In 1974, at the age of thirty-two, Les AuCoin became the first Democrat to win a U.S. House seat in Oregon’s First District. He was one of the post-Watergate reformers who shook up an insular, autocratic Congress and led fights for affordable housing, “trickle-up” economics, wilderness protection, abortion rights, and nuclear arms control. In the 1980s, the Oregonian called him “the most powerful congressman in Oregon.” Then came a painful defeat in one of the most controversial races in U.S. Senate history, against incumbent Bob Packwood. A fly fisher, AuCoin uses “catch and release” as a metaphor for succeeding and letting go of loss with dignity and equanimity. Catch and Release offers readers a revealing glimpse behind the scenes of congressional life, as lived by the 535 souls who inhabit the U.S. House and Senate—including the author, who assesses his own strengths and foibles with humility and candor.
Les AuCoin represented Oregon in the U.S. House for 18 years until 1992, when he gave up his seat to run for the Senate. He is an award-winning magazine editor and public radio commentator, and his articles have appeared in major newspapers throughout the country. He lives with his wife, Sue, in Portland, Oregon.
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By Richard W. Etulain, The Oregonian/OregonLive. In his lively memoir, former U.S. Rep. Les AuCoin details the major events that illuminated his 22-year career as an Oregon legislator and member of Congress. AuCoin's inviting book, "Catch and Release: An Oregon Life in Politics," (Oregon State University Press, 258 pages, $24.95), quickly summarizes his early years and devotes most of its pages to his legislative life.
By Steve Duin, The Oregonian/OregonLive. Late in his Congressional career, Les AuCoin sent me a very personal note. He was annoyed with a column. I was welcome to my opinion, AuCoin penned with a flourish, but I was full of s---. As marvelous as those words looked on official House stationary, they still don’t play in the Sunday paper. AuCoin has written a book – “Catch and Release: An Oregon Life in Politics” – because he didn’t want press clippings, even mine, to be the final draft of his history.