Petitions and other political exercises from the Columbia County Republicans and the Columbia County Democrats are making their way through the county, offering residents a chance to get politically active at the Columbia County Fair & Rodeo and at other similar upcoming events.
At the Columbia County Fair & Rodeo, which took place on July 17-21, both the Columbia County Republicans and the Columbia County Democrats had booths set up to host different political exercises.
The GOP table hosted three petitions– two of which, R-2019-02 and R-2019-03, were to recall Gov. Kate Brown, and one, called the Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance (SASO), which is to add a ballot measure in November to amend the Oregon Constitution to make it so the county will not be able to enforce any gun laws.
The petitions to recall Brown are affiliated with two different organizations – the Oregon Republican Party (ORP), and a non-partisan group called Flush Down Kate Brown.
Sarah Hepner of St. Helens, a volunteer and activist with the group Moms for Medical Freedom, said the reason for having two petitions was to amass as many signatures as possible.
“We’ve been working on getting them both out there, we don’t care who recalls her as long as she gets recalled,” Hepner said.
The reasons for recalling the current governor are listed on both petitions. The ORP petition states, among other reasons, that Brown has “overturned the will of the voters by reversing ballot measures that limited taxation, overturned the will of the voters by granting drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens, denied citizens the right to fully protect themselves as guaranteed by the Constitution, and repeatedly supported the use of the emergency clause on non-emergency legislation,” among other reasons.
Brown’s use of the Emergency Clause, a political process that enables bills to pass the house without two-thirds of the vote, was something that Hepner said is a big frustration among many Republicans in the county. One bill on which Brown supported the emergency clause was House Bill 3063, which bans children from attending either public or private schools if they have not been vaccinated for certain diseases.
“It’s such a threat to us as mothers to try to tell us what we can and can’t do with our kids. The government should never step into your home and tell you what to do with your kids,” Hepner said.
The SASO petition, also at the fair, is similar to the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance (SAPO), which Columbia County voters may remember from last year.
Chris Brumbles of Deer Island, and Chief Petitioner, explained the subtle differences to the two laws to the Chronicle.
SAPO, according to Brumbles, “made it illegal for the county to enforce any unconstitutional gun laws written since 2012,” Brumbles said adding, SASO won’t be able to enforce any gun laws, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
So far, Brumbles’ petition has collected over 900 signatures. Brumbles said that the petition needs 1,477 “but we’re probably going to have to get about 2,100 or 2,200, which should be no problem. I think we’re going to get these signatures by the end of summer.”
This is the third rendition of the petition, which Brumbles had to re-submit four times. The Columbia County Circuit Court accepted the third petition on May 6 of this year, according to Brumbles.
If added to the November ballot and passed, it would make Columbia County a “sanctuary” for guns, so that residents can own and use guns, regardless of laws passed in Salem.
The Columbia County Democrats also had a booth at their table to hold a mock election for the Democratic presidential nominee. According to Greg Pettit, Columbia County Democrats Central Committee (CCDCC) Chair, the election had 368 total votes, with Elizabeth Warren coming in first place with 103 votes, and Kamala Harris coming in second with 66 votes.
In addition to the mock election, the Columbia County Democrats also had a spinning wheel that landed on different issues about climate change, and children had to stick a band-aid on the area of the world that was affected by that particular issue.
In other political activity, the Columbia County Democrats passed a resolution to impeach President Donald Trump during their regular meeting on May 28.
Reasons for impeaching are outlined in the resolution. Stated among the reasons are that the Mueller report “enumerated multiple instances of possible obstruction of justice by the President, such as his firing of FBI Director Comey and his implying that loyal witnesses may receive pardons.”
Pettit said that he believes, apart from legal issues with the presidency, Trump has done nothing to help citizens economically.
“I think if people could objectively look at the policies, what’s going to be best for the working class, that in the Trump administration, he’s really done nothing for the working class in this country,” Pettit said.
Pettit said the resolution carries no weight, but simply sends a message. The CCDCC sent the resolution to U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkeley, and U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici, stating their viewpoint.
Pettit said the Democrats discussed having a petition to impeach Trump at the fair and decided against it. “I felt that we should stay away from issues that divide the country,” Pettit said, also adding that at this point in the election cycle, it was better to focus on electing what they hope will be a new Democratic president.
The different political activities from the groups will be available at upcoming Columbia County events. CCDCC is planning on being at the Scappoose Sauerkraut Festival on September 14. Petitions from the Columbia County Republicans will also be available at other county events, like the Scappoose Sauerkraut Festival on September 14, the Clatskanie Festival from August 2-5, and the Vernonia Friendship Jamboree and Logging Show, from August 2-5 to get more signatures.