As an Army combat veteran, Christian ministries graduate student, Oregon City resident and mother of two tenacious daughters, I would like to add my voice to those calling for the recall of Mayor Dan Holladay.
Previous op-eds have pointed out Holladay's abuses of office, and I would like to add his treatment of women to the long list of reasons why he is unfit to be the leader of our city.
Many residents do not know that Holladay has been the subject of not just one, but two restraining orders for domestic abuse, and Clackamas County Circuit Judge Douglas Van Dyk concluded that Holladay had intentionally hit his wife. His aggressive and abusive behavior toward women did not end there; it has continued in our community throughout his terms in office. Here are just a few examples:
When a registered sex offender was allowed to open a halfway home in Oregon City, residents voiced their strong concerns to Holladay. In a social media conversation about this opposition, a resident shared that she had been a victim of sexual abuse herself.
Holladay dismissed her lived experience and belittled her in his response by replying, "#notmetoo." Even though he deleted the comment within minutes, he failed to acknowledge that this behavior contributes to rape culture and makes survivors of rape and sexual assault even more reluctant to use their voices.
When another female resident asked him, "So you find sexual assault and degrading women funny?" Holladay responded by saying, "I'm sorry you have no sense of humor." As a survivor of rape and sexual abuse, I find this dismissal and lack of accountability horrifying and unacceptable from someone in a position of power.
When someone asked for recommendations for a home cleaning service in a local group, Holladay responded with, "Get married," thus feeding into the toxic gender stereotypes that hinders growth in our community.
In another social media exchange with a female resident, Holladay said, "Thank you for taking your meds," in an attempt to sarcastically say she was crazy. Women throughout history have been dismissed and cast aside as crazy so as to invalidate their concerns. It is the duty of a leader to set the example of how to treat your neighbor, and instead of taking the opportunity to engage a concerned citizen of our city, he made a personal attack.
When a female resident called out a sexist comment he had made on social media, he told her she could "go back to the kitchen and make [him] a sandwich."
When running for reelection, Holladay refused to sign a set of debate ground rules that were written by the League of Women Voters. He kept the audience waiting for 30 minutes while he argued about signing. When he finally gave in and signed the ground rules, he mouthed F-you (without the edit) toward the host in such an obvious way that the audience saw it, and he was forced to apologize later.
During commission meetings, he insists that female commissioners refer to him as "mayor," yet he will get up and leave in the middle of meetings so he will not have to listen to them. Actions speak louder than words, and his actions show that he does not respect his female counterparts.
If anyone reading this is considering whether they should sign the petition to recall Dan Holladay, I ask that you consider his treatment of women as one of the many reasons why he is unfit for office. I want to raise my daughters in a community that values and respects them. We cannot accept an elected official who degrades and abuses women.
Signatures to put a recall on the ballot are due Sept. 21. Please visit recalldanholladay.com for more information or return the circulation petition with your signature if you received one in the mail.
Heidi Chang is an Oregon City resident, Army combat veteran and mother of two. She has a bachelor's degree in history and a minor in political science from George Fox University.
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