This weekend I headed to the Resort at the Mountain in Welches, Oregon for Dorchester Conference, the oldest annual political conference in the country. This is my second time attending. Last year’s Dorchester was held in Salem when my good friend, Mark Fitz, Army veteran and small business owner invited me. Mark came through an introduction during my first run for public office. We first met for breakfast in downtown Portland last year and our discussion felt like a wind tunnel of information, pollination of ideas. If you know Mark, you’ll know he’ll always rope you in to get you plugged in. Mark currently serves on the board of directors.
For Dorchester starters, where else do you attend a conference that is both intimate (small) and allows you to build a relationship with key influencers, public officials, podcasters, authors, and activists from across the state and meet each other on a personal level? Folks like Jeff Reynolds, author of “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy”, James Ball, chief podcaster of The Rationale Republican, and Jason Dudash, Oregon outreach coordinator of Freedom Foundation.
Dorchester is unlike any political conference. It’s a single strand conference where speaker, panel, speaker and panel after another allows almost all of us to learn the same material. The intermittent polls on important issues facing all Oregonians provides us a snapshot in time on where attendees stand. The one from this morning was regarding whether or not a 16 year old should be allowed to vote.
This morning’s opening keynote and the one I was most excited about hearing from former candidate for Douglas County Commissioner and Army veteran, Alek Skarlatos. Skarlatos is most famous for helping stop a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train. This Army Times article goes into more depth.
If you’re on Facebook, here’s some conversations re Dorchester Conference. Give them a like. If you’re here at the Resort, say hello. If not, looking forward to seeing you at next year’s. And, of course I’ll be posting photos on my Instagram stories throughout the weekend.