and bill money… (it’s costs nothing to file, but $1000 bucks for a Voter’s Pamphlet Statement!), I put in my two week notice at my job. I’m a Teamster who drives for Yellow Roadway Corporation, hauling Doubles and Triples up and down the I-5 corridor most every night, dawn to dusk.

My intent was to quit my job, return to school and chair the Portland Metro Chapter (once again) as the Executive Director… An actual full-time desk job, while completing my long awaited degree. After filing to run and submitting my two week notice… the banks, one-by-one, started failing, forcing others to go belly-up. On the very last day of my two week notice, the stock market took a 777 point dive to the bottom. Some old-timers in the union advised me to hold-on to my job and ride-out the down-turn in the market, stating, “A bird in the hand…”.

Things have been utterly slow… loads have been few… work has trickled in… drivers are hurting.

I instantly retracted my two week notice at Yellow Freight, which is where I remain, today. And, as for school? Once again, it will have to wait or be done online, somehow. I have worked the same job for the last 5 years… I finished my Clackamas transfer requirements in only one year… and have been struggling at Portland State for the last 7 years. I have moved around the Portland area a bit, yes, but students often change residence quite frequently… nothing too strange there.

I am no more drifter than most any other returning students. The job I hold today sets a record for me, compared to my past jobs, that is certainly true. I am, however, quite proud of the experiences my past has afforded me, I am better for it… it is a tribute to my resilience and fortitude. It got me to where I am today. I drove concrete mixers on and off for 15 years… it tends to be seasonal… especially for drivers at the bottom of the board. Prior to that, in the ’80’s, I was an aircraft electrical mechanic on the B-1 Bomber for Rockwell International, then, a structural mechanic on MD-11’s and MD-80’s for McDonnell Douglas.

I’ve flipped pizza’s, routed wire, laid brick, block, tile and stone, bucked rivets, carried steel, drywall and lumber, poured concrete and set forms, driven heavy equipment, forklifts, front bucket loaders, bobcats and backhoes, operated overhead cranes, dug ditches and tied rebar, read electrical schematics and followed engineering drawings, moved furniture, freight and industrial equipment, driven over-the-road in most of the 48 states, drove fuel tankers, flatbeds and dump trucks, helped my dad overhaul and repair his rig, help deconstruct, transport and reassemble a concrete batch plant… and, all the while, I’ve paid for my own education along the way at trade schools, colleges and Portland State University.

I can blue collar with the best of them and can still hold my own in a classroom full of star students.

My grandfather was a truck driver… my father was a truck driver… my brothers are truck drivers… and I am a truck driver. But, more so than that, I am a Teamster Truck Driver that challenged a Congressman to a debate and watched him squirm and back down… twice! The only drifter I know who would do such a thing with the same confidence is featured in a Clint Eastwood film…

How so very cool! But, so very unlike who I am.

Furthermore, to the point, this same truck driver took his very own money (Not money from special interests!) and plunked it down on a not so cheep Voter Pamphlet Statement (That he honestly could not afford…), so that his Party would have a candidate to fill a 5 member congressional Peace Slate (Making history for his Party) and, so that District 1 Voters would have a choice in the November 4th election (True democracy in action!).

Is that by definition …”a walking explanation for the failure of third parties” or is it altogether something else, entirely?

Like most folks, I’m out there trying to cut a buck, I pinch my pennies at the end of the month, do my best to make ends meet and simply try to make my way in the world, as best I can. We all are! Times are tough and they have been that way for quite a while now. I’m not so sure that bailing out Wall Street Bankers — that go to health spas with there pooches, golf resorts with there buddies, hunting ranges with their pals and grandiose company parties with their chums, while granting themselves exuberant multi-million dollar bonuses — was the right course of action to take.

Who will be bailing out the little people, when the trickle down approach looses traction and fails? I’m out there busting my hump, driving through the night, so these fat cats can dance on my and your graves? Wow! I think that Wu et al bailed out the wrong folks! After five terms in office, WW is willing to give Wu a sixth term and “hope it’s a sign he’ll make his sixth term more memorable than his fifth.”

I don’t know about you folks, but it has, thus far, been pretty memorable for me!

Look… I don’t possess degrees from, either, Harvard or Yale… I wouldn’t have a clue what that is like, really. My degree will come from PSU this spring and I will be utterly cognizant of the effort it took to, finally, obtain it. It will be mine… I’ll finally be a graduate… and no one can take that away. Congress will be a VERY steep learning curve for me, no doubt. I learn fast, though, and I keep trying, because, eventually, I will get it right! I guess voters can only hope — along with WW — that Wu will, eventually, get it right, too!

While there is still hope, I am still a candidate in this race for 1st Congressional District and the choice of who you wish to be your Representative is, ultimately, up to you.

If I’m elected, I will seek a People’s Bailout

In addition to Henry, the Willamette Week article profiles Independent Party candidate, Joel Haugen, and Scott Semrau of the Constitution Party.

