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Lara Dunn of Hood River concedes effort to recall Sen. Chuck Thomsen, but pledges to help elect 'someone who will show up and work to protect our jobs, our schools, our healthcare and our future.'

LARA DUNNEarlier this spring I filed a petition to recall Sen. Chuck Thomsen to hold him accountable for violating his oath and failing to do the job he was elected to do.

The response from the community was immediate and overwhelming. Voters in Senate District 26 were eager to recall Thomsen for deserting his constituents. A team of signature gatherers collected over 2,600 signatures in just a few short weeks. We were on track to gather the required 9,025 signatures, well ahead of the June 2 deadline.

However, because of the restrictions required to keep Oregonians safe during the Covid-19 crisis, in-person signature gathering had to stop abruptly, and it became impossible to maintain our pace. Still, hundreds more voters took action individually by locating the petition online, printing it and mailing in their signatures.

I am certain that had we not been held back by social distancing measures, Sen. Thomsen would be subject to a recall vote right now. And given the community response over the past few months, I believe our district's voters would have chosen to recall Thomsen for breaking his promise to represent us.

My neighbors and community members know that Sen. Thomsen's actions harmed our community by blocking bills that would have stimulated small business growth, strengthened schools, protected healthcare, paid for search and rescue and provided emergency funding for housing, floods and wildfires.

The recall effort was fueled by the heartfelt support and unflagging involvement of community groups like the Indivisible Columbia Gorge, Columbia Gorge Women's Action Network, Hood River County Democrats, Clackamas County Democrats, Multnomah County Democrats, and many others. But more remarkable were the tireless efforts of hundreds of volunteers throughout the district. We're so grateful for their support and inspired by their action.

In this uncertain time, one thing is certain: We cannot allow a disagreement on a single issue to sabotage the government's response to the challenges our state is facing. The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that now, more than ever, we are all in this together and we need all of our elected representatives to do their jobs and ensure Oregonians are safe and supported — now and in the future.

When I announced the recall, I said that I would never walk away from my job in a moment of conflict, or abandon my duties rather than do the hard work of negotiating and finding solutions.

And I'm not walking away from holding Sen. Thomsen accountable for his failed leadership.

I'll join forces with other volunteers to continue to fight for our community, and work to replace Sen. Thomsen with someone who will show up and work to protect our jobs, our schools, our healthcare and our future.

Lara Dunn is a parent and community member who has lived in Hood River for more than 20 years. She serves in elected office on the Columbia Area Transit.

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