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Interviews

This is a complete list of all interviews so far.  Click the preview button for a :30-second sample of the interview, the interview button to hear the entire interview, the microphone button to start your own interview and the notepad button to read a transcript of the interview.    

Uwe Banton is a German reggae artist with strong Jamaican musical roots. His latest CD release, "Mental Wars" looks at his love for family, his compassion for baby-mothers and his knowledge of the importance of being "armored." Don Merrill talks with Uwe Banton in this interview.

New York Times writer Jon Schwartz and his wife Jean suspected that their son Joe might be a little different from other toddlers. By the time his wife was hiding his sister's Barbies so Joe wouldn't take them to school, they knew their son was probably gay.   Don Merrill talked with Jon Schwartz about Joe and his coming home by coming out.

Paul Bracken is an academic at Yale University with a warning; nukes are back. In his book, "The Second Nuclear Age," Bracken says proliferation, political instability overseas, an outdated American arms control policy and improved technology is making the possibility of a regional nuclear war more likely than full scale war was during the Cold War. Don Merrill talks with Paul about the circumstances and scenarios of this new reality.

Richie Spice is a Jamaican born reggae artist who believes his music can help Jamaican youth find a better way to live. Along with his very talented brothers, Richie has been using music to uplift for years.  Don Merrill talks with Richie Spice about his latest acoustic CD and and how he uses his music to testify.

Judy Collins is a legacy star of the first magnitude, with a 50 year career that stretches from singing, to songwriting, to activism. And as a memoirist, she has chronicled much of her life in her books. She's just written another one, and Don Merrill talks with her about her book, her career and her passions.

Sune Rose Wagner is 1/2 of the Raveonettes. Together with Sharon Foo, the Raveonettes has been making music since 2003. Don Merrill talks with Sune Rose Wagner about the challenges of making indie pop music, the beats, the latest CD called Observator, and why it may be the last one the duo ever makes.

Dean Obeidallah is an Arab-American comic. And he regularly deals with and makes fun of questions like how do you make airline reservations when your name means "Servant of Allah?" Don Merrill talked with Dean about how and why he has the jewels to get up on stage and, not only do what he does, but do it so well?

Dwight Yoakam's 26 releases tell the story of his life. His newest, "3 Pears" goes in a slightly different direction, thanks to a collaboration with Beck. Dwight talks with Don Merrill about his music, Columbus Ohio football and his connection to the people he loves.

Walt Parazaider is a founding member of the rock music band Chicago. He has said that his goal was to create a sound that was  The Beatles “with horns:  Don Merrill recently talked with Walt about why the band has been around so long, and why the band's music continues to attract listeners from all generations.

Pat Metheny has been a leader in jazz-fusion since the 80s. And his newest effort, the Unity Band, speaks not only to his evolution as an artist, but to his childhood roots. In this interview, Don Merrill and Pat Metheny talk about music in a Unified Field Theory kind of way.

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David Lin, a Chinese American businessman in Corvallis, OR commissioned a mural on the side of his business in 2012 that highlighted Chinese abuses in Tibet. That act enraged the Chinese government.  Don Merrill talked with David Lin about this mural and his warning to the rest of us.

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Daniel Simpson was a foreign correspondent in Bosnia for the New York Times between 2002 and 2003. He became disillusioned with his work, and tried to start a music festival in the waning days of the Yugoslavian conflict. After that, he became an addict. Now he's written a book about it. Don Merrill talks with Daniel Simpson about his new book, A Rough Guide to the Dark Side, his decent in his own Divine Comedy and his ongoing recovery into adulthood.

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Ziggy Marley is an activist, an entrepreneur and not least of all, a musician.  He is a family man that has managed to not get caught up with things and stuff.  Don Merrill spoke with Ziggy about his latest release, "Wild and Free" as well as about some of the other endeavors he's involved with.

Martin Zarzar is a drummer with Pink Martini.  During a 3-month break between touring, he produced and released his first solo CD, called "Two Dollars to Ride the Train."  Don Merrill talked with Martin about how inspiration sometimes finds its way in the strangest ways and at the oddest times.

Rick Estrin & the Nightcats is a blues band that has been around since the mid 70s. It's music is down and dirty. Don Merrill had the opportunity to speak with front man Rick Estrin about his passion for his music, his musical upbringing and how, sometimes, "old school" is the only school.

