Capitol building should be open to the public
Oregon Republican House District 23 Representative Mike Nearman has released the following statement:
On January 7, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek put out a statement on Capitol operations for the upcoming session. One of the priorities listed in the statement was "Safety – for the public, building employees, legislators and their staff." During their press conference, Speaker Kotek told the press that I “did open a door to allow demonstrators into the building.” For the last few days, I and my family have been subjected to criticism, attacks at my home and threats via email, social media and phone. Many of these messages have been hate-filled and profanity laced.
After several terms in the legislature, I've grown thick skin -- and while nobody likes to be called names and described in profane language -- I can handle it as part of the job that I do, just as I was able to handle the hundreds of public union protestors who waged a physical attack on the House chamber in 2015, as the House held a floor session.
As the Speaker pretends to know my motivations, I will guess at some of hers. The fact that she was in possession of a video for sixteen days, and only chose to reveal the video and implicate me on the day after an ugly mob descended on the Capitol in Washington, DC, tells me that her motivations are about politics and not about safety. The timing of the release is not lost on my wife, who has also had to endure a share of attacks.
I hope for due process, and not the mob justice to which Speaker Kotek is subjecting me. I also hope for a similar outcome enjoyed by her staffer, who was arrested in September for a class-A misdemeanor for interfering with a peace officer, never charged and kept her job. The District Attorney, Mike Schmidt, who never charged the Speaker's staffer for her participation in the Portland riots, was endorsed by Speaker Kotek. So much for a commitment to public safety.
I don't condone violence nor participate in it. I do think that when Article IV, Section 14 of the Oregon Constitution says that the legislative proceedings shall be "open," it means open, and as anyone who has spent the last nine months staring at a screen doing virtual meetings will tell you, it's not the same thing as being open.
Where is the media and why aren't they asking the tough questions of the Speaker? For instance, "When did you acquire the video?", "Why did you wait 16 days until January 7 to release the video?", "Did it occur to you that releasing that video on the day after the unrest in Washington, DC, that there might be a safety impact to Rep. Nearman?", "How do you know what Rep. Nearman's intent was?", "Is it hypocritical of you to employ a person who is accused of directly interfering with a police officer, while calling out Rep. Nearman for walking out a door?", and "When you publicly implicate Rep. Nearman, do you think that impacts his due process and ability to get a fair outcome?" Questions like these would expose the political nature of what is really going on.
I implore the Capitol leadership to open the building to the public as required by the Oregon Constitution.
|Post Date: 2021-01-12 16:52:42||Last Update: 2021-01-12 17:13:30|