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Resolution fails to serve Oregon Republicans

Oregon Republicans have been effectively shut out of the decision-making process in Salem for some time by virtue of the Democratic Party’s voter registration advantage. This has left GOP lawmakers from rural parts of the state understandably frustrated. But a resolution adopted by the state Republican Party organization earlier this month that backs conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol is unlikely to win over many voters.

The resolution, adopted Jan. 19 by the executive committee of the state party, condemns the 10 U.S. House members who voted to impeach President Donald Trump, likening them to Revolutionary War traitor Benedict Arnold:

“Whereas the 10 Republican House members, by voting to impeach President Trump, repeated history by conspiring to surrender our nation to Leftist forces seeking to establish a dictatorship void of all cherished freedoms and liberties,” The resolution says in part.

The resolution also says the storming of the Capitol was actually a “false flag operation” planned by Democrats to discredit then President Donald Trump and support efforts by incoming President Joe Biden to adopt new domestic terrorism legislation and “advance the Democrat goal of seizing total power.”

There is no evidence for any of this. The mob that stormed the Capitol was composed of Trump supporters, some of whom espoused the conspiracy theories of the “QAnon” movement. Others were members of extremist groups that supported false claims that the presidential election was “stolen.”

The Oregon GOP resolution does not reflect the state party as a whole, nor all Republican voters, nor Republican elected officials. It was adopted by the party’s executive committee, which consists of party leaders and chairs from the state’s congressional districts.

Every Republican member of the Oregon House of Representatives, including the four who represent parts of Jackson County, joined in a statement Wednesday rejecting the party resolution, calling it a distraction and saying, “there is no credible evidence to support false flag claims.”

“Vaccines are not going to our most vulnerable, our students are still not in a safe classroom setting, main street businesses are in a tailspin, our health data is a mess and here we are, talking about a political party resolution,” the caucus wrote. “The election is over. It is time to govern.”

The House GOP caucus includes Reps. Kim Wallan, R-Medford, Vikki Breese Iverson, R-Prineville, Duane Stark, R-Grants Pass and Gary Leif, R-Roseburg.

Oregon Republican voters often have good reason to feel their voices are not being heard by the majority party in Salem. But their party leaders do them no favors by advancing false claims about what’s happening in Washington, D.C. while ignoring issues important to Oregon residents.

It’s time for new leadership in the Oregon Republican Party. Its members deserve better.

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