Category: Oregon News

Willis Calls on Schrader to Denounce Stunt

Stayton, OR — Yesterday, a group of Democratic Congressmen staged a “sit-in” on the House of Representatives floor that disrupted the proceedings and forced Speaker Ryan to adjourn the House.

In a statement released today, 5th congressional district candidate Colm Willis blasted the protest. “This childish protest is not only counterproductive; it is stopping the people’s representatives from carrying out the business of the nation in the House of Representatives. After you lose a vote, you should work harder to win the next one rather than throw a tantrum on the House floor.”

The Democrats are staging the stunt to protest the lack of gun control legislation in the aftermath of the attack in Orlando. The gun control measures they wanted to pass had already been defeated in the Senate, and they did not have the votes to bring them to a vote in the House.

Willis slammed the action as a political stunt, not serious governing. “At a time when our nation is under threat from ISIS attacks and our economy is at risk of dipping back into recession, the Democrats would rather engage in legislative blackmail than work to solve our nation’s problems.  This is an attempt to turn a republic into a mobocracy.”

“I call on my opponent, Kurt Schrader, to condemn this mob action and allow the House to return to its normal business.”

~SKS

Steve Forbes will headline Freedom Foundation Oregon banquet

SALEM, Ore. – The Freedom Foundation has announced that Steve Forbes, chairman of Forbes Media and two-time candidate for president, will be the keynote speaker at the organization’s inaugural Oregon dinner.

The event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 24, in the Oregon Zoo’s Cascade Banquet Room.

Other speakers include: Rebecca Friedrichs, plaintiff in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the just-decided U.S. Supreme Court case dealing with mandatory union membership for government employees; and, Dr. Eric Fruits, adjunct professor of economics, finance and statistics at the University of Portland, who will discuss Oregon’s economic malaise.

Forbes_SteveJPG (2)Forbes, an outspoken critic of public-sector unions, serves on the board of Directors of the advocacy organization FreedomWorks. He is also on the board of the National Taxpayers’ Union and the Heritage Foundation, an influential Washington, D.C.-based public policy research institute.

Forbes is a frequent panelist on the television program Forbes on Fox, which also features members of the Forbes Media staff.

See www.myfreedomfoundation.com/oregon-dinner for ticketing details and reservations.

The Freedom Foundation is a member-supported, Northwest-based think and action tank promoting individual liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government.

Republican Candidates in HD 23 to Debate in Polk County

Rickreall, Ore – Gator’s Radio Experience and 1430AM  KYKN together with the Polk County Republicans are hosting a candidate debate between incumbent House District 23 Representative Mike Nearman and challenger Beth Jones.

The debate will be held at the Polk County Fairgrounds in Rickreall on Sunday, April 24 from 6 PM – 8 PM. The event is free and open to the public.

This is the second time that Dallas resident Beth Jones has challenged Mike Nearman for the HD 23 seat. In 2014, Ms. Jones entered the race as the Independent Party of Oregon candidate only to drop out before the general election.  Both Nearman and Jones are running for the Republican nomination this year.

mike nearmanIncumbent Mike Nearman attained the HD 23 seat in 2014 after a contentious race with former representative Jim Thompson. Nearman, a current Precinct Committee person and former chair of the Polk County Republicans, believes in the Constitution and the rule of law. He is passionate about upholding what is just and right citing a love for politics and policy that has been a driving force all of his life.

beth jonesBeth Jones is an Army wife, mother of two and founder/director of Bambinos, a non-profit that serves low-income families in Polk County. Jones is an advocate for veteran and military families, she believes in caring for others with as little government intervention as possible. Jones served on the Dallas City Council from 2011-2015.

The debate will be moderated by Gator Gaynor, host of the popular drive time talk radio show Gator’s Radio Experience with assistance from show co-host, Denise Quinn Nanke.

~SKS

Bud Pierce Ready for Challengers in Republican Governor Race

Salem, Oregon (March 7, 2016) – Bud Pierce, candidate for Oregon governor released a statement today acknowledging Allen Alley’s late entrance into the Republican primary.

Pierce said, “Ever since I entered the race last September, I have been ready for challengers in the primary. I don’t take Allen’s candidacy lightly, but I am still confident that I am the right candidate for this election.”

Pierce began preparing for a race last February and announced his candidacy last year on Sept. 10 on the steps of the Oregon Capitol, followed by a celebration that attracted over 300 supporters. Since the fall, Pierce has been building his campaign team, opening an office, hiring staff and travelling around the state listening to fellow Oregonians.

