By Kirby Neumann-Rea • Of the News-Register • 

Nicholas Kristof exploring run for Oregon governor

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Tightrope pointed out a fascinating aspect of life in Yamhill County that has nothing to do with the authors' assertions.

For decades, there have been families that are absolute train wrecks. If one person out of eight in a household makes it out relatively sane, not addicted to drugs and has the possibility of a normal life, it is a miracle. In Tightrope, Kristoff points out that a huge percentage of the kids on his school bus were blow-outs. Dead, addicted, incarcerated, whatever. He tries to take that micro-environment and paint Yamhill of the 70's in a broad brush. That isn't accurate. Because there were families full of troubled souls, there is a very high chance that one of the buses would happen to be the one that transported all the kids from those families to school.

Kristof was unlucky with his bus assignment. Yamhill wasn't in trouble, isn't in trouble and isn't an example "this is what is wrong in America".

If he runs for governor, people who were in Yamhill during the 60's and 70's are bound to point out the inaccuracies of his claims.

And he isn't even the smartest kid to graduate from Yamhill Carlton High School. True, he did test at 1600 on the SAT and go to Harvard. However, there was a girl (from one of those trainwreck familes way up Panther Creek Road) who achieved a real perfect 1600 score on the SAT. At the time, you could miss three questions on the test and get a 1600. This brilliant girl (can't remember her name and I hope someone who does chimes in) missed three (that were bad questions) wrote a letter as to what was wrong with the questions their answer choices and received a special recognition from the testing board. Harvard found out about her too, came to Yamhill, dragged her out of the dirt and structured a special science/math degree in a way that would work for such a person.

I hope Kristof runs because I want him to actually defend his positions during debate.


Oregonian, No where in his book did state all Yamhill families where trainwrecks. I think statistics do show that rural families are dropping into the poverty level at a dramatic rate due to low wages and manufacturing jobs leaving. Yamhill and Carlton in particular with the loss of family wage jobs in the timber industry. I think he highlights a trend in America that's undeniable and it's been happening for decades. I also think he's done enough homework to defend his position with statistics....just a hunch.


Statistics do not show that lower and middle class families in America are in decline. They show they are increasing their standard of living, albeit at a much slower rate than the higher income/net worth segment. There is surely a widening gap, but it is false to state the lower groups are in decline.

Kristof has taken political positions and found stats that support those positions. However, he must defend his assertions. It appears he is reluctant to agree to interviews until he decides if he has a shot at winning the race for governor. It would be more courageous for him to jump into the mix full throttle from the beginning instead of waiting to see if it is worth getting messy.

Joel R

I'm a conservative republican so I don't agree with Mr Kristof on much. That said, he seems like a good solid guy who would do an honorable job as governor. I just wish his parents would've had a bunch of conservative books lying around the house during all that time he spent growin' up in the woods outside of Carlton. :)