By Peter Toll
Clackamas County has a new legislator, and history repeats itself.
Silverton Mayor Rick Lewis was selected by commissioners from Marion and Clackamas Counties to succeed Vic Gilliam, also of Silverton, in the Oregon House of Representatives. Gilliam, very ill with Lou Gehrig’s disease, resigned Jan. 30 after his re-election in District 18.
Oregon law dictates that a replacement be from the same party (Republican, in this case,) and come from a short list of candidates submitted to commissioners by local party representatives. As Marion has more people in District 18 than Clackamas does, votes were appropriately weighted. Continue reading
Those of us in Clackamas County who tend to look askance at Congressman Greg Walden’s campaign goings-on within the national Republican Party have a new reason to hold our nose: his calling for a federal investigation of the state’s use of fed money in the immensely problematic Cover Oregon website. While this is certainly a stretch, having Governor John Kitzhaber’s Republican opponent, State Rep. Dennis Richardson, at his side, didn’t add much credibility to his position.
Sharing our concern and shedding new light on this issue are weekend editorials from the Medford and Eugene newspapers. Unfortunately, nothing like these statements tends to appear in county editions of the big Portland paper anymore. They’re worth reading.
Clackamas County Congressman Kurt Schrader, a Democratic middle-of-the-roader, drew a tea party opponent this week, and Oregon’s Greg Walden, the only Republican in the state’s federal delegation and a major player on the John Boehner federal GOP team, also drew a tea party opponent. Walden’s fight will be in the primary election next year. This reflects the major philosophical divide in the Republican Party — the moderates versus the arch-conservatives.
This split is also evidenced in the usual phalanx of pro-business Republican check-writers who bankroll most GOP campaigns. Many moderate-leaning Republicans feel recent Congressional shenanigans are not in the best interests of the country nor of business. They’re having second thoughts as to giving more money for more foolishness. And the right-leaning Koch Brothers and Oregon’s Andrew Miller, to name a few, are giddy at the prospects that their money could actually help make a strong anti-government statement.
Al Jazeera America, a new news voice in the U.S., defined the players and their views in a thought-provoking piece. It should give Walden, chair of the GOP group responsible for maintaining a Republican majority in the Congress, serious pause.