BEND, OR -- Texas billionaire and Presidential Candidate Ross Perot died Tuesday, at the age of 89, following a five month battle with Leukemia. Former State Representative Knute Buehler (R-Bend) met Perot when he was studying in London, and was asked to work on his 1992 Presidential campaign, "Ross Perot was a man before his time," Buehler tells KBND News, "His 1992 run for the Presidency kind of foreshadowed our politics today. He ran against, really, the status quo."
Buehler says he was excited to be involved because Perot sparked the interest of a lot of people who'd never been political before, "As Mr. Perot used to say, 'Just mad as Hell, and they weren't going to take it anymore!' because they saw the quality of their life decreasing, and the cost of living increasing, and neither political party actually solving the real problems."
In 1992, he ran as an Independent against then-President George H. W. Bush and then-Governor Bill Clinton, and earned 19% of the national vote - 22% in Oregon. Dr. Buehler tells KBND News, "He really highlighted the problems with the federal deficit, of course, but he also highlighted the problems with NAFTA and a lot of our international trade agreements where he thought we were selling out the middle class. And then, he also called attention to the failures of both political parties, both Republicans and Democrats, not doing enough to help our middle class." Perot ran a second time in 1996.
Buehler describes Perot as an outspoken patriot and champion, "He started out his involvement in politics advocating for veterans and, specifically, POWs, and then he also felt strongly - despite his wealth and success - that he should serve, himself, and give back; so [he was] truly an American patriot in the best sense of those words."