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‘Offensive’ video shocks both candidates

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Senate District 3 candidate Jessica Gomez and other Republican leaders have denounced a video circulating on social media as “hateful and racist.”

“I found it offensive, very offensive,” Gomez said of the video produced by the political action committee Mi Voz Cuenta. “This is just not healthy for our community in general.”

The video, which has simple illustrations of a forest, an ax and a chainsaw, states, “Just because someone’s name sounds Latino doesn’t mean they support programs that benefit our community. Don’t be an axe (sic). Vote for Jeff Golden for state Senate.”

Golden said he knew nothing about the video, which he said comes from a local advocacy group.

“There is no case to say things like this about my opponent,” he said. “Anyone who supports me, I would hope it’s based on positive things about me and not swipes about my opponent.”

Kathy Keesee, who is listed with the Oregon Secretary of State as affiliated with the Medford-based Mi Voz Cuenta (my voice counts) PAC, said, “It’s nothing against Jessica Gomez. It’s about the party she represents.”

Gomez, despite what she might say during the campaign, will still vote along with other Republicans on issues that hurt the Latino community, said Keesee.

“In the past, we’ve seen the Republicans support the party line,” said Keesee, who is not Latina.

She said the video is not sponsored by the Jeff Golden for Senate campaign and is not racist.

At the end of the video, it states, “not paid for or authorized by Golden for Senate.”

Both the Golden and Gomez campaigns were not notified in advance about the release of the video, Keesee said.

She said Golden, in his speeches and conversations, appears to support the Latino community more than Gomez.

“I’ve observed him in several debates,” Keesee said. “He came out strongly against 105.” Measure 105, which Gomez also doesn’t support, would get rid of a state sanctuary law that restricts local law enforcement from working with federal immigration officials in certain situations.

Golden also believes in the Latino workers in this area and has expressed strong support for the workers impacted by the smoke over the summer, Keesee said.

“One of our biggest concerns is that Republicans are not supportive of programs for the Latino community,” she said. “They support very anti-immigrant legislation.”

Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, in a prepared statement from the Gomez campaign, denounced the veiled references to Gomez in the video. “This type of hateful, racist speech is exactly what we don’t need in Oregon politics today,” she said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him @reporterdm.

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