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A new political action committee - Mt. Hood First - has formed to back like-minded political candidates. Its first public demonstration is a show of support for Republican Sen. Chuck Thomsen.

    Mt. Hood First PAC and a coalition of local residents are rallying behind Sen. Chuck Thomsen and the GOP boycott of statewide cap-and-trade legislation.

Sen. Chuck ThomsenThomsen is among the Republican senators who is showing his opposition to the cap-and-trade bill — SB 1530 — by walking out of the short session on Feb. 27 and disappearing to parts unknown.

The walkout denied a quorum of senators, a requirement for conducting formal Senate business. It also stalled any forward movement on any other legislation under consideration, with the session expected to conclude on March 8.

"Our intention is to show solidarity for Sen. Chuck Thomsen amid the current Senate and House GOP boycott of cap-and-trade," said Stan Pulliam of Sandy, a board member of the recently formed Mt. Hood First PAC.

Mayor Stan PulliamThe political action committee formed several months ago, shortly after the conclusion of the 2019 legislative session, where House and Senate Democrats pursued similar cap-and-trade policy that also was defeated by a walkout by Republican senators.

"We saw a need to come together and start advocating for candidates and causes that benefit our small communities and local businesses," Pulliam said.

Pulliam, who serves as mayor of Sandy, is joined on the PAC's board by Matt Wand of Troutdale and Bob Benton of Hood River County. Wand served in the Oregon House between 2011-13, and Benton is a Hood River County commissioner.

Matt Wand"Cap-and-trade would price out a lot of local businesses and strain working families," Wand said. "The actual plan wouldn't move the needle on climate change at all."

Pulliam said the PAC has about 25 active community volunteers on the west side of Mount Hood, and a similar number in the Hood River valley.

The group formed with the intention of providing resources to like-minded political candidates.

Already, the group is distributing yard signs stating "I stand with Chuck Thomsen." The signs are beginning to appear throughout Senate District 26, which includes Hood River, Corbett, east Gresham, Boring, Sandy and Welches.

"A few (signs) went up on Saturday, then our phones just kept ringing as more folks wanted signs," Pulliam said.

In a press release, Benton of Hood River County said, "When they stopped cap-and-trade last time, groups ran kind of a smear campaign on Chuck. (Senators) had to leave the state, and it took a lot of guts. This is the least we can do."

Pulliam expressed disappointment with the Democratic super majority in the House and with Gov. Kate Brown saying "the extreme left have bitten off more than they can chew and have awoken a sleeping giant."

Mt. Hood First PAC will hold a sign pickup during a "Super Tuesday" party from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, at Paola's Pizza Barn, 38015 Highway 26, Sandy.

During the event, Sen. Thomsen will be contacted via phone.

Clackamas County chair candidate Tootie Smith and commission candidate Mark Shull will make a campaign visit to the event.

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