July 25th, 2013 | by Katie Gilbert News | Posted In: PDX News, Politics, Activism

Jefferson Smith Wants YOU

(To Pay for His 40th Birthday Trip to Africa)

lede_jefferson_3820Jefferson Smith - IMAGE: vivianjohnson.com
Failed Portland mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith wants the Internet to pay for his $4,800 40th birthday trip to Africa.

A user account by the name of Jefferson Smith has posted an appeal to crowdsourcing fundraising site crowdtilt.com, under the title of "Mr. Smith Goes to Liberia."

The post, written by his wife, Katy Lesowski*, says its been his dream to go to the north African country.

“This journey is an opportunity for Jefferson to get a closer perspective from people on democracy with so much at stake,” she writes.

Smith would be going on the trip with former Bus Project member Eddie Jarwolo, the site says. The two would focus on getting Liberian youth involved in democracy in what he describes as “work sessions” via Jarwolo’s Non-Governmental Organization, National Youth Movement for Transparency Election.

The birthday appeal also says Jarwolo has been working with Cuttington University in Suakoko, Liberia to train traditional chiefs and other government officials to better understand how government works in Liberia.

As of today, the campaign has netted $1,400 out of its $4,800 goal, with two days to go before it ends. Smith’s birthday is June 29.

According to crowdtilt, the Jefferson Smith account has also given money away in the past: mostly to his former Democratic Legislative colleagues, including Chris Garret, Tobias Reed, Alissa Keny-Guyer and Brent Barton.

If the fundraiser is successful, Smith will be traveling with one unnamed companion.

The description of the fundraiser also says that “Jeff doesn’t presume he might do much to help, but he is certain that there is much to learn. So this is personal.”

Smith didn’t respond to WW’s requests for comment.

*Editor's note: Due to an editing error, WW originally reported that Smith wrote the appeal himself. It was his wife, Katy Lesowski, who wrote it. His birthday is June 29. WW regrets the errors.
 
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