Kevin Mannix, attorney, former candidate for Governor and former Oregon Republican Party Chair, said, “We already have an excellent candidate for Governor in Bud Pierce. He is smart and qualified and he will bring prosperity to Oregon. Allen had a chance to step up and be part of this process since last year and did not commit until now, which is late in the process. Bud has proved his worth to Oregonians over and over again through his involvement with the business community, his medical practice, his support of solid causes, and his generous support of charities. He has developed a dynamic campaign over the last year and has traveled all over the state. It is a mistake for Allen to think he can drop into the process at the last minute and be able to achieve that same momentum.”

While there are a number of people who have filed on the Republican ticket, Allen is known because of previous runs for office. Pierce comments, “Allen’s been around Oregon politics for a long time and has run before, albeit unsuccessfully, but that doesn’t dissuade me. For my part, I believe that Oregon needs new blood, fresh ideas and a break from the one-party rule we’ve had in the governor’s office for 30 years. I still expect to become the nominee of Oregon Republicans and, ultimately, the voice of working Oregonians.”

Bud Pierce, Ph.D., M.D., of Salem, Oregon, is an oncologist, business owner, veteran, and Republican candidate for Oregon Governor. See more details about his agenda for Oregon on www.BudPierce.com.

~SKS

There Is No Room in Oregon for Discrimination

by Kim Conolly

The Oregon Equality Act, known as SB2, aims to protect all citizens regardless of sexual orientation.

Brought before legislators by Representative Greg Macpherson and Representative Diane Rosenbaum in 2007, the intent of SB2 was noble and the law enacted.

Yet in 2016, the Oregon School Board Association (OSBA), education administrators in Dallas, Oregon, and their lawyers are interpreting SB2 to mean full inclusion for transgender students into the locker rooms and restroom facilities of students of the opposite anatomical gender.

The Dallas School District (DSD) has sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown seeking clarification on SB2 after offering a transgender student full inclusion into the locker rooms and restrooms of the opposite anatomical gender at Dallas High School (DHS) last semester. The student, who had not undergone gender identity counseling nor biological and surgical changes, had been given reasonable accommodations, and then asked for full inclusion. DSD granted the request.

How Governor Kate Brown and our legislators interpret The Oregon Equality Act will effect all Oregon’s school children.

Decisions locally, were made through the guidance of OSBA Director of Policy Services, Peggy Holstedt, and DSD legal counsel Kelly Noor and Paul Dakopolos – who represent a variety of Oregon school districts.

Furthermore, Dallas parents have been told by Noor and Dakopolos that every school restroom within the district is open to anyone of any age based on the gender they identify with.

This call for full inclusion for transgenders into locker rooms and restrooms has no basis through either state or federal law. Yet Noor and Dakopolos have given DSD the option of litigation, federal investigation, or both, unless they comply with full inclusion. Their pressure will extend to many Oregon school districts.

However, the Oregon Equality Act, Section 29, ORS 659.850, states:

Discrimination” does not include enforcement of an otherwise valid dress code or policy, as long as the code or policy provides, on a case-by-case basis, for reasonable accommodation of an individual based on the health and safety needs of the individual.”

The Oregon Equality Act senate floor tapes from April 17th, 2007 speaks to full inclusion only for those who have undergone gender reassignment surgery with major biological changes required. Yet, OSBA, Noor, and Dakopolos are misapplying SB2 with their call for full inclusion even without gender reassignment surgery.

Further, Noor and Dakopolos argue Title lX requires full inclusion, but the Ninth Circuit Court ruled against Title lX requiring inclusion in 2009 in Tempe, AZ on the basis of safety, as did the Eastern Federal District Court in Virginia in 2015.

Misapplying US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) regulations, which are meant to keep transgenders safe from physical and sexual violence, creates further civil rights violations, and an unsafe environment for all.

The Eastern Federal District Court stated:

Department of Education regulations stipulate: A recipient may provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex, but such facilities provided for students of one sex shall be comparable to such facilities provided for students of the other sex. 34 C.F.R. § 106.33.

This regulation (hereinafter, “Section 106.33”) expressly allows schools to provide separate bathroom facilities based upon sex, so long as the bathrooms are comparable…. Rather, Section 106.33 seems to effectuate Title lX’s provision allowing separate living facilities based on sex.”

Further, the court states regarding the US Department of Education’s/Government’s Title lX interpretation which calls for full inclusion:

            The Department of Education’s interpretation does not stand up to scrutiny.

And:

Furthermore, the Department of Education’s interpretation of Section 106.33 is plainly erroneous and inconsistent with the regulation. Even under the most liberal reading, “on the basis of sex” in Section 106.33 means both “on the basis of gender” and “on the basis of biological sex.” It does not mean “only on the basis of gender.”

