Derrick Kitts
Oregon Legislature
Joe Scarborough
The Oregonian
Kitts ' political travels took him through the finance office of Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore. and [former U.S. Rep. Rick] White's unsuccessful 1998 re-election campaign in Washington.

"I never cried so hard," Kitts said of White's loss. "I left it all on the mat, so to speak, and we still came up short. It was hard to swallow."

But the election's final days also led to Kitts ' next opportunity. Scarborough had come to Washington to campaign for White. He came away impressed by the young aide, who drove after midnight to Scarborough 's hotel room to deliver a forgotten bag. When White lost, Scarborough called, and Kitts went to Capitol Hill.

Scarborough said Kitts ' honesty marked him as different from the other "Hill rats."

"Derrick stuck out immediately," Scarborough said. "He is straightforward. Other people might look at that and say he's cocky. But someone in Congress like myself needed somebody who can tell it to me straight."