Heinz Kerry Announces Plan to Visit Eugene

Article excerpt

Byline: Randi Bjornstad The Register-Guard

The presidential campaign will take a local turn Thursday when Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry, stops in Eugene for a midday rally.

Even before that, her son, Andre Heinz, will be in town to lead a discussion about the presidential election with moderate Republicans from the area. That event, sponsored by Eugene Republicans for Kerry, takes place at 7 tonight at the Hilton Eugene.

News of the visit by the would-be first lady surprised local Democratic officials as well as staff members at the Kerry headquarters in Eugene, who went into high gear Tuesday afternoon to make sure security measures, decorations and the other necessities for the political whistle-stop would be in place in time.

"This is the first I've heard about it, but I think it's great," said state Rep. Terry Beyer, D-Springfield, when contacted by telephone late Tuesday.

"I would certainly love to see her. But sometimes we (elected officials) are the last to know about these visits - they're coming to see voters, not us."

Avid Kerry supporter Deb Chapman of Eugene found the news "just thrilling. …