Also attached to the article is a video of the Weekly editorial board’s meeting. Along with the candidates in the article, there is also a Libertarian candidate, Joe Tabor. However, for some reason they made no mention of him in the article, and he is also not listed on the national or state Libertarian party pages. The video of the editorial board meeting may be of some interest to any possible future candidates who have not been through one.

5 thoughts on “Pacific Green Congressional candidate Chris Henry (OR-1) to Willamette Week: I’m so not a drifter

  1. Ross Levin

    Also, I didn’t know that a candidate could be an embodiment of corrupt Democrats and Republicans, the state-printed ballot, and press bias!

  2. Ross Levin

    Plus, this guy was insulted so many times and he took it in stride. Wu told him to his face that he wouldn’t be willing to debate him, the editorial board kept not-so-subtly hinting at the fact that he wasn’t up to their standards and shouldn’t be running for Congress, and other things as well.

  3. Chris Henry

    This was my first time as a candidate for public office. I started running for office because my dad died on September 15, 2007 and stepped down after serving two terms as the chair of the Pacifc Green Party of Oregon, one term as the Oregon delegate to the US Green Party. I needed something to consume my time…

    The void was just too great, and my told me a story about my grandfather (who I knew as simply “Umpa”), who served under general Eisenhower (as his personal assistant), then, in the Eisenhower Administration (as his speech writer) and on Eisenhower Farm until moving to Arizona in about 1975.

    My grandfather (Kevin McCann) wrote a book about Eisenhower (Man From Abilene – which is where the Eisenhower Library is located and has 54 boxes of his journals and personal records). My mom placed the book in my hand and said you should run for office… Your grandfather wrote this and I think you will find all the inspiration you need in it’s pages.

    I’m much more of a Marxist and utterly opposed to war. But, read it with an open mind. Another journalist (Who reminds me of the Willamette Week journalist, Nigel) Drew Pearson, an intense critic of the Eiswnhower Administration, wrote an extremely praise-worthy honorable mention about my grandfather, being Eisenhower’s”ghost writer.

    Drew Pearson was with the Friends Service Committee and mentions that my grandfather was the person that wrote military industrial complex into the farewell address. I called the Abilene Presidential Library folks and they said, not a chance, but you are welcome to come look at your grandfather and effects. I tend to trust writers like Nigel and Drew, because they tend to dig deeper.

    My grandfather left the Administration (though my mom told me anecdotal about “Kevin continued to write for ‘the general’…” (She never called him “The President”) even when he was the school President at Defiance College (my mom’s Alma mater) and working on the local newspaper, of which my mom said was owned by family (and may still be?).

    My mom was right. My grandfather’s book inspired me to run, back in 2008. I keep hoping to take a vacation one of these years to go to Abilene and scan my grandfather’s journals and digitally record his audio histories. I only vaguely remember a limosine coming down the street to pickup my mom and my aunt to go to dinner with my grandfather and Eiswnhower, who were visiting Edwards Air Force Base for something to do with the space program (circa 1969’ish).

    I’m still driving for YRC Frieght (coming up on 15 years in April 2019) and I’ll be turning 55years old in March, my daughter is married, has a two year old daughter, herself (so, I’m a grand’dad!!!), And she will be 23 years old in April.

    Even though I still haven’t finished the “long-awited” degree” in the above-mentioned post, I keep plugging away at it and my going to school inspired my daughter to attend college, who is enrolled at Cal State Northridge this fall term, (2018). So, there is upward mobility and cause-effect in action (mission accomplished!!!). My kid is whip smart in my eyes! (:

    I keep running for office every election cycle and keep attending the Willamette Week interviews every two years, keeping it simple and humble. They really write some good investigative pieces and do their best to keep things interesting for the reader. Even though they wrote: “The Pacific Green Party’s, Xhris Henry, another two years older, and still nothing new to add.” in 2010, when I ran again for the same US Congressional seat against David Wu (who vacated the seat right after that election and, again, gaining the WW endorsement).

    I keep running. They kinda ignore me in 2012, when I ran for Oregon State Attorney General, but they ignored that race entirely, because the (now) attorney general in that race is the wife of one of the Willamette Week’s owners. Medical marijuana legalization was big that year III n that race, as was police accountability. I was the only truck driver in that race!

    In 2014, I ran for Oregon State Governor and the governor running for re-election in ’14 left in a scandal after receiving the WW endorsement and winning the election. In 2016, I ran for Oregon State Treasurer on a State Bank platform and the Democrat won on an “I’ll be a better Wall Street investor than the last elected Democratic Party State Treasurer.

    In 2018, am running again for Oregon State Governor as the Oregon Progressive Party candidate, so working class folks will have someone to vote for on a ecological-doxusez and heavily Marxist-leaning working-people-centric platform. I just attened the Willamette Week candidate interview and am hoping for a kinder pen than my earlier years running.

    I’m a perennial candidate for certain, but so are all of the incumbent candidates. Also, Nigel has been the lead interviewer for the last couple of years. I think that both he and I have changed a lot over the years. I count his writings among my regular reads… He holds people’s feet to the fire… How can you not like that? It seems to be a rare gift.

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