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Sen. Chuck Thomsen, R-Hood River, submitted this op-ed as an open letter to his constituents, responding to a recall effort launched to remove him from office.

THOMSENDear Neighbor:

My name is Chuck Thomsen. I'm a fourth-generation pear grower from Hood River and a former county commissioner and volunteer firefighter.

Most importantly, I'm a husband, father and grandfather. Since 2010, you've elected me to serve as your state senator. I've had the pleasure of meeting many of you at community events or at your front door. I've had support from Republicans, Democrats, non-affiliated voters and Independents because I've been able to get things done for the people of our district.

Now, special interest groups are backing a recall election against me. They don't like the fact that I left Salem to protect your right to vote on the highly controversial cap-and-trade bill. These downtown Portland groups will likely spend hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next few months to smear my name and remove me. These special interest groups stand to profit if cap-and-trade passes, so this is personal to them.

This reckless bill would have increased energy and fuel costs for families in Oregon by hundreds of millions of dollars without any measurable environmental benefit.

But that's not the worst part. The bill purposely blocked you from voting to undo the damage.

Why?

Because Gov. Kate Brown and too many politicians in Salem know that average Oregonians don't want and can't afford their cap-and-trade bill.

In fact, this was the third time in two years they've tried to ram this controversial bill through, only this time they wanted to make sure you couldn't do anything about it and were completely cut out of the process.

No matter how you feel about cap-and-trade, silencing voters is just wrong.

I left Salem to protect your right to vote on this bill. I will do anything to protect that right for you, even if it means being recalled. Because the politicians and special interests didn't elect me, you did.

I don't believe I should be recalled for fighting to let you have the final say on the cap-and-trade bill. I took a stand to protect your right to see what's in the bill, how it will affect you, and your right to vote on it.

Let's be clear about what this is. Gov. Brown has an extreme environmental agenda and she knows that if voters had a say, they would reject her plan like voters did twice in Washington state.

I had a decision to make: Do I stay in Salem and let Gov. Brown and special interest groups from downtown Portland take away your right to vote, or do I take a stand to protect your right to vote? That was an easy decision.

I took a stand for our community and all Oregonians' right to vote. I hope you'll stand with me.

Sen. Chuck Thomsen represents Oregon's Senate District 26.


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