Tom Jenkinson, aka Squarepusher, released his most recent record called "Ufabulum." Don Merrill had the pleasure of talking with him in this interview. Mr. Jenkinson explains why he fights being easily labeled as a musician by corporate music, and how partly from that, his energy and innovative music comes.

Loveness Wesa is a South African musician in the Zimbabwean tradition. She came to dance via theater and to theater via karate. And above all else, she loves performing. Don Merrill spoke with her about the forces of nature that shaped her and how she spends her life trying to find ways to give back.

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Sarah Horowitz is the President of the Freelancer's Union and author of the book, "The Freelancer's Bible."  In this interview with Don Merrill, she talks about why freelancing is now, more than ever, a viable alternative to "traditional" ways of working, and how by freelancing, people can get the most out of the their work and their life.  

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Andrew Solomon is an author who has just completed a seminal  work on how maladies ranging from the physical to the psychological affect both parents and children alike.  “Far from the Tree” is the result, and Don Merrill talks with Andrew Solomon on his ten years working on the book, and how it has changed his own life for the better.  

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Marjorie Henry is an 82 year old Canadian by birth who has spent much of her life volunteering and now lives in the Pacific Northwest. She has lived an amazing life that interviewer Don Merrill has telescoped into this short, ten minute conversation. *Audio Hum


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Singer and songwriter Dar Williams has been making music for more than 20 years. She has just released her latest CD called "In the Time of Gods." Don Merrill had the pleasure of talking with Dar about her messages to young girls, her wish to tie bonds of love around the world and her need for Northwest rain and coffee to rejuvenate her spirit.




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Russell Hitchcock (R) and Graham Russell compose the 80s megagroup "Air Supply." The duo has been performing for nearly 40 years, but they both are constantly working to create new and fresh music as individuals and as partners. KBOO's Don Merrill interviewed Russell Hitchcock about the music, playing in the rain and what annoys him most about interviews.




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Caroline Miller is an Oregon author who has worked in city and county government, as well as with union workers, students and now, with readers.  She is a playwright and a goth fan with a LOT more on her mind than black lipstick, like love and the unified field theory.  Don Merrill talked with Ms. Miller about her latest book and her lifelong way of seeing humanity and the world.




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Irma McClaurin is a member of the black intelligensia.  But she grew up in the projects of Chicago.  This scientist, poet, philanthropist, academic and feminist has a lot to say about how anthropology shapes our world and how the best hopes of science sometimes can't overcome human nature.  Don Merrill talks with Irma McClaurin about the academy, the women of Belize and the right of black women and men to love whomever they want.




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Charles Murray is no stranger to a unique point of view even among conservatives.  And his latest offering, "Coming Apart; The State of White America, 1960-2010" is no exception.  Don Merrill talked with Mr. Murray about his views on intelligence, limosine liberals and what he thinks is the solution to the schism between upper and lower class white people.




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Hasan Salaam is a poet, musician and political activist. Thanks to a strong mom and grandmother, this emcee has a lot more on his mind than beats. Don Merrill talked with Hasan Salaam as he was touring through the Pacific Northwest, and in advance of a series of presentations by him to several Oregon colleges and universities.





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Curtis Salgado loves music and he loves Portland, Oregon.  He's a bluesman, an R&B artist and a soul singer all rolled up into one.  He was never in the gutter with a wine bottle in a paper bag.  But he's been through it nonetheless, you know?  And when he needed them, Portland went through it with him.  He's alive to talk about it and he talks about it with Don Merrill.  






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Arun Gandhi is the fifth grandson of Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi.  Since coming to the US in the 80s, Arun has been working to fulfil the legacy of his iconic grandfather.  And whether it's helping people overcome violence against each other or violence against the Earth, he has been a tireless champion in the spirit of his grandfather.  Don Merrill had the opportunity to speak with Arun Gandhi.






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Drs. Helen Hunt and Harville Hendrix are marriage and family therapists who, in the late 80's, wrote the groundbreaking book, "Getting the Love You Want."  They both talk with Don Merrill about their newest book, the idea that who we fight with might be the best person for us, and how they almost lost it all.






