Clackamas County Commission Chairman Jim Bernard attacked state Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn, in a Facebook post for her failed attempt to repeal a health care-funding package on the ballot Tuesday.

FACEBOOK - Clackamas County Chairman Jim Bernard insults state Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn, in a Facebook post Wednesday. He later deleted the post and issued an apology.Clackamas County Commission Chairman Jim Bernard has apologized for insulting state Rep. Julie Parrish on his personal Facebook page.

Bernard wrote "screw you" to the Republican lawmaker from West Linn Wednesday for her failed attempt to repeal a package of taxes to pay for health insurance for low-income Oregonians.

"I want to personally apologize for my Facebook post," Bernard wrote Thursday. "It was inappropriate and considering my stature as a leader, just plain wrong."

Voters on Tuesday overwhelmining approved the assessments on health insurance premiums, hospitals and managed care organizations, in a special election on Referendum 101.

In the initial Facebook post Wednesday, Bernard insulted Parrish by name.

"Screw you, Julie Parrish," he wrote. "You put Measure 101 on the ballot, and you lost. The same old argument that we had enough money if we cut budgets. Cut you from the Legislature!"

As first reported by Oregon Capital Insider, Bernard added a personal insult related to Parrish's former small business helping customers find the best coupon deals and her existing Twitter handle, @hotcouponmama:

"Collect all the coupons to feed your family and pay your health care."

Parrish responded on Facebook the same night by questioning the county commissioner's professionalism.

"I appreciate that politics is a rough and tumble arena, and my feelings certainly aren't hurt by this post, but I do question the professionalism of our Clackamas County Chair Jim Bernard," Parrish wrote. "His vitriolic post is also saying 'screw you' to the thousands of Clackamas residents who said 'no' to 101 that he's supposed to be representing."

During Bernard's campaign for election in November 2016, he accused his opponent, then-incumbent, John Ludlow; of being a bully, Parrish recounted.

"Look who turned out to be the bully," Parrish said.

Bernard later deleted the post and issued the apology.

He wrote that Parrish has "the right to oppose legislation and put it to the voters.

"My issue is the cost to the taxpayers and wasted money on both sides of the campaign."

The "Yes For Healthcare" campaign raised about $3 million more than the "No" side, according to campaign finance records.

Parrish, Rep. Cedric Hayden, R-Roseburg, and Rep. Sal Esiqivel, R-Medford, petitioned to put the health care-funding package on the ballot after the Legislature approved it last year.

On Tuesday, nearly 61 percent of voters approved keeping the health care-funding mechanisms.

Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau
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