Oral history interview with Jack Robertson

Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 01] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 02] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 03] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 04] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 05] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 06] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 07] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 08] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 09] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 10] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 11] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 12] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 13] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 14] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 15] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 16] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 17] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 18] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 19] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 20] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 21] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 22] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 23] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 24] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 25] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 26] Oral history interview with Jack Robertson [Sound Recording 27]

Identity elements

Reference code

SR 1342

Name and location of repository

Level of description

Series

Title

Oral history interview with Jack Robertson

Date(s)

  • 1988-11-07 - 1988-12-30 (Creation)

Extent

.1 cubic feet 14 audiocassettes (13 hr., 4 min., 49 sec.)

Name of creator

Biographical history

John "Jack" Strait Robertson was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1949. He studied international relations at Stanford University and graduated in 1972. During his senior year at Stanford, he met Debra J. Cutler and they married in 1975; they later had one child. After graduating, he volunteered for U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield's 1972 re-election campaign. He was a legislative assistant and press secretary for Hatfield from 1973 to 1982. He worked for the Bonneville Power Administration from 1986 to 1999, serving as deputy administrator for a time. He graduated from the Stanford Executive Program at the Graduate School of Business in 1990. In 2010, he became CEO and co-founder of Light Water Inc.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This oral history interview with Jack Robertson was conducted by Clark Hansen in Robertson's office at the Bonneville Power Administration in Portland, Oregon, from November 7 to December 30, 1988. In this interview, Robertson discusses his family background and early life in Portland, including the evolution of his political beliefs. He then talks about attending Stanford University, including studying abroad in Austria. He focuses particularly on student protests against the Vietnam War.

Robertson talks about joining U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield's staff in 1973, after he worked as a volunteer for Hatfield's 1972 re-election campaign. He describes Hatfield's campaign against Wayne Morse. He then talks about his duties as a legislative aide, and later press secretary, from 1973 to 1982, including speechwriting, research, and correspondence. He discusses Hatfield's relationship with other Oregon Republican politicians, including Tom McCall and Bob Packwood. He speaks at length about other members of Hatfield's staff and how Hatfield interacted with them. He also discusses speeches that he wrote for Hatfield, including some on topics such as the Middle East and refugees. He also talks about Hatfield's early use of computers in his office; some of Hatfield's legislative victories in the Senate Appropriations Committee; and Hatfield's personality. Robertson talks about working on legislation to freeze the creation of nuclear weapons. He speaks at length about the procedures of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He discusses Hatfield's relationship with the Republican Party; other senators and political figures; the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan; and the press. He also talks about a real estate scandal that affected Hatfield in 1984. He speaks at length about how Hatfield's personal morality influenced his votes on legislation, particularly regarding weapons and war. He describes the Northwest Power Planning Act, as well as Hatfield's views on nuclear power; the debate about funding for a neutron bomb; and Hatfield's foreign policy stances, particularly regarding Israel, Iran, and Panama. He also describes Hatfield's and his staff's reactions to Watergate; Hatfield's visit with Mother Theresa; Hatfield's efforts to locate soldiers missing in action in Vietnam; and chemical weapons in Oregon. He discusses Hatfield's stance on free trade, local government, and environmental issues. Robertson talks about how the Senate and Hatfield changed over the years. He closes the interview by discussing Hatfield's legacy, his own reasons for leaving Hatfield's staff, and his activities since then.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Joint copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society and Willamette University. Use is allowed according to the following license: Creative Commons - BY-NC-SA: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

Accruals

Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Related descriptions

Notes element

General note

Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Jack Robertson, by Clark Hansen, SR 1342, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

General note

Forms part of the Senator Mark O. Hatfield Oral History Project.

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Description control element

Rules or conventions

Finding aid based on DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard), 2nd Edition.

Sources used

Archivist's note

Sarah Stroman

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Accession area