Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in Oregon Politics: Mark Meek, Amanda Fritz, and the P Club
Friday, September 25, 2015
Mark Meek. There is no shortage to the number of people interested in replacing Brent Barton as Representative of House District 40. It has been reported that former State Rep. Dave Hunt is mulling it over. Now Realtor Mark Meek is telling people he might give it a go if Hunt decides against it. Insiders say that Meek may be a better candidate to hold onto the seat for the Dems. Dave Hunt spent ten years representing HD40 and during this time he made himself very unpopular in some circles. Because of this, Hunt may have a more difficult time defeating the Republican challenger Steve Newgard. If Meek does decide to run, let’s hope that this race goes better than his last race. Meek’s last foray into politics was a run for Clackamas County Clerk in 2014. That didn’t end well as he didn’t even make it out of the primary.
Commissioner Amanda Fritz. When it comes to Portland City Hall and the upcoming election, all people are talking about are Hales v. Wheeler, Novick v. (Fill in the blank). But there are three seats on the City Council up for grabs in the 2016 election, Novick’s, Hales’ and the one currently held by Commissioner Amanda Fritz. And the fact that no one is talking about the last one makes her the real winner in this election and thus, a prime candidate for the Hot Column.
Why have no challengers stepped forward? Maybe it is because she is arguably the most progressive voice on the Council. Maybe, because of all her work, including mandatory paid sick leave for employees and finding money for much needed new parks in the outer East Side, she has become very popular with the voters. Or maybe it is because she proved herself a formidable opponent four years ago when she defeated a well-funded, well-known challenger in Mary Nolan. And it wasn’t even close. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t appear she will have much to worry about come election night.
House Speaker Tina Kotek. For the last several months Planned Parenthood has been under attack after videos surfaced purportedly showing the sale of fetal tissue for scientific research. On the national level Republicans have demanded everything from the defunding of Planned Parenthood to a shutting down of the government in protest. Last week a majority of the House GOP decided to jump into this manufactured controversy.
As the Chair of the House Committee on Health Care, Representative Mitch Greenlick acquiesced to House Republicans and scheduled a hearing to discuss the matter. And he was going to go ahead with this hearing even though no representatives from Planned Parenthood were going to be present. When House Speaker Tina Kotek caught wind of this, she put the kibosh on it really quick. One can only imagine the “check your facts at the door” testimony that would have been presented at this hearing. So kudos to Representative Kotek for putting an end to this potential political theater.
Senator Bill Hansell + Representative Bill Post + Representative Carl Wilson. Dolla dolla bill y’all. The patron saints of all things conservative, Charles and David Koch, made this state a little greener this week when they dropped nearly $15k on several PACs and candidates. Who benefitted from the Koch Brothers’ largesse? Athena, Oregon’s (Look it up!) own Senator Bill Hansell got a grand. So did Representative Bill Post out of Keizer. Representative Carl Wilson from down there in Grants Pass got $2500 (They must like him more). These legislators now have something in common with the Tea Party movement, former presidential candidate Scott Walker and the right wing think tank, The Heritage Foundation. That is some good company! The Koch Brothers plan to spend close to one billion in the 2016 election cycle, so this really isn’t that much, but anything more than zero gets you in the Not Column.
The P Club. Back in 2013, the owner of The P Club, located in North Portland, decided it would be a good idea to call a member of the Rose City T-Girls, a group of transgendered women, and leave a message telling the group to stop frequenting his business because he didn’t want people starting to think the place was a ‘tranny bar’. Smooth move. Enter Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, hammer-dropper. The business was found to have violated discrimination laws and fined close to 400 large. This week the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld that decision. If that doesn’t send a message to other businesses in the state, I am not sure what will.
Darin Campbell. Darin Campbell is the lobbyist for the Portland taxi drivers. That means he has spent the last year dealing with the City trying to stave off the invasion of the car-sharing businesses Uber and Lyft. That fruitless battle was rough, but may seem like a walk in the park compared to his next one as he has filed to run for the House District 27 seat currently held by Rep. Tobias Read.
Unfortunately for Mr. Campbell, the unions already have their candidate: Registered nurse and Emerge Oregon graduate Sheri Malstrom. She already has the endorsements including Representative Rob Nosse and Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward and she has access to the money. As of this week, she has about 17k on hand which includes 10k from the Oregon Nurses PAC (and there is a lot more where that came from). In spite of all this, I wish him good luck. We need more competitive campaigns in these heavily Democratic districts and fewer coronations.
Related Slideshow: The Top 10 Most Politically Engaged States
A study by WalletHub ranked the 50 states based on their political engagement based on six key metrics, ranging from the percentage of registered voters in the 2012 presidential election to the total political contributions per adult population. Oregon ranks number 10. See which other states made the list.
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