U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, who will visit SOU for Friday's town hall meeting

U.S. senator to visit SOU for town hall meeting

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon will be on the Southern Oregon University campus on Friday for what promises to be a wide-ranging town hall meeting as he seeks input on “what we need to do to strengthen our state and our nation.”

The SOU event, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Stevenson Union’s Rogue River Room, is part of Merkley’s ongoing town hall tour of Oregon’s 36 counties. SOU students and employees are encouraged to attend Friday’s meeting, which is apparently the first SOU visit by a U.S. senator since October 2015 – when both Merkley and Sen. Ron Wyden came to the SOU campus to discuss student debt.

Merkley’s staff said he would have preferred to visit when school is in session, but the upcoming impeachment trial and other senate business in Washington, D.C., have limited his Oregon schedule. His Friday event was scheduled by Merkley’s staff, rather than by any group at the university.

All southern Oregon residents are invited to attend the town hall meeting. Free parking is available in SOU’s Mountain Street parking lot.

More information about Merkley’s town hall schedule and issues he is currently addressing is available on his website.

Merkley was the first in his family to attend college, earning his bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University and his master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University. He worked as a national security analyst before returning to Oregon to serve as executive director of the Habitat for Humanity office in Portland.

He was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1998, became speaker of the house in 2007 and then was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008. He was reelected in 2014 and is running for reelection to a third term in 2020.