Media Room


Western Oregon University Peter Courtney Health and Wellness Center Dedication

June 13, 2015

Greetings from the State of Oregon. I am pleased to play a part today in honoring my long-time friend and colleague, Senate President Peter Courtney. On behalf of my fellow Oregonians, I want to express my appreciation for his unstinting leadership as a legislator, and the state's longest-serving Senate President. 

It is hard to imagine a more committed public servant than President Courtney, although I am certain he would disagree with me, because, as the Statesman Journal once put it, “he inhabits the land of failure, mistakes and self-pessimism. He doesn't see the glass as half-empty, much less half full; he doesn't even see the glass.”

But today, I have the microphone, and he doesn’t.  And as someone who has served with him for more than two decades, I know better. President Courtney won’t take credit personally because of his strong belief that, in all things, The Team is paramount. Each individual member of a team must do their part, and do it to the best of their ability, in order to achieve victory for the team. An avid participant in the Hood to Coast relay, his Western Oregon team, Peter and the Wolves, has competed for nearly 20 years.  He ran it after his cancer treatment. He ran it after his hip replacement surgery.  Even when walkers were passing him, he ran.   

As anyone who has heard President Courtney’s wagon theory can tell you: there are those who are fit and strong, and they travel on the first wagon blazing the trail, leading the others to the new frontier.  Those who are sickly and flabby and weak, well, they’re on the last wagon. Where do you stand, he will ask you, are you first wagon? 

Peter, we all know you are in the first wagon---and we hope you are saving a seat for the rest of us. Congratulations on this well-earned honor. ​