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Neil Goldschmidt

circa 1980 as Secretary of Transportation
Personal data
Date of birthJune 16, 1940(age 76)
Place of birthEugene, Oregon
NationalityUnited States
Political partyDemocrat
SpouseMargaret Wood Goldschmidt (1965-1990)
Diana Snowden Goldschmidt (1994-current)
ChildrenJoshua Goldschmidt
Rebecca Goldschmidt
ResidenceSW Portland, Oregon; and France
Alma materUniversity of Oregon (B.A.)
U.C. Berkeley Law School (LL.B.)
Professionlawyer, politician
41st Mayor of Portland, Oregon
In office1973 - 1979
Succeeded byConnie McCready
Preceded byTerry Schrunk
6th United States Secretary of Transportation
In officeAugust 15, 1979 - January 20, 1981
PresidentJimmy Carter
Succeeded byAndrew L. Lewis, Jr.
Preceded byBrock Adams
33rd Governor of Oregon
In officeJanuary 12, 1987 - January 14, 1991
Succeeded byBarbara Roberts
Preceded byVictor G. Atiyeh

     Home | Office Holder | Neil Goldschmidt

Neil Edward Goldschmidt (born June 16, 1940) is an American businessman and former Democratic politician from Oregon who held local, state, and federal offices over three decades. After serving as the governor of Oregon, Goldschmidt is widely considered the most influential figure in the state's politics, both as an elected public official and as a lobbyist and policy consultant. His legacy and career were severely damaged by revelations that he had a sexual relationship with a minor during his first term as Mayor of Portland.

Goldschmidt was elected to the Portland City Council in 1970, and then as mayor of Portland in 1972, becoming the youngest mayor of any major American city. He promoted the revitalization of Downtown Portland, and was influential on Portland-area transportation policy, particularly with the abandonment of the Mount Hood Freeway and the establishment of the MAX Light Rail. He was appointed U.S. Secretary of Transportation by President Jimmy Carter in 1979; where he worked to revive the ailing automobile industry, and to deregulate several industries. He served until the end of Carter's presidency in 1980, and then served as a senior executive with Nike for several years.

He was elected the 33rd governor of Oregon in 1986, serving a single term. He faced significant challenges, particularly a rising anti-tax movement (leading to 1990's Measure 5) and a doubling of the state's prison population. He worked across party lines to reduce regulation and to repair the state's infrastructure. During his term, Oregon emerged from nearly eight years of recession. His reforms to the State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF), a state-chartered worker's compensation insurance company were heralded at the time, but drew strong criticism in later years.

Despite his popularity, Goldschmidt left office after only one term, becoming an influential and controversial lobbyist. Over the next dozen years or so, he was criticized by editorial boards and Oregonians for several of the causes he supported, including backing the forestry corporation, Weyerhaeuser in its hostile takeover of Oregon's Willamette Industries and his advocacy for a private investment firm in its attempt to take over Portland General Electric, a local utility company. In 2003, governor Ted Kulongoski appointed him to the Oregon Board of Higher Education, a position he resigned after admitting he had a sexual relationship with a minor girl 30 years earlier.

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