By 1985, state medical examiner Dr. William J. Brady handled more cadavers than anyone in Oregon. No one questioned his integrity--until those headlines about the pituitary glands and the Christmas party.STEPHEN VOSSTHEN: Shoulda, woulda, coulda must have gone through Gail Shibley's mind as she watched the mayoral showdown this fall between Tom Potter and Jim Francesconi.

Once, Shibley was the bright young hope of Portland politics. The first openly gay member of the Oregon House when she began the first of three terms in 1991, Shibley mopped the floor with a young punk named Erik Sten in the 1996 City Council primary but was nosed out that November by an obscure lawyer--Jim Francesconi.

NOW: Shibley never came back for another round. She landed appointments in the Clinton administration, won a fellowship to Harvard and then blasted off to Germany for a year.

Now 46, Shibley runs the Oregon Office of Health Licensing and serves on the Portland Planning Commission. She tries not to consider "what if" she had beaten Francesconi. "I don't really think of questions like that," she says, "but what can I do to be engaged and be involved."