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September 2 Meeting Highlights Defending and Extending Democratic Legislative Control in Oregon


During our OST-PDX Zoom meeting last Wednesday, September 2, Representative and Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner gave an overview of the Oregon House of Representative races and identified several key candidates that need our support:  


Seats gained in 2018 that have serious GOP challengers:

  • Rachel Prusak, HD 37

  • Courtney Neron, HD 26

  • Anna Williams, HD 52

Open seats for which the Democratic incumbent is not running:

  • Debbie Boothe Schmidt, HD 32

  • Cal Mukumoto, HD 9

Other important House races:

  • Lynette Shaw, HD 24 (against Rep Ron Noble)

  • Jackie Leung, HD 19 (against Rep Raquel Moore-Green)

Senator Michael Dembrow talked about preventing future Republican walk-outs, which bring the business of legislating to a halt. By picking up two additional Senate seats and defending existing seats, Democrats would establish a two-thirds quorum and make any further walk-outs moot.


Next, Senator Dembrow introduced to the group two exciting progressive candidates, both of whom have a good chance of winning, deserve our support, and have been endorsed by One Small Thing’s leadership team. Both also have an opponent who is supported by money and publicity from Timber Unity (for more about Timber Unity and why we need to combat their influence, see below). Please consider supporting these two great candidates!

  • Deb Patterson - District 10 (Salem area). Her opponent, Denyc Boles, was appointed when long-time Republican Senator Jackie Winters died. Deb has a real shot at winning and turning this seat blue. Read about Deb here, then donate or volunteer to help her campaign. She asked that OST members help by writing postcards to voters, phone banking, and making donations to her campaign.

  • Eileen Kiely - District 27 (Bend area). This region is getting more blue all the time. Eileen has a good chance of defeating Tim Knopp, the Republican who led the walk-outs. Here is her website. You can donate,  write postcards (which can even be dropped off in the Portland area), or phonebank on Tuesdays and Sundays. If you want to host a house party for Eileen or get postcards, contact Kimberly Koops at kimberly@kiely4or.com or 503-812-7597. 

Senator Dembrow also urged us for help in defending the seats of three retiring Democratic Senators: 

  • Kate Lieber for Mark Haas’s seat, SD 14

  • Chris Gorsek for Laurie Mones Anderson’s seat, SD 49

  • Melissa Cribbens for Arnie Roblan’s seat, SD 5

Both Senator Dembrow and Representative Smith Warner spoke about their support of the racial justice coalition Reimagine Oregon, which, according to them, is likely to become part of the legislative agenda in coming years.  Shemia Fagan’s race for Secretary of State is also critical because 2021 of redistricting that will take place in 2021 based on this year’s census. Her GOP opponent Kim Thatcher is well funded as there is a huge push to win the office that Republican Dennis Richardson (now deceased) won in 2016.

What Is Timber Unity? Background on Who’s Funding the Opposition

Timber Unity is going after rural Democrats in key legislative races by funding their opponents and producing attack ads. Originally formed in June 2019 by rural loggers intent on obstructing climate change legislation, it was taken over by sophisticated corporate and political interests based in Portland. Timber Unity now consists of two corporations, a political action committee (PAC), and a Facebook group with a membership of 61.000. Continuing to present itself as a grassroots movement, Timber Unity supports Republican conservative, reactionary candidates in legislative races and is targeting the Secretary of State race because of the threat redistricting poses to GOP seats. Andrew Miller, CEO and owner of Stimson Lumber, and Julie Parrish, former GOP state representative for district 37 (a seat now occupied by Rachel Prusak) organized the Timber Unity PAC. Major PAC donors in addition to Miller include Rob Freres, owner of Freres Lumber and the link between Timber Unity and Trump, log trucking companies, agricultural and mining companies, and right-wing militias. Both Miller and Freres have been major contributors to Republican candidates and campaigns over the years, donating well over $3 million between the two of them. In their opposition to climate change legislation, Miller and Timber Unity PAC’s interests are aligned with Wall Street real estate investors who own at least 40% of private forest lands in western Oregon and with corporations such as Koch Industries, owner of Georgia-Pacific and its Oregon paper mills. Corporate tactics have included threatening employees with job layoffs if climate legislation is enacted. Georgia-Pacific, for example, threatened to close its Wauna Paper Mill. Wauna employees joined Timber Unity believing that if climate legislation passed, they would lose their jobs. Timber Unity has been credited with organizing walkouts by GOP legislators during the 2019 and 2020 sessions, which prevented voting on climate legislation and other essential legislation Consolidated Oregon Indivisible Network (COIN) created the Oregon Democracy Project to combat the influence of Timber Unity. Their Facebook page has a wealth of information about Timber Unity and how you can take action to spread the word about the organization’s mission and tactics. It is vital that we all inform ourselves about the forces that are undermining Oregon’s future for the sake of personal profit. 

One Small Thing-PDX Meeting September 30 @ 5:30 Learn about Key November Ballot Measures

Stay informed and stay engaged by joining One Small Thing members at our September 30 Zoom event from 5:30 – 7 pm. We will hear from leaders working to pass key ballot measures on the November 3 ballot along with actions you can take to support their passage:

  • the Campaign Finance Amendment to the Oregon Constitution to allow campaign finance reform

  • tobacco/vaping tax to fund the Oregon Health Plan

  • Multnomah County Library Bond measure

You can make a difference on state and local measures at time when so much attention is on the Biden vs Trump race and out-of-state candidates. Register now HERE and receive the Zoom link to attend.  Be part of the massive blue wave for local and state candidates and ballot measures in addition to the presidential race!

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