If you’re just tuning in to Oregon politics, Republican legislators have walked out of the capitol and will not (as of yet) be showing up. Democrats have been doing plenty of begging and pleading for R’s to return to Salem. Yesterday they even went so far as to issue subpoenas for legislators. It’s a crazy world we live in right now here in Oregon.
So I’m going to just go ahead and tell you all where these folks are hiding. Republican legislators are hiding in a place that is protecting rural and working Oregonians. And I’m so glad they are!
Sorry, I’m sure that’s not what you all wanted to hear. And spoiler alert, I don’t know where any of them are physically. So if it was the click bait that brought you here, I apologize. If you want to know more, keep reading, because what is going on in Oregon is important, what these folks are standing up for is truly for the good of Oregonians. I can’t thank them enough!!!
“This isn’t about my job, it’s about saving yours!” And I know they are doing their jobs. But that whole “doing your job” bit seems to be a hot topic, so I’ll get more to that in a minute.
Background on the current issue being debated:
As the legislature moved through the last session, Democrats introduced a bill regarding cap and trade. They worked on it all last session, at the end of session there was a walk out of senators which led to the bill not being passed in 2019. Fast forward to 2020 and we are in a short session, one designed for fixes and budget items, and yet again we see this extreme bill come to the table. The words of “common ground” and “bipartisan” keep coming up in the talking points of Democrats, but I argue that just isn’t the case. Actually what seems more accurate is the “lovely” talking point from our Governor Kate Brown at the end of 2019 session, “Revenge is a dish best served cold and slowly.”
We can argue the merits and downfalls of the bill later, but for now I will say that there were many many ideas and suggestions, even amendments provided that would have helped this bill become at least not such a blatant disregard to the people of Oregon. But luckily (or stupidly) Democrats just ignored them. The common ground that they keep talking about doesn’t exist, and it’s their own doing, and at this point, also their undoing.
Where we are now:
Currently in the House and Senate here in Oregon Democrats are at a super majority, which means they don’t need any Republican support for bills to pass them. Votes along party lines are an automatic pass, the only thing they don’t have is enough to make quorum. So both the House and the Senate have to wait in order to conduct business until Republicans are there to make quorum. This power of being able to walk and deny quorum has been used before. It was used last session and before that in 2001. The 2001 walkout was interestingly enough led by our very own Gov. Kate Brown. You can read more about that here.
All but 8 counties (whose commissioners were elected by the people) have said NO to this legislation, they have said that it needs to go to the voters for a vote. These counties represent over half of Oregonians, and still Democrats are digging in their heels and refuse to let voters make the decision.
The people are actively saying they want to vote on this legislation. Maybe a better term would be “screaming” that they want a vote, and yet here with sit at a total impasse.
Are they Doing Their Jobs by Walking Out?
The debate seems to go back and forth about how if they are doing their job, doing what they were elected to do, they should be there to vote no, allow the bill to pass (because they don’t have the numbers to stop it) and move on. I would argue that their job is to represent the people who elected them, the people of their district. And when I look at the map of counties, when I look at the poll, heck when I look at any social media surrounding this issue, I have to say that using the only power that they have left is absolutely doing their job. They are standing up for those of us who voted them in, who now sit here with our head in our hands, hoping that this devastating legislation doesn’t get passed. Hoping that solutions that have been presented are looked at seriously. Hoping that we don’t just get railroaded by those who were also voted in and are now ignoring their constituents.
But I also hear the follow up question, “Well would you get fired if you didn’t show up for work?” And the answer can’t be simple, because there are rights in this country that allow for us to stand up. In a way you could look at this as a protest, and can union folks who protest for their rights be punished and fired because they “didn’t show up for work” even though they were standing up for what they believed in? You have to look at the WHY, not just the simple fact that they aren’t there clocking in for work. They were left no choice but to walk and for that, no, I don’t think they should be “fired”.
The news has been inundated with all the Democrat talking points, and it’s getting a little old.
So here’s a quick little game of “What the Democrats Say & What I Hear.”
Democrats: We need to you to come back to pass a bill to allow foster kids to be adopted.
What I hear: This is the best sob story to tug at emotional heartstrings we could find, we probably should have passed this earlier in the session but we were too busy with a bill that shouldn’t have even been introduced this session anyway.
Democrats: Come back and do your job!
What I hear: You need to ignore the people you represent, just like we are! It’s super important to not listen to your constituents.
Democrats: Republicans are on a tax payer paid vacation, must be so nice!
What I hear: Republicans are giving up so much to be away. They are sacrificing family time, their kid’s sporting events, heck just dinner with your spouse. This is not and was not a choice that was made lightly, this is no vacation.
Democrats: We really wish you would come back so we could hear your opinions on issues that we are discussing.
What I hear: We truly need your butt to physically be in that chair so we can pass this legislation without you getting a say.
Democrats: We were voted in by the people to pass this bill.
What I hear: We will pass this bill even though everything has changed since we were voted in. Example, public records requests are not allowed. New options have been put forth that don’t hurt our state and they have been ignored. We have learned more about how much this will actually help our environment (not at all).
Democrats: This is an emergency and we have been working on this for over a decade, the time is now!
What I hear: So…..in the next 9 days, after a decade of working on this legislation, that’s it, the world is going to end and only Democrats in Oregon can stop it. (Give me a break). This might be the only time that we have the numbers to pass this bill without any Republican input, so yes, the time in NOW!
Democrats: This needs an emergency clause….”This is an emergency….”, see comment above.
What I hear: If we have an emergency clause on this bill it can’t get referred to the voters. And there is no way that we want the people of Oregon to vote on this bill….see comment below.
Democrats: We need to vote on this bill, it’s too complicated for voters to understand.
What I hear: Voters are dumb, except that they aren’t and our fear is that they will vote this down. AND….it’s going to cost Democrats a boatload of money to try to get this passed on the ballot and we have so many races coming up that we need to win so we can get more power in this state. (Follow the money!)
I’ll leave you with this from House Republican Leader Representative Drazan, “Voters should remember this in November. It would also serve the Democrats well to remember who their boss is in this state – Oregonians. Only in politics can an employee (politician) get away with inferring their boss (Oregonians) are too inept to understand the difficulties of a job (bill) and not face termination. The truth isn’t that it’s too complicated for voters to understand. Voters have taken up many complicated issues over the last few decades. The truth is that the Democrats know cap and trade will fail at the ballot because voters absolutely can understand what the bill does to them – not for them.”
So maybe the question shouldn’t be “Are Republicans doing their job by walking out?”
It should be, “Are the Democrats doing their jobs by keeping this bill from the voters?”
And to all the legislators who are standing up, thank you for all you have sacrificed for me and for all Oregonians! Thank you for listening and for doing what is right. Thank you for walking out! Because at the end of the day, for me as a third generation farmer and fourth generation Oregonian, I want my children and my grandchildren to continue this Oregon legacy. And we can only do that if brave folks like you stand up and say, “Enough is Enough!”.
Here’s what you can do:
- Call, write, email legislators and tell them THANK YOU!
- Call, write, email legislators and tell them you want this to go to the voters! To Find Your Legislators Click Here
- Share this blog and other stories about what this means!
- Follow #timberunity to get real time updates