Jeff Merkley for Oregon

Who am I?

Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley has dedicated his life to public service and fighting for the middle class. His entire career has been animated by a simple philosophy: that each of us has a responsibility to make the community, the nation, and the planet a better place. In 2008, Oregonians took note of his thoughtful, solutions-oriented style and made Jeff the first Oregonian to defeat an incumbent U.S. Senator in 40 years.

Jeff’s values were shaped as a working-class kid from rural Oregon. The son of a sawmill worker, Jeff’s parents impressed upon him the importance of honest work, good schools, and strong families. Jeff worked hard, earned scholarships, and became the first in his family to go to college.

He attended Stanford University and later earned a Masters in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. Early in his career, Jeff interned for Senator Mark Hatfield and worked as a national security analyst before returning to Portland to lead Habitat for Humanity. Jeff then served in the Oregon House, rising to the position of Speaker before entering the Senate.

Jeff and his wife, Mary, a nurse, have two children, Jonathan and Brynne, and an Airedale terrier, Sadie.

Why am I running?

During his time in the Senate, Jeff’s primary focus has been fighting to create economic opportunity for working families. He championed putting an end to the worst abuses on Wall Street. He wrote the Volcker Rule, which created a firewall between risky hedge-fund style trading and traditional banking. Frustrated by the slow pace of assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure, Jeff put together a comprehensive plan to help families refinance their underwater mortgages. He has been a leading voice for an increase to the minimum wage and for protecting the country's safety net from Tea Party assaults.

Jeff understands that carbon pollution is a direct threat to our economy. He has aggressively pushed for policies to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and conserve our natural treasures.

To restore a nation of, by, and for the people, Jeff has fought for major structural changes to our broken political system. He gained national prominence in his efforts to reform the Senate and end the secret, silent filibuster that has been abused in order to block legislation and nominations. Jeff’s advocacy led to the Senate rules change in 2013 that allowed up-or-down votes on virtually all nominees, allowing the President finally to fill three longstanding vacancies on the DC Circuit and confirm key officials throughout the executive branch. Jeff is one of the most outspoken critics of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision and supports various efforts to reduce the pernicious influence of unlimited, anonymous corporate and special interest money in politics.

My Goals

Senator Merkley's top policy goals:

Strengthening the economy and growing the middle class by creating quality, living-wage jobs.

Giving every child access to a quality education that prepares him or her for today's economy, starting with early childhood, strong K-12 schools, and a plan to make college affordable that doesn't saddle students with massive debt.

Ensuring that Washington works for working Americans, not the powerful and well connected.

Ending the war in Afghanistan so we can invest in nation-building here at home.
Protecting our seniors from attacks on Medicare and Social Security.

My DFA Values

A fierce fighter for equality, Jeff was honored when Senator Ted Kennedy passed him the torch as the lead sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which he successfully shepherded through the Senate on a strong bipartisan vote in 2013. Equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans has always been a signature priority for Jeff since his time in the Oregon House, and he has been a staunch proponent for women's rights. He was one of the most outspoken defenders of Planned Parenthood when it faced attacks from extremists on the right, has championed equal-pay legislation, and wrote a provision into law to ensure breastfeeding moms privacy and time to pump at work.

Jeff believes ordinary people need a champion in the Senate. The rich and the powerful have plenty of representation in Congress, and he doesn't see any purpose to joining the chorus.

My Campaign is People Powered!

From the beginning, Jeff has set out to create the largest grassroots campaign Oregon has ever seen. Through partnerships with grassroots organizations he has won major victories in reforming Senate filibuster rules that allowed an extreme minority of Senators to block important work on behalf of middle-class families and secured senate passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act with strong bipartisan support.

Voice support


  • Anna Stark
  • Jayme Beebe
  • Ed Averill, OR
  • Michael Fox
  • Matthew Keating, OR
  • Roger Hardesty, OR

About the Endorsement Process

The driving force behind all DFA endorsements is our members. We recognize that all politics is local and that what is considered progressive in Los Angeles may be very different from what's considered progressive in Louisville. For this reason, DFA does not have a litmus test of specific progressive positions for which a candidate must stand. Our endorsement is heavily weighted based on these questions:

• Will the candidate move the progressive movement forward in their community?
• Does the candidate have substantial support from our local members?
• Do the candidate's positions and policies fit into the broader progressive movement?
• Is the campaign people-powered and the candidate working to win?

If you have questions, or want to let us know about a candidate in your neighborhood, please call us at (802) 651-3200 or email us at [email protected] .

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