By Kyle Bailey
Two stories – one comes from my mother Nova who is 84.
In 1958 when Hatfield was running for Governor, he came to Roseburg for a meet and greet event. He talked to my mother for a minute and went on around the room. That was in the primary season – and come fall with the GOP Nomination in hand he came back for a similar event. He made his way around the room and eventually saw my mom. He walked up and said something like – “Hi Nova, how are you doing and how is that third grade class at Oakland elementary going?”
My parents were lower middle class quiet people and she was shocked he even remembered her. I can tell you that even when she had disagreements with his positions, she still voted for him. She was so impressed with his memory, I think she figured he must know what he was doing!
For me- growing up in the 70s Hatifeld and McCall were the two political figures who stood hands above anyone. I was impressed with his ability to take heat from his own party and stand by his convictions.
In the 1980s, I was in the same venue with the Senator on two occasions.
Once at then Classical KYTE radio in Portland, I met Hatfield when he came in to tape an announcement promoting the Oregon Symphony. Around the same year, I also got to hear him speak at a men’s breakfast at our church in Beaverton. On both occasions I was convinced the Senator was on a different intellectual level than the rest of us.
Hatfield stood by his beliefs yet could still maintain close friendships with those he disagreed with. I remember his strong opposition to the Reagan military buildup yet his ability to leave the Senate floor and go have dinner with his friends Ron and Nancy.
If only more people in public life could be able to do that. Clearly Mark Hatfield shaped Oregon, cared for Oregon, and impacted Oregon more than just about anyone in my lifetime.