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Melanie Davis is the owner of Brilliant Media, Su Publica Ad Agency, El Hispanic News and Proud Queer Monthly. Despite her youth, the road to magnate has been a long one, beginning with an iconic grandmother in her childhood New Mexico. Don Merrill talks with lesbian latina Melanie Davis about what she loves about Portland, the publishing business and why she's OK crashing business meetings in her Harley gear.







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Pascal Sauton is many things; chef, connoisseur, bon vivant, traditionalist, teacher.  And now, sex symbol.  Don Merrill talks with this French transplant about winning the title of America's Hottest Chef and Portland food culture as well as what diners should be able to expect and why casual dining may be killing fine dining.








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Haitian V., aka Vladimir Barthelemow Thelonious Rasputin Slocumb Calixte The 3rd, is a Haitian comic and entertainer with Flatbush, NY roots. He was recently in the Pacific Northwest to not only promote Haitian music but to support the Haitian community. Don Merrill had the chance to talk with this quiet, funny man who avoids always being comically "on" but who is never intellectually "off."








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The Steep Canyon Rangers is a five member traditional bluegrass band out of North Carolina that sings the stories of Appalachia. Charles Humphrey does bass and harmony vocals to the group. Don Merrill had the chance to talk with him about the harmonies, investing in community and the legacy of the music from Bill Monroe to Steve Martin.









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"I wrote my first song at 12, I was published at 13. I made a record at 14. I had a hit at 15, and I was a has-been at 16", so says Janis Ian. But that 's not exactly true. She's been quite busy in the nearly four decades since her first Grammy in 1975 for "At Seventeen" as Don Merrill discovered when he had the chance to talk with this songstress, author and musical legend.










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Dave Bunch is a lifetime union member and an attendee at the 2013 Portland Troublemaker School. Don Merrill talked with Mr. Bunch about what unions mean to him and why they should mean something to everybody.











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Tom Getts says he has been called a troublemaker all his life. But he also says that's just a label by people who want to oppress him, so he rejects it. Don Merrill talked with Mr. Getts and learns that there are other labels that he thinks better fit the attendees at the 2013 Portland Troublemaker School.












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Rootz Underground is all about uplifting people with their passion for reggae. And they couldn't have a better spokesman than bassist Colin Young. Don Merrill talked with Mr. Young about Rootz Underground, their love for their music and their concern for the Earth.













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Jo Hannah Brenner believes that the power of unions lie in the power of workers to see themselves as the bosses they've been looking for. That's why she was instrumental in the organizing of the 2013 Portland Troublemakers School, and she talks with Don Merrill about it.













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Ren Green (aka RenSter to her Burning Man friends) has had a very interesting ride through many of the school systems in the Western Hemisphere as a child and as a parent.  And now she’s giving some payback, uh, … insight.  Don Merrill talks with her about her first book, “A Very Long Story about Karma that Will Probably Make me Cry” that will also probably make you laugh and shudder .













Preview Interview   All previews use music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

This interview, which was originally conducted by documentarian Bill Cody in 2012 is a re-edit with the permission of the Don Williams organization. Don Williams is fiercely protective of his privacy, and Don Merrill highlights Mr. Williams on his music, his family and his feeling that there is just too much talking in the world.














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The Community Healing Network is an organization dedicated to helping Black people overcome the negative messages and stereotypes they encounter in this culture. Don Merrill talks with CHN President, Ms. Enola Aird about the motivations, focus and plans of CHN to help make the world better for Black people and everybody.















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Investigative journalist Greg Palast talks with Don Merrill about his new book Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps. Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse. He is best known in the US for uncovering Katherine Harris' purge of black voters from Florida's voter rolls in 2000. Palast's last book is Vultures' Picnic.
















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Activist, playwright, and author of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler talks with Don Merrill about her new book, In the Body of the World, a visionary memoir of separation and connection. The book ties together the work she did against the violence done to Congolese women while fighting Uterine cancer that was simultaneously doing violence to her own body.  













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Forty years of making music hasn’t made The Manhattan Transfer any less daring.  Their latest project, “The Living Room Sessions” expose the quartet and how they make their music even more .  Don Merrill has the chance to talk with founding member Alan Paul about the group, the return of group member Sharon Bentyne after her bout with cancer and his feelings about the failings of some of today’s music making.













