A recall effort has been filed taking aim at removing Sen. Chuck Thomsen, R-Hood River, from office. The cause: The GOP walkout.
Lara Dunn of Hood River filed the recall petition on Wednesday, March 4, with the Oregon Secretary of State's office in Salem.
Thomsen represents Senate District 26, which covers a large geographic swath from Hood River County on the east side of Mount Hood, and westward through the Columbia River Gorge, Welches, Sandy, Corbett, East Gresham, Damascus, Happy Valley and a small portion of Southeast Portland.
In her petition, Dunn wrote that "Sen. Chuck Thomsen broke his promise to represent us in the Legislature. He stopped going to work, but still collected his taxpayer-funded salary and daily stipend. He must be recalled and replaced by someone who will show up and fight for our jobs, our schools, our health care and our cities."
Sen. Thomsen is among the 11 Oregon senators who boycotted the Democrat-led effort to pass cap-and-trade legislation by walking out of the legislative session and disappearing to parts unknown. The mandatory end of the short 2020 session, which began in February, is Sunday, March 8.
Contacted by text message, Thomsen told the Sandy Post and Gresham Outlook — sister publications of the Tribune — that he had not been notified of the recall, but added: "If keeping cap-and-trade from happening in Oregon leads to that (recall), at least I went down swinging."
Senate Bill 1530 — the cap-and-trade policy at the center of the Republican walkout — aims to shrink the state's carbon emissions and to generate revenue for environmental projects.
Oregon Republicans bristle at cap-and-trade, describing the policy as merely a cash grab and citing that Oregon has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the United States.
The Oregon GOP has asked that the legislation be referred to the voters, but Thomsen said in an earlier interview that Democrats fear that the legislation would not survive a statewide vote as the cost for consumers came into full perspective.
Dunn, who filed the recall effort, describes herself as a mom and community member who has lived in Hood River for more than 20 years. She serves in elected office on the Columbia Area Transit.
She faces a fairly daunting task of qualifying the recall for the ballot.
The effort requires 9,025 valid signatures by June 2.
"I'll be trying to engage the entire community, and as many as possible to volunteer to gather signatures," Dunn said. "I've already heard interest from so many people."
Once signatures are turned in, the Secretary of State's Office will have 10 days to verify signatures. If validated, Thomsen would have five days to resign or provide a statement to appear on the ballot. The election would have to occur no later than 35 days after that deadline.
"Sen. Thomsen's refusal to show up for work has blocked bills to grow small businesses, strengthen schools, protect healthcare, and provide emergency funding for housing, floods and wildfires," Dunn said. "His refusal to do his job is hurting our community."
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