Monday, May 05, 2008

Another Shameless Novick Plug

I have much work to do so I'm not going to write much. Although I have provided a link to the Oregonian article about Steve here is much of the text. Enjoy (and vote Novick!)

Novick no stranger to beating long odds

The political insider, a onetime Justice Department star, transforms himself into a credible U.S. Senate candidate
Friday, May 02, 2008
The Oregonian

By his early 20s, Novick had overcome so much in the eyes of those around him that they had trouble believing that he could fall prey to the normal doubts and uncertainties of life. Literally from the time he was born -- when his mother says a doctor saw his deformed feet and tried to strangle him in the birth canal -- he had been overcoming a deck stacked against him, often in spectacular fashion.

Now, at 45, Novick continues to challenge the odds. He has turned himself from a political insider virtually unknown to the general public into a credible first-time candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, one who just might beat the pick of the party's establishment, House Speaker Jeff Merkley, to face Republican incumbent Gordon Smith.

Unconventional childhood

Novick's upbringing was far from conventional. His mother was forced to drop out of college when she became pregnant with him at 18. She briefly married his biological father, but the marriage soon ended. Rebecca Novick Harmon says she later learned that her doctor had tried to prevent her son's birth, and she described a series of challenges in his early years.

[ ... ]

His mother taught at a Head Start center in San Francisco, and her son was the only white kid in the class. Within a couple of weeks, by sheer force of personality, he had turned bullies into friends. Whether it was hanging laundry or playing pickup softball, he always wanted to be part of the action.

"I just sort of did what I could do," Steve Novick says. "It's not like I remember that I had all these obstacles to overcome."

Superfund expert

Novick, whom colleagues called the "king of costs," became one of the lead government attorneys in legal action stemming from the notorious Love Canal chemical pollution disaster in New York state.

By the fall of 1995, Novick and other Justice Department attorneys were locked in intense negotiations with the Occidental Chemical Corp. over how much the company would pay.

Steve Yablonski, Occidental's lead attorney in the final negotiations, described Novick as one of the few people who could have successfully reached a deal that called for the company to pay $129 million in damages. "He is just several notches above most people," Yablonski says. "He is a really bright guy, and yet he is not an egghead who can't function with most people."

Back in Oregon

As the caucus administrator for Oregon Senate Democrats in 1997, Novick always looked for a catchy issue to tweak the Republicans then in the majority.

"He would whisper something in my ear about the corporate tax rate or the kicker," recalls Portland Commissioner Randy Leonard, then a state senator, "and before you know it he and I would sitting down and I would be writing out some remarks that I would take to the floor and would just outrage the Republicans. . . . I essentially became a mouthpiece for Steve."

Money not a priority

Novick rarely made as much as he had as a lawyer at the Justice Department, but that didn't seem to bother him. His girlfriend, Julia Bunnell, an Environmental Protection Agency official in Washington, explains: "There is so much going on in his mind all the time, he's always reading, learning and talking and getting information, I'm not sure he has the time to think about" acquiring things.

Read the entire story at


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