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Jonathan Schuppe is a crime and government reporter who has spent much of his reporting life in and around Newark, NJ. In that time, he's seen first hand the results of shattered lives and their effects on children. But he tells a different story in his new book, "A Chance to Win." Don Merrill talks with Mr. Schuppe about a special man who got a bunch of inner city kids interested in forming a sports team. And not basketball or football.













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Razorfish Chief Technology Officer Ray Velez and CEO Bob Lord have written a new book about how to transform business at the intersections of marketing and technology.  It’s called “Converge”, and Mr. Velez talks with Don Merrill about how our new view of technology affects everything from enterprise applications to light bulbs and legos.













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Author Gabrielle Glaser knows about women and drinking. Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, she watched women move from glasses of wine to flasks to sneaking big Merlot empties into recycling bins. And she did a fair amount of drinking herself. She's written a book about it, called "Her Best Kept Secret". Don Merrill talks with Gabrielle Glaser about why women can be honest with themselves about their drinking and why AA doesn't work for them.














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Tom Carpenter is the Executive Director of Hanford Challenge, a non profit dedicated to the clean up of the Hanford Nuclear site in Washington state. Paul Gunter is an International Specialist at Beyond Nuclear, an organization that is working to eliminate nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Don Merrill talked with both of these men about similarities between the problems at Japan's ill-fated Fukishima Daichi nuclear plant and the aging Hanford facility.














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Robert Naiman is policy director of Just Foreign Policy, a non profit that works to improve US foreign relations. He's the author of the article "If We Cut Aid to Egypt, Would We Die?" Don Merrill talks with Mr. Naiman about the unfolding situation in Egypt and the complications that arise when states have to balance what is ethical with what is in their strategic interests.















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Jonathan Goldstein is the host of the Canadian Broadcasting Company program "Wiretap", a satirical look at relationships and existentialism from the perspective of a middle-aged Jewish man. That perspective is now also in print in Mr. Goldstein's first book, "I'll Seize the Day Tomorrow." Don Merrill talked w/Jonathan about his love for words and their power for good and ill.
















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Troy Carpenter is the curator and interpretive specialist for the Goldendale Observatory.  This free and open to the public observatory, started in 1973 and a Washington State Park facility since 1980, has a 24 1/2 inch mirror in a Cassegrain design on a hilltop with a coveted Dark Sky designation in Goldendale, WA.  Don Merrill talked with Mr. Carpenter about the telescope, his love for science and the occasional head butt with members of the general public.  
















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Artist Dawn Nielson is furiously fighting for her artistic freedom, whether that means rendering images of the heads of domestic abuse victims on huge canvases or launching women themed postcards into the world or using her bout with breast cancer to help heal others.  Don Merrill talks with Dawn about everything from her sanctuary and her sanity in this conversation.  

















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Singer, songwriter and producer Richard Marx has been a hitmaker since the 80s.   In this conversation with Don Merrill, Marx talks about his feelings for technologies like Garageband and Soundcloud, his love - hate relationship with social media and his special collaboration with Luther Vandross that led to the creation of one of the best songs a man could ever know.


Would you choose to let one person die to save five?  That is the essence of the "Trolley Problem" and author Thomas Cathcart explains it in his book, "The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw a Fat Guy off the Bridge"?  Mr. Cathcart talks with Don Merrill about the ethical and moral dilemmas we face everyday and how they aren't just questions for college professors.

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Sheri Fink is a journalist and a physician who has spent the last few years digging deeply into the tragedy at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans, the site of more than three dozen suspicious deaths in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  She’s written a book about what she’s found called “Five Days at Memorial”.  Don Merrill talks with her about what she calls “Life and death in a storm ravaged hospital”.  

Journalist and activist Bill McKibben has won numerous humanitarian awards including the Gandhi Award for Peace.  He has been writing about how human activity is changing the Earth for more than a decade and outlined those changes in his last book, "Eaarth".  His newest book, "Oil and Honey, The Education of an Unlikely Activist", looks at the personal and global story of the fight to build and preserve a sustainable planet.  Don Merrill talks with Mr. McKibben in this interview.