 To defer to the Department of Education’s newfound interpretation would be nothing less than to allow the Department of Education to “create defacto a new regulation” through the use of a mere letter and guidance document. See Christensen, 529 U.S. at 588. If the Department of Education wishes to amend its regulations, it is of course entitled to do so. However, it must go through notice and comment rulemaking, as required by the Administrative Procedure Act. See 5 U.S.C. § 553. It will not be permitted to disinterpret its own regulations for the purposes of litigation.

Oregon’s parents, education administrators, law makers, and the Oregon Department of Education, as well as the ACLU need to understand there is no basis for full inclusion for transgenders (who have not undergone gender reassignment surgery) under Title lX without misapplying the law.

Many school districts, such as Portland, have implemented transgender policies on a case by case basis with reasonable accommodation. Eugene solutions include, gender neutral single-stall bathrooms which protect privacy, safety, and respect, yet OSBA, OCR, DSD legal counsel, nor the ACLU has advised Dallas to seek these solutions. When will these organizations be part of the solution vs. encouraging an end which leads to litigation at potentially tax payer expense?

New Oregon Department of Education school guidelines are to release in March. Reasonable accommodation is needed for transgender students, and policies which follow the law and do not violate anyone’s civil rights. We can and must find loving solutions which do not violate civil rights.

Let’s find loving solutions for all students which afford privacy, safety, and respect. These are the same rights Lambda Legal seeks for LGBT persons. The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child mandates privacy for children in article 16. Will we not also in Oregon mandate and protect privacy, safety, and respect for all? There is no room in Oregon for discrimination of any citizen regardless of sexual orientation.

________________________________________________________

About the Author:  Kim Conolly is a parent in Dallas, Oregon who desires and values loving solutions for all persons, which violate the civil rights of none. She volunteers with First Lego League Robotics, Parent Teacher Committee, Dallas United Soccer, and along with her family, is part of the national program Safe Families for Children.

* Copyright February 2016 by Kim Conolly

Lawsuit Alleges SEIU 503 Isn’t Complying With Supreme Court Ruling

SALEM, Ore. – Service Employees International (SEIU) 503 is the subject of a new lawsuit whose aim is to force the union and the Oregon Department of Human Services to comply with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Medicaid-compensated home healthcare providers to decide for themselves whether to pay dues and fees to the union.

The suit, filed in federal court on Thursday by attorneys supported by the Freedom Foundation and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation on behalf of an Oregon home healthcare provider, challenges whether the union can treat workers who didn’t know they had a right as having waived that right.

The union argues that care providers waived their right to stop dues deductions when they signed membership agreements before Harris v. Quinn gave them the constitutional right not to pay any dues or fees to a union. The Freedom Foundation counters that a care provider cannot waive the right granted by Harris before she knew she had that right.

The court ruled in Harris v. Quinn two years ago that home care providers were not full-fledged state employees and could no longer be forced to pay dues or fees to SEIU 503. The union, however, took the position that, while it couldn’t force workers to join up, it didn’t have to make the opting out process easy or immediate, either.

One way to make things more difficult was to only allow workers to leave the union and stop paying dues during a 15-day window period every year.

However, workers who signed membership cards prior to Harris can’t be penalized after Harris. The law puts a high value on First Amendment rights and sets a high standard for any action that purports to waive these rights.

With respect to Oregon home care providers, it’s nearly impossible to imagine how one could waive Harris rights before Harris rights existed.

Freedom Foundation General Counsel James Abernathy explained, “A person cannot be declared to have waived a First Amendment right that is not clearly articulated in the waiver, didn’t exist at the time she signed her membership card, and was not recognized by federal or Oregon courts at the time.

“We expect this kind of bad behavior from unions,” he said, “but it’s a shame that litigation is necessary to get the state of Oregon to honor the constitutional rights of workers.

“Gov. (Kate) Brown and the state of Oregon have made their choice,” Abernathy said. “They have prioritized SEIU 503’s annual $30 million cash windfall over Oregon citizens’ First Amendment rights.”

-SKS

Willis Announces Legislative Leadership Team

Stayton, OR — Colm Willis’ bid for the Republican nomination for Congress in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District was bolstered Thursday when the campaign announced the endorsements of 8 local lawmakers.

The Colm for Congress legislative leadership team will play an instrumental role in providing policy background and support for Willis’ campaign for Congress. Members will be added as the campaign progresses.

“I am honored by the support I have received from state lawmakers who represent hundreds of thousands of working Oregonians across the state,” said Willis. “The needs of the hardworking people in Oregon will continue to be my primary focus every day.”

Colm for Congress Legislative Leadership Team

  • Senator Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls)
  • Representative Jodi Hack (R-Salem)
  • Representative John Huffman (R-The Dalles)
  • Representative Mike Nearman (R-Dallas)
  • Representative Cedric Hayden (R-Roseburg)
  • Representative Greg Barreto (R-Cove)
  • Representative Bill Post (R-Keizer)
  • Representative Gail Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls)

Colm Willis was born and raised in Oregon.  He is a husband, father of two daughters, and a small business attorney in Stayton. Willis previously served as the political director of Oregon Right to Life and as an aide to the Joint Economic Committee in the U.S. Senate. He attended Willamette University College of Law where he earned the Civil Rights Award and graduated first in his class as valedictorian.

