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Thursday, October 27, 2005


A truly hectic week has precluded my mentioning here that I had coffee a while back with an old acquaintance for whom we're most likely to be voting in the future. It's Rey Ramsey, who's gone on to fortune and fame since I knew him as a rookie lawyer two decades ago.

Rey's now got two incredible gigs. He's the CEO of something called One Economy, whose mission is largely comprised of helping low-income people access technology. Among One's projects is an interesting website called the Beehive. He's also the chair of the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity International. Before this, he was the president of a Maryland-based nonprofit outfit known as the Enterprise Foundation. He splits his living time between Portland, where he has a (gulp) groovy condo in the Pearl, and Washington, D.C.

Rey is the ultimate political animal. On the blue side of things, he's connected all over, every which way. Here in Portland, the voter's choice these days seems to be limited to the socialist world of Erik Sten and the old boy network epitomized by Neil Goldschmidt. Ramsey's got it covered on both sides. He served in Goldschmidt's gubernatorial cabinet as housing director. But he's also buddies with Sir Erik, and he was right on board supporting Sam the Tram. When it comes to being on the inside in Portland and in Oregon, you can't do much better than that.

Hanging out in D.C., Rey's playmates include the top echelon of our bedraggled Democratic Party, and he appears to be something of a front man for Hillary. Wow, Goldschmidt, Sten, and Hillary -- the complete trifecta of politicians I wouldn't miss. But there's something about our personal contacts that puts Rey in a different class. When we talk, it's a Newark guy talking with a Philly guy. We both get it.

One of these days, he'll finally run for some office or other around here, at which time he'd be a hard candidate to resist. So if you didn't already, now you know about him. You read it here first.

Comments (3)

This guy in politics would by definition be more honest than any other power-pursuing hack. Anyone whose name means "King" automatically brings a refreshingly straightforward screw-the-taxpayer platform.

But the King would need to complete his inner circle, and there's the rub. Would Freddie Mercury's estate loan him Freddie's corpse for the political office's entire term or only for a weekend at Bernie's? Would the mini-Minnesotan whose symbol looks like a Viagra advertisement be able to see over a podium?

can you put me in touch with this guy? will he respond to an unsolicited email?

he sounds like a good candidate to come to my campus and give a talk.

paul g.
reed college

I work for Rey in Oregon running One Economy's work in the NW and am obviously biased in my opinion of him. I will keep my political predictions aside, as I understand it that Rey's name is circulated in other circles than Oregon's.

However, I did want to make it clear that while sounding terribly corny, Rey is truly a 'uniter' not a 'divider'. His philsophy about his work and his life, which I have heard him say many times, is that it is less about (my words) the titles and pictures on the wall, but (his words) "the body of work you leave behind".

To that end, he works closely with both sides of the political spectrum...just check out One Economy's board of directors at www.one-economy.com. He is no frontman for any politician, but rather has worked with Senator Clinton, as well as Senator Frist.

And while he is proud of his friendships with Commissioners Sten and Adams, it is the ability to get things done that matter most to him and One Economy.

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