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Austin Throop still rails against Trump but hopes to represent Madras voters well

PAT KRUIS/MADRAS PIONEER
 - Austin Throop checks out his nameplate at the council chambers at Madras City Hall.

Austin Throop, 30, promises to be impartial when he takes his seat on the Madras City Council in January. Yet his strongly worded criticisms against the Republican party, and specifically against President Donald Trump, give his constituents reason to watch him closely.

Four candidates ran for three openings on the council. Incumbents Jennifer Holcomb and Gary Walker retained their seats. Austin Throop beat opponent Mathew Birchard by 47 votes.

In his post-election letter to the editor of this newspaper, Throop wrote: "While Republicans and Trump Regime Loyalists cried about 'socialism' and 'rigging the election,' the Democratic party put all this aside to demonstrate adult behavior."

Throop openly rails against "Trumpism" in a county that voted 60/40 in favor of the President Trump. "He (Trump) has weaponized ignorance. Individuals who do not want to be educated but still want to have a say in how things are done … that is one of the biggest challenges I think we face in this country is the their ignorance and the power behind that ignorance."

While that scolding didn't sit well with some readers, Throop points out Trump won the City of Madras by a much smaller margin than in Jefferson County, and that his opinions about Trump receive positive feedback as well.

"I think it's very important that individuals like myself are elected in, and so I'm grateful that the City of Madras has done so."

Throop realizes he's young and inexperienced. He has a healthy respect for the responsibility and the learning curve in front of him.

"I realize it's important for me to listen. I don't want to go in guns blazing. I want to get advice from people who have been running the city for a long time. They're doing a great job as far as I'm concerned."

Austin Throop grew up in Madras. He pieces together a living as an independent web developer. He also tests video games for companies like Nintendo, creates his own video games, and produces songs in his music studio.

PAT KRUIS/MADRAS PIONEER
 - Austin Throop joins the Madras City Council in January. His reputation heading into the election was primarily as a writer of far-left letters to the editor. He says he expects to learn a lot initially on the council but also hopes to represent people who often go unrepresented. 
His father, Michael Throop, served as the Jefferson County Sheriff from 1989 to 1997. His mother, Judy Throop, worked in administration at the Madras Police Department. Being the son of civil servants gave Austin Throop a desire to enter public service. "Absolutely. From a very young age I got to see how people in those positions got to respond to things."

Police relations are a priority for Throop. He says he believes in Black Lives Matter. He considers the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor tragic murders, but also supports police. "There are cops who want to do their best and try to do their best." Throop's brother is a police officer in Astoria. "I hope to God that he comes home every night."

"I would love to get involved in a police commission, to open up the dialogue to see what changes the police would like, and what the people would like."

Throop describes himself as an agnostic, a progressive and an ally of the LGBTQ community.

"One of the things I've noticed in Madras is the LGBTQ crowd is not as confident being in the public. I have friends who don't feel safe. I don't think necessarily that's the fault of the town. It's just a perception. I would like to normalize their presence, so they're not thought of as 'others'."

Throop says he has discontinued his affiliation with the Jefferson County Democrats in order to appear more non-partisan. He plans to reach out to the Latino and Native American communities.

Still, don't expect Throop to back down on his rhetoric about Donald Trump and his supporters.

"In an age of demagoguery, and treachery and Trumpism, you can count on me to call out, to not let hate be the standard."

"Make no mistake," says Throop, "I will not treat people badly because they voted for Trump." He believes once the conversation moves past Trump, "we're going to find a lot in common, family members with the same issues, the same medical problems. We're going to have similar issues and we're going to have to find answers for them."

"I think my biggest thing would just be asking those who don't agree with me to give me a chance, an honest chance, to show I can be non-partisan in my approach. Plus, my door is always open for criticism, I just ask that people be civil in doing so."

Despite his own strongly worded criticisms of Trump, Throop hopes the rhetoric in Madras stays civil. "I would love for it to be much more about love, compassion, moderation and allowing others the space to be themselves."

For the moment, Throop doesn't look beyond Madras in terms of his political aspirations. Someday, however, he wouldn't mind being a congressman.


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