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Jeffrey Merkley GS ’82: U.S. Senator (D-Ore.)

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Sen. Jeff Merkley GS ’82 poses for an official portrait.
Courtesy of Jeff Merkley Congressional website

Since 2009, Jeffrey Merkley has served as Oregon’s junior U.S. senator. A staunch liberal, he was the only senator to endorse Bernie Sanders in 2016; he eschewed running for president in 2020 in favor of seeking reelection in the Senate.

According to previous polls, Merkley holds a substantial lead over his Republican opponent, Jo Rae Perkins. His campaign focuses on COVID-19 relief, racial justice, and climate change prevention.


Merkley sits on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on the Budget, and the Committee on the Environment and Public Works. He has been a leading voice in calling for the Senate to vote on the For the People Act, which the House of Representatives passed last year. The bill seeks to make voting more accessible and equitable.

Merkley graduated from the University in 1982 with a Master of Public Affairs from the School of Public and International Affairs.