Senator Jason Atkinson: One year after being shot

State Senator Jason Atkinson

Dear Friends,

A year ago today, a gunshot took me within 90 seconds of bleeding to death. Today, my leg is in constant pain but I am reminded of how close I was to having it removed. What have I learned? I’ve learned to be in a constant state of gratitude. To never again allow fear to be in my thinking. To live each day to its fullest. And perhaps most importantly, never to allow opportunities to slip through my fingers.
I’m going to visit the intensive care nurses today, angels really, who served me for weeks of uncertainty. I’ll say thank you again to the doctors and say hello to Father Clifford. I’m taking Stephanie to a nice dinner. I’ll hug my son Perry just that much longer after he practices riding a “two wheeler”.

Right next to my desk at home is a box of cards people sent me from all over Oregon. I’ll re-read them. Many of my close friends in politics, people on both sides of the isle whose support meant a lot, I’ll find today.

We all have much to be thankful for and you don’t need to nearly die to recognize it. We live in Oregon. We have families and friends. We have our dreams. We are doers, not talkers.

Some of the people I admire the most went through life changing events that made them better. The two best American cyclists of all time, one who was nearly killed by a gunshot accident and another who had cancer, both came back to win the Tour de France. My favorite American political leader lost his wife and his mother within 24 hours and he spent the next two years in the bad lands of South Dakota trying to put back the pieces only later to become President. And then there is Gene Covic. A man who lost both his legs when a tractor fell on him, and yet he finds time to volunteer at the hospital in Medford. He called me when there were thoughts I’d never walk again to tell me I would get out of my wheelchair. The difference in people like this and so many others? It’s how they responded.

There is a good chance I will live in constant pain, walk with a limp, and have problems related to my leg the rest of my life. I’ll confess, I get frustrated in therapy and in riding my bike, but bitterness has not entered in. I don’t have a good explanation other than this: I’ve seen a lot of bad in the world and I recognize how fortunate I am to still be alive.

I’ve learned during the last year of therapy, serving in the Senate, and keeping my family healthy, that rebuilding the momentum of my business and political pursuits has had nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with how I respond, how I take time, and how I give it away.

There are many good things coming. Like you, I have big plans, big passions, and things I will accomplish. Today though, I encourage you not to think of my story, but to take a few minutes and be grateful. Live today like today fully, like every moment counts, as if it could be your last.

All Best,
State Senator Jason Atkinson

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Posted by at 10:30 | Posted in Measure 37 | 10 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    Thanks for your positive message. Please run for governor as a true Reagan conservation. Don’t cave in or pander. That is how you will win.
    Thanks again and God Bless.

  • JimRay

    I am glad you are alive and well enough to be thankful despite your pain. I am truly sorry for your pain.

    Having said that, please do not even consider running for Governor.

    Appreciate life, spend it with your family. You are a good man that I cannot (friends will not) support politically because of your prior missteps and your lack of personality and quick temper.

    A “Reagan Conservative”? I do not think so.

    • Anonymous

      Go to hell, Moby.

      • Anonymous

        Bite me, Miles.

      • Randy Lawrentz

        Jason. I didn’t even know til this very day you were shot!! Who did this? I’m praying to the God of the Bible for your strength to carry on. You are brave against these people who have tantrums and demand attention that they ALWAYS got (or didn’t) when they were children. I’ve witnessed this in many mental health settings. They don’t stop!! I’m with you! Randy Lawrentz.

  • Anonymous

    You got my vote. And I hope that after you cinch the nomination, the haters like JimRay rally around you instead of sitting out or going third party – better a man like Jason (a good man who is 95% what we need when no one is perfect) than letting yet another liberal democrat win!

  • Anonymous

    Jason Atkinson:

    Cut income taxes

    Cut corporate taxes

    Abolish capital gains taxes

    Cut government spending

    Reduce and eliminate bureaucracy and needless regulation

    Pro gun (still!)

    Pro life (always!)

    Pro traditional marriage

    Supports logging

    Wants to build more roads

    Crack down on meth

    Crack down on benefits for illegals

    Anti amnesty

    Supports voters right to ballot initiative

    Supports strong military

    Supports business and trade

    Supports allies in Iraq

    Devout Christian

    Scandal-free family man

    Supports common-sense environmental policies that do not hurt business

    Supports energy independence

    So… what is not to like? Why is so hard for some to call him a “Reagan conservative”?

