If you don’t know Mike Schmidt, it’s worth pointing out that whatever assumptions that you might have about his former career as a “chamber guy” are probably off the mark. In fact it’s probably more telling that Schmidt is no longer with the Bend Chamber than the fact that he was –since he’s spent a good deal of his post-Bend Chamber career working on behalf of causes that the chamber has either actively opposed (a local business tax) or at least remained totally ambivalent about (Bend Transit and disabled access). It’s clear that Schmidt who came from a chamber background in northern California never really fit the Bend Old Guard Chamber mold, but he’s managed to find a second career as a site selection and public relations consultant with his firm Second Opinion and Associates. And he’s also managed to remain politically and civically engaged in the community. His Martin Luther King day announcement that he is running for Bend City Council ups the ante.
Expect Schmidt to run a broad based campaign that gets support from local Dems and progressive of all stripes. While the election is still eight months out, Schmidt and others appear to be gearing up for an all out campaign to wrest control of city hall from the COBA-PAC inspired elements of the current council. Councilor Jodie Barram recently announced that she would also seek re-election. Also announced for the November slate is Downtown Bend Association ED Chuck Arnold who writes an occasional music column for the Source and once owned an independent record store. Arnold will be running for the same spot as Schmidt, a seat that is currently occupied by former mayor Oran Teater.