For the past year+, the Bus has been moving through a transition process, and now comes a milestone in that process: January was my last month as Executive Director of the Oregon Bus Project.
I am filled with nostalgia, gratitude, confidence and more hope than ever for the future of the Bus and of our state. While I am forever on the Bus and will stay close to our work in Oregon, it is time to turn over the keys to the extraordinary rising leaders of the Bus.
Just about every piece of the Bus inspires me, but nothing more so than the innovative and committed people involved. The Bus has been able to do democracy’s great work because of inspiring leaders who do that work.
Caitlin Baggott is one such leader.
She begins her new role as Executive Director of the Bus today. She was one of the key volunteers who helped get the Bus Project started in 2002 and even co-designed the original Bus itself.
She is one of the very smartest, toughest, and most caring people I know. She has always brought a unique mix of fierce brilliance and deep empathy to the Bus’s work. Among her many achievements in the last few years, she has turned PolitiCorps into a nationally-renown program and helped empower women leaders across Oregon by helping to kickstart The MotherPAC.
Expect extraordinary things.
I’ve never been more excited about the future of the Bus. This is not a goodbye for me; it’s a giddy hello to a vital, new era of the organization.
The history of the Bus will be defined more by the next nine years than by the past nine. We, the Bus Family, are positioned to do critical work in democracy — helping to build a greater world for the next generation and developing great people to help lead it.
Get on the Bus.
Founder of the Bus Project
Hey Bus Family,
Caitlin here. If it wasn’t apparent from perusing Jefferson’s half of this note, we’re going for heartfelt/sappy. Heck, we can’t be smartasses all the time.
The opportunity to serve the Bus in this new role is a super-sized honor. Jefferson has built an extraordinary thing here. I’m grateful both for what this organization has accomplished for Oregon under his leadership, and the leader I have become through almost nine years of collaboration and partnership with Jefferson.
Since the Bus was first conceived (cocktail napkin, bar), the Bus Family has knocked on over 300,000 doors, created an award-winning national get out the vote program, helped bring online voter registration to Oregon, and brought transformational leadership to government, non-profits and businesses across the country with a constellation of new leaders.
And there’s a lot more to do.
This political moment not only needs the Bus, but needs us to do our thing better than ever before. The decisions our democracy makes and the leaders our democracy empowers will determine what kind of world we inherit. It’s not enough to address just one of these two obligations. We need to do great things and build great leaders.
We can do both, because of the Bus Family. Because of you.
As we turn the corner to this next legislative session, we’ll all need to step up. We need to protect the right of every Oregon citizen to vote. We need to make it clear that young Oregonians need both a strong social service network and a strong economy with next generation jobs. Like all of our work, these ideas aren’t about left or right, they’re about moving forward, together.
I invite you to join us in pioneering the next leg of this journey together. (And you don’t even have to wear buckskin to do it.)
Please join the Bus in the next year and the next decade as a volunteer, a member, and a leader, and we’ll do great things for Oregon together.
On the Bus!
Executive Director of the Bus Project
P.S. Lest Jefferson thinks he’s going to get off easy, rest assured friends and family — there will be a proper thank you (ahem — did someone say “roast”?) for Jefferson’s incredible service.