OR-05: Mike Erickson vs. Darlene Hooley

At 43, Mike Erickson has put more into his relatively young life than men twice his age. While earning his business degree at Portland (Ore.) State University, Erickson was a starting kicker and punter who helped lead the football team to the Division II national championship game and is still one of the leading scorers in PSU history. Following a stint as a district manager with Airborne Express, Erickson launched his own company from the basement of his home. That was 14 and a half years ago. Today, AFMS, Inc. has 30 employees and has been cited two years in a row by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest-growing small companies in the nation.

“From my experience at Airborne Express, I saw how contracting out services in the supply chain could be improved and working for someone else could save a lot of money,” recalled Erickson. “So we started a company that shows businesses how to become more efficient and cut costs.” Last year, AFMS grossed $13.5 million providing services to more than 1,000 clients nationwide, including Reader’s Digest, Honda and Sony America.

As he was becoming a leader in business, Erickson was also doing the same in his church and community. He contributed to charities, participated in auctions to raise money for the local Roman Catholic Church, and donated funds to purchase computers for schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Understandably, encouraging young athletes to maximize their potential was high on his agenda.
As busy and versatile as Mike Erickson has been, he has never held office, yet this year was willing to become the Republican nominee against five-term Oregon Democratic Rep. Darlene Hooley.

“I ran because I felt our country was going in the wrong direction,” said Erickson. “We need more innovative thinkers in Congress.” Should Erickson unseat Hooley (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 13%) this fall, he will come to Congress with fresh ideas as well as the moxie to make them part of the conservative agenda.

While most candidates shy from the complex issue of health care, for example, Erickson tackles it head on: “If you’re receiving federal money, you should be required to put all your services online. Let hospitals list what it costs for what they are providing and when people access it, they’ll pick and choose the most cost-efficient services. Information will spark the free market and lower costs will result. And I can’t see how it would take too much for Congress to make this happen.”

Regarding the 600,000 Oregonians who are uninsured, Erickson notes that “too many work for small businesses that don’t have motivation to get health care for their employees. If only we provide tax incentives and tax credits for them to do so, I feel sure 80-90% of the uninsured will be able to get insurance.”

Regarding where he disagrees with Hooley, the conservative hopeful cites her vote against banning partial-birth abortion (he’s strongly pro-life), her opposition to ending the death tax and her votes against securing the Mexican border. He also notes, “She’s been in elective office for 30 unbroken years. I’ve in private business my entire adult life.”

Mike Erickson has been a captain of every team he has played on. Should conservatives rally to him the fall, he will go to Congress and, one can be fairly certain, score often for the conservative cause.