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Guest Opinion: Fool us twice, shame on us

There is a saying: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

That describes the situation we all face now that State Sen. Alan DeBoer has announced that he will not defend his record by running for re-election in November.

When DeBoer ran in 2016, he promised he would not automatically follow the increasingly right-wing partisan stands of his party.

“Trust me,” he said. Since he had no record as a state legislator, he was able to lead voters to believe he was on their side, without making firm commitments.

He said his large business gave him the know-how to “increase funding and make schools the priority,” “cut overcrowding in our classrooms,” and ensure “quality, affordable health care for all Oregonians.”

He also promised progress on affordable housing, homeless issues and senior care.

In the Oct. 17, 2016 Mail Tribune, he said he would support “closing loopholes to make sure that everyone, including corporations mentioned in Measure 97 (the 400 largest corporations operating in the state), pays their fair share.”

Echoing these promises, some of the Democratic corporate and political establishment abandoned their well-qualified candidate and helped DeBoer garner just enough crossover votes to eke out a 390-vote victory. He was, after all, a “nice guy” who had contributed to community causes.

So how did that work out for the people of Jackson County?

DeBoer got to Salem and voted with his party.

He opposed proposals opposed by the corporate special interests that funded his campaign, including Walmart, Chevron, Phillips 66, BP, Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, American Insurance Association, Liberty Mutual, The Hartford, Travelers Indemnity, Allstate, Oregon Realtors Political Action Committee, Natural Gas PAC, and AG-PAC, which represents the interests of companies like Monsanto and Syngenta.

After insurance companies were added to the big corporations to be taxed, he voted against a bill that saved health coverage for 350,000 Oregonians.

When he told supporters of the Clean Energy Jobs bill that the proposal needed revisions, they asked him to help make it a bill he could support, but he said he was “too busy.”

He voted against protecting tenants of the state’s largest landlords from being thrown out on the street without cause.

He voted not to require health insurance plans to cover reproductive health services, including contraceptives.

He voted not to require huge companies like Walmart to provide work schedules a reasonable time in advance so workers can plan for care of their kids or doctor appointments.

He voted against a bill to prevent exploitation of disabled or elderly people.

Now, he apparently has chosen a successor as the candidate of his party — someone who has no record to defend, also represents big business, is seen by a lot of people as a “nice person,” and can make the same vague promises of independence, nonpartisanship and “caring” about the issues that DeBoer didn’t keep.

That didn’t yield a state senator who represents the public interest last time. Maybe we should try something different.

— Matt Witt is a writer and photographer in Talent.