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Welcome To My West Coast, Mr. President

     It's always exciting to hear the President is coming to town.  President Obama will be in Hillsboro tomorrow as part of his journey to highlight all things educational, scientific and green/techie.  I will do my best to make the sun come out for him.  Help me out here, everyone.  Of course, we loyally proclaim our fondness for the rain, but really ... our little patch of the valley looks SO nice in the sunshine.

     I love thinking of the President at Intel, where so many of our members spend their days.  If you see him, say hello for me.

     Before arriving in town tomorrow (Friday), today the President is in my former stomping grounds, the San Francisco Bay Area.  Before  moving to Oregon almost twenty years ago, I lived in Berkeley, Oakland, San Carlos and Belmont.  It's too bad Mr. Obama won't make it up to Seattle after he visits us in Oregon.  If he did that, he could experience the entire West Coast expanse of my personal geographical history.  (The great thing about Seattle, where I grew up?  It makes Oregon seem oh so sunny.)

     You might have noticed that another fond personal locale is in the news this week, too.  Thousands have protested against state budget cuts and in favor of public employee union rights in Madison, Wisconsin, where Tom grew up and where we both went to college.  They filled the Capital Square where  my summertime memories include farmer markets, outdoor concerts, and the annual art fair.  I was also present on the same ground in my college days as political leaders came through town.  We gathered for rallies and sometimes made public statements about American foreign policy.

     The thousands of people gathered on the Capitol Square today are not there for the sake of leisure, but rather for the sake of livelihoods, public services, and the right to organize as labor unions.  At one time Joanna worked in the capital, and her husband, George, still does.  Madison's drama may not reach the magnitude of Cairo's recent public demonstrations (see my sermon from last Sunday for my comments about that) but Tom and I are fixated on our old home town this week, and its vital connections to people that we love.

     Rev. Diane Dulin

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