It's official: Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam is campaigning for the 2022 Republican nomination in the race to be governor.
Pulliam announced his gubernatorial candidacy Tuesday, Sept. 7, during a Meinig Memorial Park press conference. Candidates can file for the May 2022 primary election beginning Thursday, Sept. 9. The filing deadline is March 8, 2022.
Pulliam considers his involvement in spearheading the "Open Oregon" movement in January the impetus of his decision to explore running for governor. The "Open Oregon" movement encouraged businesses to reopen New Year's Day, under lesser COVID-19 restrictions than what was mandated at the time.
"Today, what began in a room full of owners of shuttered Main Street businesses, later joined by parents and neighbors of all backgrounds as an alliance of Oregonians ready to fight back, has grown into a movement that brings me here today," Pulliam said. "Today, I am announcing my candidacy for governor of Oregon."
"After exploring and seeing the groundswell of support we've gotten from financial contributions to volunteers and support, it's really been overwhelming for us to step into this race," Pulliam added.
This announcement has been live-streamed on Facebook at facebook.com/mayorstanpulliam.
About 35 local business owners, community members and families, as well as Pulliam's colleague Sandy City Councilor Carl Exner, were in attendance to support him.
"We will return the rule of law to our cities," Pulliam said. "We will defend our constitutional rights in the onslaught of executive orders. We will clean up our streets and hold criminals accountable. We will show gratitude for our Main Street small business owners and remove the painful and arbitrary rules and restrictions that have forced them to close. We will open our schools to students and prepare them for the real world. We will respect life and protect the unborn. We will enact policies that make Oregon affordable again. And, we will never apologize for being the greatest nation in the history of the world."
In the past, Pulliam has often vocally opposed decisions by Gov. Kate Brown during the COVID-19 pandemic, taking to local media like Pamplin Media Group and national programs like Lars Larson's radio show and Fox News' Fox & Friends to disparage Brown's attempts to slow spread of the novel coronavirus and question data the state used to justify business restrictions.
Pulliam has likewise criticized the leadership and management of Portland during the past year, saying the city "has become a national laughingstock of failed policies that have turned a once beautiful city into a graffiti covered war zone of boarded-up businesses, open drug use and skyrocketing violence."
More recently, Pulliam made a proposal to Sandy City Council that the city acquire three presidential statues from Portland, which were toppled last year by protestors.
"It is unconscionable that these symbols of virtue and American exceptionalism remain spray-painted and locked away because a handful of insurgent mischief makers have hijacked Oregon's largest city," Pulliam said. "We should celebrate the things that should be celebrated and learn from the things that shouldn't. A statue can do both."
Discussion of the proposal was tabled but is to be continued by the council at a later date.
"Our current governor has ruled with a cold smugness inside a bubble of the ruling elite and special interests that continue to craft backroom deals, ignore scientific evidence of lockdown effectiveness, and prioritize the wish lists of her campaign contributors," Pulliam said in April 2021. "Maybe it's time for a different approach. Maybe Oregon needs a mayor."
Pulliam's role as a locally elected official is what he feels sets his apart from other potential opponents. "I've had the responsibility of working with our local police and law enforcement, city growth and business climate," he explained. "I think the experience of serving on the front line has really prepared me to go down this path."
Since announcing his exploratory committee in April, Pulliam's team has raised $300,000 through a listening tour around the state; made volunteer support connections in all 36 counties and received 45 endorsements from current and former mayors, county commissioners, city councilors and school board members.
When asked how he intends to garner Democratic and bipartisan support, Pulliam said he sees a lot of "unity in local control and empowering local neighbors and parents alike to make the decisions that affect them most in their own communities."
"We've all made the decision — for the most part, for the same reasons — to live in the communities that we do," he added. "The decisions are best made by those of us that have stake in the game for our community's future."
Pulliam added that while it would be sad to leave the position of mayor of Sandy — "a position that I've enjoyed so much" — for office in Salem, he thinks "being governor of the state would allow me to do so much more."
"(I'd be able to so much) not just for my community of Sandy, but for all the communities like Sandy," he explained.
Pulliam plans to file with the Secretary of State as soon as possible and continue to tour the state in an effort to raise fund and support and also hear concerns of other Oregonians.
"I look around my hometown of Sandy and still recognize the Oregon from my childhood," said Pulliam. "I still believe in it. And as I've traveled the state, I've seen more places like Sandy. From Coos Bay to Baker City, and from Klamath Falls to Pendleton. It's time to unite our state and return Oregon to its former glory as a symbol of that pioneer spirit and freedom that compelled generations to make their way across the Oregon Trail."
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