Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Democratic State Sen. Candidate Called Up by National Guard

Paul Evans is the real deal. City Councilman in Monmouth, Oregon at age 18, Evans has been twice elected as the city's mayor, served in the Air Force and the Air National Guard and been a teacher at Western Oregon University and Oregon State University. Evans is currently running as a Democrat for the State Senate in Oregon, his campaign representing one of the party's best pick-up opportunities in the chamber this year. And now he has been informed that he will be shipping out for duty in Afghanistan on November 5, as Peter Wong reports for the Salem Statesman Journal.

When Election Day rolls around three weeks from today, Oregon Senate candidate Paul Evans will learn his fate from afar: Afghanistan.

Evans, a veteran of the Air Force and Oregon Air National Guard, will be en route to the nation with the 116th Air Control Squadron.

He is scheduled to leave Nov. 5, 10 days ahead of his original deployment date. His mission will last 60 days -- which means he would be back for the opening of the legislative session on Jan. 8 if he is elected Nov. 7 to the Senate District 10 seat.


In a written statement, he said, "When my commander said I was needed, there was no question of whether or not I would go. Duty calls."


He likely is the nation's only candidate who will be on active duty in the Middle East on Election Day.

This is a great story for the Democrats, one that should garner at least some national coverage in addition to the local coverage. Democratic candidate Paul Evans, one of the few people in the Air National Guard able to perform his specific role as an air-battle manager and who has served multiple tours of duty in Iraq, Kuwait and elsewhere, is selflessly giving up an opportunity to campaign in the waning moments of this election to serve his country. Brigadier General Mike Caldwell, deputy director of the Oregon National Guard, had as much to say in a statement released today (via BlueOregon):

Major Evans has unique skills that are critical to the safety of our troops. I'm grateful that he is willing to ship out to Afghanistan, even in the last few days of a close campaign. He understands the true meaning of service. And as it stands right now, we see no reason why Paul cannot get back in time to serve in the Oregon Legislature as a civilian leader.

Let's show Paul Evans that we will support him and help put him over the top in this election even as he does his duty in Afghanistan. Let's show America how Democrats and progressives feel about our troops. BlueOregon has set up an ActBlue fundraising page for Evans and provides information on how to volunteer if you live in the area.

Update [2006-10-17 15:22:27 by Jonathan Singer]: A commenter writes, "'This [will be] a great story for the Democrats' assuming he survives." Very true. I did not intend to be cavalier in writing about this story. It should be mentioned that Evans faces real danger -- a prospect that we should not overlook. Our hopes for his safe return of course come before our financial support on his behalf.

His homepage:

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