Willis is a Republican candidate for Congress in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District. The primary will be held on May 17, 2016. The Republican nominee will face incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader in the general election.

~SKS

Representative Mike Nearman Calls For Immediate Changes Within Department Of Human Services

Asks For Resignation Of Senior Agency Official, Full Account Of Public Records Practices

Salem, OR – Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) today called on Interim Department of Human Services Director Clyde Saiki to replace Public Affairs Director Gene Evans immediately. Rep. Nearman issued the call after learning that Director Evans oversaw the stonewalling of a routine public records request by an Oregon citizen. In his letter to Director Saiki, Rep. Nearman also asked that the agency be prepared to fully explain to the Legislature the circumstances surrounding this failure of transparency and what steps the agency will be taking to ensure similar situations do not arise in the future.

“I am saddened and angered by media reports that an Oregon citizen, Anne Marie Gurney, made simple requests for Department of Human Services records that were clearly public and that she was subjected to delays by the Director of Public Affairs, Gene Evans, which resulted in the records not being delivered. Furthermore, it appears that the delay was intentional, so as to ‘wait out the clock’ on pending legislation,” Rep. Nearman wrote in the letter dated December 7. “I find it outrageous that taxpayer funds are used to pay the salary of a Director of Public Affairs, whose job is to inform the public, and that person engages in tactics to keep public data from a member of the public. I therefore call for the termination of Director Evans, immediately.”

Records show that Director Evans and his staff mishandled, and ultimately denied, a routine request for information, even despite previously acknowledging the legitimacy of the records request. Director Evans, citing an exemption signed into law just one day earlier, denied the request nearly six months after first receiving it.

~SKS

Senator Thatcher to Hold Town Hall Series on Disaster Preparedness

Senator Kim Thatcher (SD-13) will join Representatives Bill Post (HD-25) and John Davis (HD-26) along with state and local officials for a town hall series about disaster preparedness in Oregon. Disaster preparedness is a major issue confronting our state today. Emergency management experts will be presenting on the ways Oregon is preparing for the possibility of a high magnitude earthquake the Pacific Northwest. All citizens and public officials are invited to attend.
Dates and locations for the town halls are:
  • November 3rd at the Newberg Police Department from 6:00pm to 7:00pm. The address for the Newberg Police Department is 401 E 3rd St, Newberg, OR 97132.
  • November 4th at the Keizer Fire Station from 6:00pm to 7:00pm. The address for the Keizer Fire Station is 661 Chemawa Rd NE, Keizer, OR 97303.
  • November 10th at the Wilsonville City Hall from 6:00pm to 7:00pm. The address for the Wilsonville City Hall is 29799 Town Center Loop E, Wilsonville, OR 97070.
  • November 12th at the Sherwood Police Department from 6:00pm to 7:00pm. The address for the Sherwood Police Station is 20495 SW Borchers Dr, Sherwood, OR 97140.
Sen. Thatcher represents Senate District 13, which includes the areas of Keizer, Newberg, Wilsonville, Sherwood, King City, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Aloha and Tigard. Rep. Post represents House District 25, which includes Keizer, St. Paul, and Newberg. Rep. Davis represents Wilsonville, Sherwood, King City, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Aloha, Tigard, and Bull Mountain.
-SKS

Freedom Foundation Expands into Oregon

SALEM, Ore. – The Freedom Foundation – Washington’s most assertive citizen watchdog group – has extended its influence into Oregon with the opening of a branch office in Salem.

And just to show it means business, the organization is also filing a class-action lawsuit against Gov. Kate Brown and SEIU 503 on behalf of a Bend home care worker who was illegally unionized and forced for years to pay dues and representation fees.

More than 20,000 other Oregon home care workers could also benefit from the ruling should the Freedom Foundation prevail in court.

Both moves will be announced during a press conference at:

2:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 13,
in the Capitol Press Room
at the Oregon State Capitol Building,
900 Court St SE, Salem OR 97301

Founded in 1991, the Freedom Foundation is a member-funded, nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank dedicated to the principles of free markets and smaller, more transparent government. Its main focus these days is exposing and ending the undue influence of government employee unions on the political process.

Freedom Foundation’s Oregon coordinator, Anne Marie Gurney, recently appeared on the Gator’s Radio Experience show to discuss the organization’s goals and mission, explaining the group’s desire to challenge Oregon’s unions; both private and public sector.

-SKS