• Oregon State Representative, 1973-1976.
  • Oregon State Senator, 1977-1980.
  • Lobbyist, Northwest Strategies, Inc., 1985-1988.
  • Stephen Kafoury Government Relations, 1988-2018.

About Sen. Kafoury

Stephen Kafoury grew up in Portland in a family of high political involvement. He went to Whitman College and received a history degree. Later, he served in the Peace Corps for two years before getting his master’s degree in teaching. Kafoury taught for a few years, before leaving to work in advocacy. During those years, he supported political candidates for office and became inspired to run himself.

Elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1973, Kafoury was part of the largest freshman class of legislators ever. This translated into an unheard of occurrence of his becoming a committee chair. During that iconic legislative session, he had an active role in groundbreaking environmental, feminist, and gay rights legislation. His work to legislate decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana was also cutting edge and achieved with bi-partisan support.

Kafoury describes his role in the legislature as the person who would “take someone else’s idea, hearings, bring in witnesses, make amendments, line up votes…[and] take it from a concept to a bill being passed.” He continued that work in the Oregon Senate from 1977-1988.

An avid mountain climber, backpacker, and bicyclist, Kafoury advocated for groups like 1000 Friends of Oregon and the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.

He moved into lobbying after his years in the legislature, mainly representing professional groups until his retirement in 2018. Although officially retired, Stephen Kafoury still adamantly believes in the importance of politics in everyone’s life. He remains actively involved in the political arena.

– Interview recorded October 30, 2020