Last Friday the Salem City Club had a debate via Zoom between Deb Patterson and Denyc Boles, who are running for the Senate District 10 seat in the Oregon legislature. A libertarian candidate also took part in the debate, but he has a virtually zero chance of winning.
I favored Deb Patterson, the Democrat, before the debate. After it, I favored Patterson even more, because I learned how bad Denyc Boles, the Republican, really is. I'll explain below.
Boles came across as a right-wing politician who is trying to look more moderate than she really is. That's a typical campaign ploy for Republicans in Oregon, especially in swing districts like Senate District 10.
They talk middle of the road while trying to be elected. (Boles was appointed to her seat after Jackie Winters died, so this is her first election as a state senator.) Then they veer strongly rightward if they succeed in making it to the legislature.
To her credit, Denyc Boles didn't try to hide the fact that she is strongly against a woman's right to choose to have an abortion. So this is one key issue that shows how extreme Boles is. Patterson defended a woman's right to choose.
What should disturb Democrats and non-affiliated voters just as much, if not more, is that Boles doesn't want Oregon to reduce the carbon pollution that is fueling global warming, and thus drying out our forests, creating conditions for highly destructive wildfires.
I got to ask Boles a question about this in the Q&A part of the debate. It was:
Senator Boles, you have received many thousands of dollars of campaign contributions from the fossil fuel and logging industries, including the Koch Brothers, Chevron, BP, Tesoro, and Weyerhaeuser. How did that influence your decision to participate in the Republican walk-out last February to prevent passage of important legislation to address the Climate Emergency which recently has destroyed entire communities in Oregon?
Boles responded that she didn't like the implication that her vote can be bought. But that wasn't really the point of my question.
It is difficult to prove that a politician acted a certain way because they got money from special interests. However, it is easy to show that a politician got money from special interests because they know how the politician will act.
Here's a table based on campaign finance reports filed by Denyc Boles that someone sent me.
I made a screenshot of contributions of $5,000 or more. The highlighted contributors have a special interest in defeating legislation that reduces carbon pollution in Oregon. Boles has gotten a lot of money from them, as she has from Oregon Right to Life and other right-wing special interests.
By contrast, Deb Patterson said that she is in favor of creating clean energy jobs in Oregon.
This year Denyc Boles walked out of a legislative session where bills to reduce wildfire risk in our state likely would have passed if the Republicans hadn't gone on a paid vacation to deny the quorum needed to do the people's business.
So if you live in Senate District 10, vote for Deb Patterson. Her web site contains information about Patterson's background (she's a minister) and positions on key issues.