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Jun-06-2006 15:38printcomments

Atkinson Participates in New Orleans Relief Efforts

The wake of Hurricane Katrina
Photo By: Gene Daily, American Red Cross

(NEW ORLEANS, La.) - State Senator Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point) and his wife Stephanie spent the past several days in New Orleans aiding families who continue to struggle in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Atkinson is participating in the outreach effort as part of a national program that recognizes some of America`s top young elected leaders.

"This is one of the greatest civic challenges our country has faced," Atkinson said. `My heart is forever changed experiencing the devastation of these Americans. I hope the rest of our country continues to rebuild this great city."

Atkinson, who returned to Oregon late Monday, says they stayed busy during their trip visiting with aid groups, touring the hurricane`s devastation and pitching in to help.

The Senator had the honor of meeting with representatives from Women of the Storm, a grassroots organization calling on each member of Congress to visit the region devastated by last year`s violent hurricane in hopes of spreading awareness about the destruction caused by the storm and the long road ahead toward recovery.

Stephanie Atkinson volunteered with the local charity Boys Hope Girls Hope where they helped move a displaced family.

`My heart really goes out to these families," stated Stephanie Atkinson. `The children of New Orleans are suffering but their spirit and pride in their city will never die."

Last year, Senator Atkinson was one of 24 elected leaders selected from the ranks of federal, state, and local government to be part of the inaugural two-year class of the Aspen-Rodel Fellowship in Public Service. The Aspen Institute coordinated the New Orleans visit.

The Rodel Fellowship program is designed to bring together `the very best of the nation's emerging leaders" to discuss broad issues of democratic governance and effective public service by recognizing `public leaders the Institute has identified as �the true rising stars` of American politics," according to the institute`s website.

The Boys Hope Girls Hope program provides a stable, loving home environment and a strong academic program for disadvantaged but capable boys and girls. It is an inter-denominational program and welcomes children regardless of their race, creed or religion. Homes run by the organization were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina last year and are now working to rebuild.

The Aspen Institute is an international non-profit organization founded in 1950. Its mission is to foster enlightened leadership, the appreciation of timeless ideas and values and open-minded dialogue on contemporary issues. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote the pursuit of common ground and deeper understanding in a nonpartisan and non-ideological setting.

Atkinson is a former candidate for governor, current state senator, author and was chosen as part of the inaugural class of Rodel Fellows by the Aspen Institute.


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