05-20-2018  2:37 pm      •     
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Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

University of Oregon sorry for statement on student death

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The University of Oregon has apologized for a statement it put out after a student was found dead during a trip to Shasta Lake in Northern California.The 21-year-old student, identified as business administration major Dylan Pietrs, was found dead at a boat-in campground...

US Marshals, police arrest Vermont fugitive in Oregon

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The U.S. Marshals Service says a missing sex offender from Vermont has been arrested in Oregon.The Marshals say 55-year-old James Rivers was arrested May 16 in Cottage Grove, Oregon, by deputy marshals and local police. It's unclear if he has an attorney.Authorities...

Responders searching for missing vessel find oil sheen

OCEAN PARK, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard says crews searching for a missing vessel in Willapa Bay have found an oil sheen and debris where they believe the 43-foot boat went down.Authorities say the wife of a man who took the fishing boat Kelli J out reported him overdue on Saturday....

Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle.They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even smacked the cougar with his bike, and...


Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...


Principal apologizes for 'insensitive' prom tickets language

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — The principal of a New Jersey high school has apologized for what he called "insensitive" language on tickets for the upcoming senior prom.The Courier Post reported the Cherry Hill High School East senior prom tickets urged students to "party like it's 1776" during...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

Northern states taking down vestiges of racism, intolerance

DETROIT (AP) — A nearly 80-year-old statue depicting a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American that some say celebrates white supremacy has been dismantled by crews in southwestern Michigan's Kalamazoo.And at the University of Michigan, regents have voted...


'13 Reasons Why' premiere canceled after Texas shooting

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Netflix canceled the premiere party for its second season of the teen drama "13 Reasons Why" because of a school shooting near Houston.The streaming service announced the cancellation hours before the scheduled premiere and red carpet event, citing the Friday morning...

'Shoplifters' wins Palme d'Or, grand prize to Spike Lee

A tumultuous Cannes Film Festival concluded Saturday with the Palme d'Or awarded to Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda's "Shoplifters," a tender portrait of a poor, impoverished family, while Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argento vowed justice will come to all sexual predators.At the closing...

'Jurassic Park' dinosaur expert's next big thing: holograms

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Forget the gray, green and brown dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" movies. Paleontologist Jack Horner wants to transport people back in time to see a feathered Tyrannosaurus rex colored bright red and a blue triceratops with red fringe similar to a rooster's comb.Horner,...


Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion...

Iraq's al-Sadr, promising reform, is constrained by Iran

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's Muqtada al-Sadr, the maverick Shiite cleric whose political coalition beat out Iran's...

Northern states taking down vestiges of racism, intolerance

DETROIT (AP) — A nearly 80-year-old statue depicting a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering...

Iraq's al-Sadr says next government will be 'inclusive'

BAGHDAD (AP) — Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose coalition won the largest number of seats in Iraq's...

Cubans mourn plane crash dead, officials ID 20 bodies

HAVANA (AP) — At morgues and in church services, tearful Cubans on Sunday mourned loved ones who died in...

Pope Francis to invest 14 new cardinals in June

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday revealed his latest picks to be cardinals in the Catholic...

US Sen. Patty Murray
Laurie Kellman, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — There's a disturbance in the force of the tradition-bound Senate and her name is Patty Murray.

The Washington state Democrat, once famously dubbed "just a mom in tennis shoes," is the reason behind an uncomfortable power standoff between two men who intend to lead the Democrats after Minority Leader Harry Reid retires. Murray, her quiet style and her clout amassed over 22 years in the Senate, poses a challenge to the way things work in Washington. She's poised to be the first woman in the Senate's top-tier leadership. And she's outgrown her image as the ultimate underdog, if not the mom in storied footwear.

Murray pats a ceramic Nike sneaker decorating an end table in her Capitol Hill office.

"It's who I am," Murray, 64, says of the intended insult from a state representative that she turned into a campaign theme.

In fact, Murray, a grandmother aiming for a fifth Senate term next year, has amassed enough power in the male-dominated Senate to be the Democrat to whom Reid turned for tasks nobody else wanted, as well as the chamber's prickliest policy fights.

Just last week, Murray was the chief Democratic negotiator on a bill to crack down on human trafficking that had been stalled for weeks over abortion. It ultimately passed, paving the way for the confirmation of Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Murray twice chaired her party's campaign committee, the widely unloved job of raising and strategically spending campaign cash to keep and add Democratic-held seats. As the senior Democrat on the Senate Health and Education committee, she helped muscle to the full Senate a rewrite of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act, which could face a vote this summer.

Importantly, Murray's been Reid's go-to lieutenant on budget negotiations in recent years. There's considerable demand for a new effort to ease automatic budget cuts to the Pentagon and other agencies.

"She combines a kind of low-key understated Northwest touch...without the kind of in-your-face, unpleasant approach," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. "I think that's really the coin of the realm here in Congress."

It's a prominent enough portfolio to give any self-promoting senator a national profile — and often, presidential ambitions. Not so, Murray. The petite, blonde-bobbed senator is not interested, or perhaps, comfortable in Washington's social circuit. She rarely appears on the Sunday talk shows and doesn't gravitate toward cameras. Murray is nearly all-substance, a very still and intense presence on the floor of the Senate amid gesticulating, extroverted colleagues.

And yet, she's a political force to be reckoned with, as Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin knows. He has been the Senate's second-most-powerful Democrat, its vote-counting whip, for a decade. When Reid announced his retirement, Durbin quickly found out that Murray could become a threat to his prospects of continuing in the job after 2016. Reid's agreed-upon successor, Sen. Chuck Schumer, the outspoken New York Democrat, has not endorsed either senator for the post.

Filling the vacuum has been speculation about Schumer's preference, Murray's ambitions and Durbin's level of support, an uncomfortable state of affairs for a caucus accustomed to drama-free transitions of power. Murray has refused to comment, saying she is focused on her job and on her re-election campaign next year. Durbin, on the other hand, quickly claimed support from more than enough Democrats to win back his job in 2016. But it's clear that the race, if one exists, isn't over.

"Oh no, this (leadership) election is 20 months away," Durbin said in a telephone interview on Friday, in which he called Murray "an incredibly effective legislator."

"People are thinking about the possibilities, I understand that," he added. "I am hopeful that everything works out for both of us."

Rick Desimone, Murray's former chief of staff and now a political consultant, said Murray's refusal to comment on that, or any other matter should not be taken as meekness.

"That's an underappreciated trait of hers: Sometimes she is seriously competitive," Desimone said. "She wears that a little bit differently than other people in Washington, D.C."

For her part, Murray declines several invitations to share her thoughts on the leadership race. Instead, she says she's focused on her constituents and to the policy tasks at hand, describing a relentless cycle of keeping both East and West Coast hours, flying home every weekend to her family and taking long walks with her husband, Rob — and back to the nation's capital.

"Look, my watch is on Washington state time," she says, pushing up a navy blue jacket sleeve. "I never change it."

The home-state loyalty is something she has in common with Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, whose family remains in Wisconsin, and with whom Murray negotiated a 2013 deal to fix automatic budget cuts that were rocking the Pentagon and domestic agencies. Over the phone and in Murray's office steps from the Capitol's Rotunda, they each made significant concessions in talks that both tout as a point of pride. Murray suggested that, for her, the larger goal was proving that Congress could work in an era of unprecedented polarization.

"She's very tough in defense of her policy and principles. But she's nice about it," and that distinguishes Murray from many of Congress' ideologues, Ryan said in a telephone interview. "We trash talk each other on football all the time, and she does it in good jest."


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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