Portland, Oregon , United States
|| February 08, 1963
Jul 31, 2011 07:48pm
Caucasian - Single - Disabled -
|Info||A brilliant and engaging advocate, Steve Novick has spent the last two decades fighting for good causes in Washington D.C. and Oregon. |
Novick was born in Newark, New Jersey (the only other state with no self-serve gas) in 1963, and his family moved to Cottage Grove, Oregon in 1973. When the Cottage Grove schools closed temporarily in 1976 due to the failure of a local budget, fourteen-year-old Steve began riding into Eugene each day with a professor who lived in his neighborhood to attend classes at the University of Oregon. After a semester, Steve was allowed to enroll in the University's Honors College. When he graduated in 1981 and was accepted to Harvard Law School, the Eugene Register-Guard wrote: "Harvard Law School doesn't make a habit of accepting junior high school dropouts, but in Steven Novick's case Harvard has made an exception."
After working briefly for New York and San Francisco law firms, Steve joined the Environment Division (then known as the "Land and Natural Resources Division") of the United States Department of Justice in 1987. There he brought numerous successful lawsuits against big polluters for violations of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. Perhaps his greatest success was serving as lead counsel on the notorious toxic waste cleanup at Love Canal. In 1995, Steve and his team secured a $129 million settlement from Occidental Chemical to cover the cleanup. Announcing the settlement, Attorney General Janet Reno said, "Today we celebrate a transformation of an environmental disaster called Love Canal into a success story .... It [the settlement] stands for the principle that when people make a mess, they should pay to clean it up."
Returning to Oregon, Steve worked as policy director for Tom Bruggere's 1996 Senate bid and then as chief of staff for the Oregon Senate Democrats. Novick's hard work and dedication helped the Democrats pick up three additional seats in the 1998 election, leading the Willamette Week to proclaim him a "winner" in its election wrap-up.
Novick then went on to be the executive director of the Center for Constructive Citizen Action, a group committed to fighting Bill Sizemore's efforts to strangle public services and undermine workers' rights in Oregon. Novick and the Center spearheaded the successful fight against Sizemore's Measure 91, which would have cut the state budget for schools, health care and public safety by more than 20 percent.
Steve has also been a vocal critic of the Oregon Lottery's wasteful practice of overpaying video poker retailers at the expense of our schools. Novick led the campaign to force the Lottery to change its policy of paying bars and taverns an average of $80,000 a year to offer the machines in their establishments. In December 2006, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that the Lottery had, in fact, acted unlawfully in its decision-making process on retailer payments.
In 2002, Steve was policy director for Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski in his first successful campaign. From 2004 to 2006 he worked for Citizens for Oregon's Future, an organization dedicated to providing taxpayers useful, reliable information on tax and budget issues. In 2005, Steve developed an innovative "balance the state budget" classroom exercise used by Portland, Salem, Creswell and Springfield high school teachers to help students learn about the state budget.
Currently, Steve is Senior Project Manager for Pyramid Communications, a consulting firm that works primarily for non-profit organizations, tribal and other public sector clients. At Pyramid, Steve has worked on projects such as Metro's "Recycle At Work" campaign. He also was a consultant to the Defend Oregon Coalition, which defeated Measure 48, a ballot measure sponsored by New York millionaire Howard Rich that threatened Oregon schools, health care, public safety and other services. The campaign chose Steve to debate measure petitioner Don McIntire at the Portland City Club.
Steve was a member of the Board of the Oregon Environmental Council for over a decade and is on the Program Committee of the Portland City Club. He lives in the Sellwood neighborhood in Portland.