My view: What Oregon needs in its next governor is a maverick
If you feel like your party is becoming more extreme on issues, it's because they have. If a candidate does not fall into line and support the party nearly 100%, they will be replaced with an extreme party loyalist. Candidates are no longer allowed to work with a member of the other party. Sen. Mark Hatfield, a true statesman, or Gov. Tom McCall, the "maverick," would have been primaried and shown the door today. In those days you could agree, disagree and reach a compromise based on what is best for Oregon. Yes, the Oregon we love, but are very concerned about.
Only extreme party loyalists can win the primaries and move forward to the general election. Christine Drazen has fallen into line as required to win the primary. Tina Kotek did not need to fall into line, she along with Gov. Kate Brown, and Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland developed the strategy we are living with today, what a Portland trifecta of failure. With one-party rule in Oregon, the Republicans can only file recalls, walk out of the session or threaten to join Idaho.
A Republican will not likely be elected governor in Oregon. With only 25% Republican voter registration in Oregon, the path to victory for a Republican is close to non-existent. Do the math, look at the history. Oregon has not elected a Republican governor for 40 years. The respected Republicans that have served in a statewide office, like U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, Secretary of State Bev Clarno, Labor Commissioner Jack Roberts, Antionette Hatfield (Senator Hatfield's widow) or even our former legislator, John Huffman, a Republican who represented House District 59 from 2007-17, are not supporting the Republican nominee. They have endorsed the unaffiliated candidate, former Sen. Betsy Johnson, as they are deeply concerned about Oregon and its future.
Betsy has been endorsed by the Oregon Sheriffs Association, the Oregon Chiefs of Police Association and the vast majority of the current district attorneys in Oregon.
The dark money attack ads have been unleashed, focused on Betsy. You know the ones in black and white. The extreme political parties are not sure how to handle this intruder to their coronation process. She comes with the big glasses, a little frumpy, an oversized personality, and friends on both sides of the political spectrum. That complicates things for the two parties, there is no room in the middle for anybody who will work with all of Oregon.
Here are the facts: Sen. Betsy Johnson was a registered Republican for many years but when the party began to purge itself of anybody who was pro-choice or who supported marriage equality, Betsy had no option but to change her party affiliation like so many people have done as the parties became extreme. As a Democrat, she continued to support social issues like women's rights and equality, bedrock values of who she is. Betsy also has not and will not give up on business, industry and jobs for all of Oregon. She will have nothing to do with defunding police or decriminalizing hard drugs or stand by while cities across Oregon become filled with tents, garbage and crime.
If Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a pro-choice, pro-jobs liberal, and Republican Sen. Gordon Smith, a pro-life, pro-business conservative, can set aside their differences and jointly endorse Betsy Johnson, count me in! Oregon cannot take another four years of what Tina Kotek and Kate Brown have delivered to Oregon. It's time to say enough is enough. Do not leave your party, just cast one vote for an independent leader, Sen. Betsy Johnson. She will be both a maverick for change and a statesman with an edge, for all of Oregon,
Run Betsy run for the Oregon we love.
Rick Allen of Madras is a business owner, an independent, a former Madras mayor, and former interim city manager of Madras, La Pine and Sisters.
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