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How Oregon cleans house

Before it disappears from your news feeds and drops out of the news cycle, I feel compelled to talk about what happened in the Oregon Legislature last week.

On Thursday, June 10, the Oregon House of Representatives made history by voting, for the first time ever, to expel Representative Mike Nearman for his role in an attack on the State Capitol. It was a solemn, bipartisan vote of 59-1. The lone dissenter? Nearman himself.

On Dec 21, former Representative Nearman opened the doors of the Capitol to armed right-wing extremists, endangering his fellow legislators, legislative staff, and the Oregon State Troopers that responded to the security breach., He made a mockery of the very laws he'd taken an oath to defend.

I'm heartened that the House gathered the facts and moved quickly to expel after it was revealed that Nearman had met with extremists in advance to plan the operation. Some have said that his behavior and callous disregard for the safety of others is an isolated incident not worthy of dwelling on. That we should move on and be satisfied with this result.

But recent polling shows that white nationalism is surging in Oregon and that a significant percentage of Oregonians support paramilitary groups that intimidate and endanger others. And we all know that what happened on Dec 21 was a prelude to the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan 6.

Accountability matters, especially for those who we trust with protecting the common good and providing for our public safety. Not just here in Oregon, but nationwide.

Just like Rep. Nearman, some Congressional Republicans betrayed the rule of law and tarnished our democracy. We all saw and heard them incite an insurrection in an effort to overturn the 2020 election.

The big difference? There's been accountability in Oregon, but in Washington DC, Congressional Republicans have done everything in their power to avoid acknowledging the truth: that numerous public officials enabled an insurrection against this country.

I will always stand up for our democracy and protect the values enshrined in our Constitution. It's an honor and a privilege to serve as an elected official. We must hold Donald Trump's accomplices accountable, just as the Oregon Legislature held Rep. Nearman accountable for his attack on our democracy.


Posted on June 17, 2021.