Jason Atkinson Hitting “Pause” on His Political Career

A great article from Oregon Live on contributing RP Jason Atkinson, and his decision to take a hiatus from politics:

Wearing rubber boots and faded jeans, Jason Atkinson shows off a bridge he built based on a Leonardo da Vinci drawing. Then there’s the horse he’s caring for that’s blind in one eye, a chicken he trained to sit and be petted, an extensive collection of racing bicycles and a YouTube video he made about fly-fishing on the Owyhee River.

And that’s just the first 15 minutes. He’s a classic never-sit-still Type A, with a cell phone that rarely quits beeping and a dozen jobs on the to-do list at his farm in the hills of southern Oregon.

For all that, Atkinson is about to “push the pause button,” as he puts it, on perhaps the most defining part of his life. After 14 years in the Oregon Legislature, including a run for governor in 2006, Atkinson is stepping out of politics and into an unpredictable future.

“I wasn’t at peace,” he says about his decision not to run for re-election this year. Under growing financial pressure at home, he also endured attacks from his own caucus for siding with the environmental lobby and became increasingly unhappy with his own party’s gamesmanship. It was time, he says, to take a break and, like thousands of other Oregonians, look for a better-paying job.

Under different circumstances, Atkinson, 42, would be entering the prime of his political career — an experienced, tested campaigner whose increasingly centrist views offer the kind of statewide appeal Republicans need to win. The fact that he’s heading for the exit ramp speaks volumes about not only his experience in Salem but also about the state of the party he says all but ostracized him.

Click here to read the full piece.

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