Biography of Earl

Rep. Earl Blumenauer holding a bicycleA lifelong resident of Portland, Oregon, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) has devoted his entire career to public service.

While still a student at Lewis and Clark College, he spearheaded the effort to lower the voting age both in Oregon and at the national level. He was elected to the Oregon Legislature in 1972, where he served three terms and Chaired the House Education and Revenue Committee in 1977-78. In 1978, he was elected to the Multnomah County Commission, where he served for eight years before being elected to the Portland City Council in 1986. There, his 10-year tenure as the Commissioner of Public Works demonstrated his leadership on the innovative accomplishments in transportation, planning, environmental programs and public participation that have helped Portland earn an international reputation as one of America’s most livable cities.

Elected to the US House of Representatives in 1996, Mr. Blumenauer has created a unique role as Congress’ chief spokesperson for Livable Communities: places where people are safe, healthy and economically secure.  From 1996 to 2007, he served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he was a strong advocate for federal policies that address transportation alternatives, provide housing choices, support sustainable economies and improve the environment. He was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee from 2001 to 2007, and vice-chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming from 2007 to 2010.  He is currently a member of the Ways and Means Committee and the subcommittees on Health, Social Security and Trade.

These committee assignments give Mr. Blumenauer a unique platform from which to initiate and further legislation that addresses and mitigates the effects of global warming. His priorities also include healthcare reform, honest trade, financing critical infrastructure, building livable communities in a global economy, and ensuring economic security for working families.

A leading environmental advocate both in Oregon and Congress, Congressman Blumenauer has authored and co-sponsored legislation to preserve and protect public lands, shift the nation’s energy policy towards renewable energy and energy efficiency, curb global warming, clean our nation’s water bodies, and many others.  His legislative accomplishments include specific bills as well as numerous provisions that have been incorporated into larger pieces of legislation:

  • The Little Sandy Protection Act (2001) enhances and protects the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit, the source of drinking water for the Portland metropolitan area.
  • Bunning-Bereuter-Blumenauer Flood Insurance Reform Act (2004), discourages federal investment in the redevelopment of repetitively flooded areas;
  • Water for the Poor Act (2005) makes affordable and equitable access to safe water and sanitation a priority for US foreign policy in developing nations;
  • Conserve by Bicycle Program (an amendment to the 2005 Energy Bill) creates a pilot program and a national educational effort on the energy conservation benefits of converting trips from cars to bikes.
  • Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007 establishes felony-level jail time for violators of the Federal Animal Fighting Law.
    The Responsibility to Iraqi Refugees Act (incorporated into the Defense Authorization Act of 2007) helps Iraqis who have assisted US soldiers gain refugee status to enter the US.  
  • The Decoupling of Natural Gas Rate Structures Amendment (incorporated into the 2007 Energy Bill) promotes energy efficiency and conservation by aligning the interests of state regulators, natural gas utilities, their customers, and their stakeholders.
  • An amendment that requires the Army Corps of Engineers to update their Principles and Guidelines was included in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) in 2007.
  • The Higher Education Sustainability Act, which authorizes a $50 million competitive grant program to universities and institutions of higher education to develop, implement and evaluate sustainability curriculums, practices and academic programs, was incorporated as an amendment to Title VII of the Higher Education Act of 2007.
  • Legal Timber Protection Act, to ban the import, export or sale of timber illegally sold in violation of a foreign or domestic law or international environmental treaty, was included in the 2007 Farm Bill.
  • Bicycle Commuter Act, which amends the IRS code to include "bicycles" in the definition of transportation covered by fringe benefits, was incorporated into the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
  • A Carbon Audit of the United States Tax Code, which instructs the National Academy of Sciences to review of the tax code to identify tax provisions and policies that have the greatest influence on the generation of carbon emissions, was incorporated into the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
  • Small Wind Turbine Tax Credit, which offers a 30% tax credit for homeowners, farmers, and businesses that install small scale wind turbines, was incorporated into the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
  • A provision that subsidizes qualified VA mortgages through Qualified Veterans’ Mortgage Bonds was incorporated into the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008, H.R. 6081.
  • The Captive Primates Safety Act, H.R. 80, designates nonhuman primates as prohibited wildlife species under the 1980 Lacey Act. (2009)
  • The Omnibus Public Lands Bill (2009) included an additional 128,000 acres of the Mt. Hood National Forest as Wilderness and added nearly 80 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Congressman Blumenauer founded and co-chaired the Livable Communities Task Force, the Bicycle Caucus, the Army Corps Reform Caucus, the Green Scissors Caucus, and the Public Broadcasting Caucus. He is also a co-chair of the Passenger Rail Caucus and the Trails Caucus, and a member of the Open Spaces and Land Trust Caucus..  

Since 1996, he has traveled to more than 200 communities across the country, working with local governments, citizens, and civic organizations to strengthen local efforts that manage growth, provide transportation options, and foster sustainable economic growth.

Mr. Blumenauer has been recognized for his congressional work through numerous awards and distinctions, including:

  • American Planning Association Legislator of the Year (1999);
  • Apgar Award from the National Building Museum (2000);
  • Community Health Super Hero Award from the National Association of Community Health Centers (2002);
  • National Distinguished Service Award from the American Public Transit Association (2004);
  • Public Radio Leadership Award from National Public Radio (2005);
  • One of “The Top 25 Change Agents in Bicycling History,” from the League of American Bicyclists (2005);
  • Global Sustainability Award from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (2005); and
  • Public Official’s Award from the Water Environment Federation (2006).
  • Honorary Memberships from the Amalgamated Transit Union (2002); the American Society of Landscape Architects (2004), the American Institute of Architects (2008), and the American Society of Consulting Engineers (2008).
  • Honored Citizen from the Architectural Foundation of Oregon (2007).
  • Humane Legislator of the Year, from the American Humane Society (2008).