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Jay Beckenstein is the leader and founding member of the jazz group Spyro Gyra. In this conversation with Don Merrill, he talks about ticket sales, Internet radio, the dumbing down of the creative process and how he and group members stay vibrant by taking risks and creating new music.


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Urban League of Portland President Michael Alexander is simultaneously soft-spoken and intense. And although he intends to end his career where he began it, working within the Urban League, he doesn't intend to finish quietly. Don Merrill talks with the man who told the Portland Business Journal that the Urban League has "never been a huge asset" for Portland, and what he's in the process of doing to change that.



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Daniel Pinkwater is a renowned children's author. As a former and regular guest host for NPR, and an illustrator, he has been telling stories to entertian kids and adults for decades. Don Merrill talks with Daniel Pinkwater about how he became a children's author and what he cares about when he puts pen to paper.




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The Dulles Brothers were years before the power team of John and Bobby Kennedy. And they arguably had a great long lasting effect on American foreign policy. Author Stephen Kinzer talks with Don Merrill about his latest book that look at the legacy John and Allen Dulles left for the United States, for good and for ill.




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The US Military wants smart machines to do more and more of the fighting. But author Mike Maden sees a danger in taking the human element out of war, which he says is a human activity, not a technological activity. Don Merrill goes in-depth with Mr. Maden and his new book, "Drone".




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Cursive, longhand or whatever you call it, handwriting is disappearing from the American skillset. The US Postal Service, as well as postal agencies worldwide have seen a drop in letters and cards as people choose e-cards, email and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Don Merrill talks with Simon Garfield, author of "To the Letter" about this third in a trilogy of books about how we use words and images in the shadow of the relentless march of technology.




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Karl Erickson is a Republican candidate for the 20th legislative district in Oregon.  He talked with Don Merrill about his desire to contribute to good governance, his thinking on retirement and collective bargaining issues and why he’s willing to risk everything he has for what he believes.




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Jo Rae Perkins is a conservative candidate for the US Senate in Oregon. Don Merrill talked with her about what she feels are some of the most relevant issues to Oregonians and Americans in general.





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US Congressman John Lewis has been in the fight for civil rights since the 60’s.  As a member of the “Big Six” he has seen where we’ve been and where we have yet to go.  Don Merrill talks with this legislator, activist and author about his new autobiographical, graphic novel, “March”.





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Comedian Wanda Sykes is much more than funny.  She is an activist for gay rights and a supporter of PETA.  Don Merrill had the chance to talk to this remarkable woman about everything from her mixed marriage to her “new perky boobs”.





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Willpower can be an issue for people trying to achieve a goal who never quite seem to get there.  Kelly McGonigal, author of “The Willpower Instinct” offers strivers the help they need to follow through.  Don Merrill talks with her about her book.





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Sharon Salzberg has been a central figure in Buddhism in the United States for decades. She's written a new book about applying principles of mindfulness to the workplace. Called “Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement and Peace", she talks with Don Merrill about why even the job can be a place of balance, resilience, compassion and more.






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Don Gavitte is a Democrat running for the Oregon House in the 42d district. He talked with Don Merrill about what he plans to bring to the legislature as a teacher and what he wants to bring his students and their parents as a legislator.







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Republican John Huffman is running for reelection in Oregon's 59th district. He talked with Don Merrill about his constituents, his family and his level of frustration over how he feels the legislature is sometimes sidelined.







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Mark Garcia is a Republican candidate running for the 2nd district in the Oregon legislature. He talked with Don Merrill about what it means to be a "Compassionate Conservative" and how that does and doesn't line up with his fellow conservatives on everything from taxes and schools to expectations.







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Natasha Bjornsen is a Douglas County Democrat and teacher running for House member in Oregon's Second District. She talked with Don Merrill about why education is the key to her strategy, how collaboration and compromise are not dirty words, and how she gets annoyed when people mischaracterize her and her views on gun control.







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Jason Heym is campaigning for the 1st Position Judgeship in the Columbia County Circuit Court.  The court, in Oregon’s 19th Judicial District, is a trial court and Heym is thinking seriously about being a trial court judge.  Don Merrill talks with this Goldberg Jones attorney about his gritty style and how he says he will do everything he can to protect a person’s right to their day in court.






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