    Why the hate?

    Tell us, oh Lars-bots, who you gonna support instead?

    Kevin Mannix again?

    Ron Saxton again?

    Jack Roberts again?

    Allen Alley? (talk about no personality – and no experience in government)

    Mary Starrett?

    Maybe we could get Alan Keyes to move here for you?

    And before you say Greg Walden, he ain’t running.

    And before you say Gordon Smith, would someone looking for a “real” Reagan conservative HONESTLY support Gordon Smith for dog catcher, let alone governor?

    Atkinson is our best man.

    Jason has the potential to be a great governor and could very well go on to national prominence in the years to come – remember, he isn’t even 40 yet. I think that scares some people – mostly liberals, but some establishment elite republicans too (Bob Packwood/Gordon Smith types). Consequently, there is an effort from both the left and from some Republicans to break him down.

    Well, the GOP elite thought Reagan was a bad candidate, too, so I guess that is one more reason to think Jason Atkinson REALLY IS the Reagan conservative.

  • Jerry

    Nicely said Anon. Reagan remains one of the greatest presidents of all time. Head and shoulders above the likes of who we have now and when we had Carter and Clinton and others.
    That explains the hate – everyone knows that Reagan was good. That bothers them.
    How sad.
    How very sad.

  • Omen

    20-20 hindsight bodes if Mannix had the opportunity to govern after the Kitzhaber brain wreck, Oregon would look much better than it does now.

    Moreover, with Atkinson as SOS in lieu of Bradbury-the-Maleficent, the excitement factor would have dispersed much of the innate incitement factor to boot.

    Ah, wail, “if wishes were horses” – then, there’s a vulgar variation stepping in with: “Wish in one hand and ***t in the other and see which one fills up quicker” – translation, it’ll take a heap of undoing what the Dem Animal Farm PAC stock has produced.

    So, is JA a General Patton or a Donkey Quixote the Dem left blingers can easily corral?

    Conservatively speaking, JA will need more than coalition of Hatfield and McCall legionnaires to mount a successful Teddy Roosevelt task force against Dem Smurf Kool-Aid entrenchments bent on keeping it “the way it is.”

    Thereto, Godspeed bringing Oregon’s GOP and right minded Dems to action, Jason.

  • anonymous

    Jason Atkinson:

    Cut income taxes: *leading to higher deficits*

    Cut corporate taxes: *leading to higher deficits*

    Abolish capital gains taxes: *higher deficits still*

    Cut government spending: *On what? Prisons? Education? Health care?*

    Reduce and eliminate bureaucracy and needless regulation: What about *needed* regulation?

    Pro gun (still!): *I think he had better stay clear of that one given his curcumstances*

    Pro life (always!): *Meaning anti-abortion rights. Good luck with that one in Oregon*

    Pro traditional marriage: *Like those of Senator Vitter, Senator Craig, Governor Sanford, and Senator Ensign*

    Supports logging: *OK Me too. But logging of what? Every last old growth tree? Half of them?*

    Wants to build more roads: *Reconcile this with wanting to cut taxes*

    Crack down on meth: *More government. Why shouldn’t people be free to fry their brains out if this is what they want to do?*

    Crack down on benefits for illegals: *More government?*

    Anti amnesty: *This is a federal, not state issue. State’s can’t grant greencards*

    Supports voters right to ballot initiative: &With no restrictions at all?*

    Supports strong military: *So he wants to increase spending on our national gueard while cutting everyone’s taxes? Hello. Reality check*

    Supports business and trade: *Oh boy. So does Kulongowski*

    Supports allies in Iraq: *What allies? The Iraqis are presently restricting the rights of the US military to patrol and defend ourselves. Time to declare vistory and bring the boys and girls home*

    Devout Christian: *So what? Are we electing a pastor or a secular government leader?*

    Scandal-free family man: *So is Obama. Are you for him?*

    Supports common-sense environmental policies that do not hurt business: *Well who isn’t for common sense. Tell us what those policies are. Which environmental protection policies does he want to repeal?*

    Supports energy independence: *In Oregon, that means supporting wind, solar, waves, tides, and geothermal, because we don’t have other sources. THis makes him Kulongowski*

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