Rob Brading takes on Karen Minnis

RobbradingHere at BlueOregon, there has been much criticism of GOP House Speaker Karen Minnis and her right-wing cabal. While the House Democrats are working to take back a majority statewide, there's a Democrat who will take on the speaker in her own district.

This morning on KPOJ's Thom Hartmann Show, Rob Brading announced his campaign. Last year, he fell short in one of the closest legislative races in the state.

Who is Rob Brading? From the House Democrats blog:

Executive Director at Multnomah Community Television - Past President of the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce. Seven years on the Board of Directors. - Tri-Met’s Transit for Livability Task Force. - Gresham’s Police Advisory Committee. - Gresham Centennial Planning Committee. - Gresham Citizens Strategic Planning Committee. - East County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors. - Current member, Multnomah County Library Advisory Board. - Former member, Oregon Public Affairs Network Board of Directors.

What's his critique on Karen Minnis?

"It's like we really don't have a representative. When you look at her record it seems like Karen Minnis might need a roadmap to find the 49th district. She uses her power and spends her time serving big corporations and powerful executives from Houston, Manhattan, California, Delaware, Atlanta and New Jersey, who have all bankrolled her campaigns. But her mistaken priorities in the legislature means she forgets all about the citizens who depend on her to do the right thing."

So, if you're one of the folks who wants to see an end to 16 years of right-wing control of the Legislature, then head on over to Rob Brading for State Representative and sign up. Then, head over to the House Democrats and sign up there, too.

Tonight: Join Rob at his campaign kick-off party tonight at 6 p.m. Edgefield McMenamin's, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale.


  • Winston Wolfe (unverified)

    To all those nice people trying to help, just remember that Rob running in Gresham, not Downtown. You must be Moderate, Moderate, Moderate (I'm talking to you BRO!)

    Good Luck Rob,


  • dmrusso (unverified)

    I just love censorship! Granted, there is an importance in finding common ground and broadening the tent, but Civil Unions which BRO is for as were a majority of Oregonians and legislators while Minnis was against is MODERATE.

    Also, if I am correct, Rob closed to a tight race in 2004 despite the Republicans "Oh, my God... they Gays will ruin everything" scare. He did this being outspent... 7 to 1, I believe? So, whether or not BRO brings up any issues, they WILL be brought up by Republicans. That is the only way they can get people out to vote in an off election in greater numbers.

  • James (unverified)

    I met Rob during his last campaign. He is a class act and an incredibly hard worker. I did some canvassing for him last time and always looked forward to seeing him.

    All the attention he is receiving is richly deserved so I hope everyone will consider helping him out. (And I'm feeling bad since I won't be able to make the party tonight until late.)

  • Red Oregon Lurker (unverified)

    Why are you so scared of the big bad BRO? Embrace who you really are Blue Oregon!

    Without their support his uphill battle becomes even steeper. BlueOregon always attempts to paint a picture of Minnis, defining her by her enemies (BRO being one of them).

    Be honest about what his campaign is about. A Portland style liberal with all the "special" interests versus the religious oriented right with all its moral and predictable commitments.

    As for wooing special interest. Wasn't that the basis of Kulongoski's Gov run las time? He'd go out and woo business. So is Rob's platform going to be that of Portland - ignore business. Hmm, its definitely a question that will be asked.

  • JTT (unverified)

    Winston- you don't have to be moderate to give money to Rob or cheer him on at a campaign event/rally. By all means, that is the best way that "downtown" PDX Ds can get involved in that race and leave the voter contact to the moderate locals and professionals.

    dmrusso-it's not censorship, it's strategery. Poll the voters in Rob's district or any district in the state for that matter and ask them what their top 5 issues are. I doubt that civil unions would pop anywhere near the top 5, or 10. They care about Health Care, Education, the environment, jobs, transportation. So for BRO to go hiking in Rob's district knocking on doors talking about civil unions this and gay rights that isn't going to win Rob votes, and that's the ultimate goal right? It would be like sending OLCV canvassers into Roseburg. Go Rob, go!

  • (Show?)

    A Portland style liberal? I'm afraid you've got the wrong person.

    Rob did a great job in the district last election, even though Minnis out-spend him more than 8 to 1 (it was $300K+ to less than $50K). The undervote (those who voted on other items, but not this race) was greater than the margin of victory. Minnis won by 6.73%-- she'd won by 21.08% in the previous election.

    Rob did very well without BRO's help last time, so saying his uphill battle becomes even steeper is just a joke. He has plenty of local people working on his campaign right now, and we're just under a year away from the election. There are plenty of groups coming forward to help him. With the exception of the Mult Dems, he didn't have any of this last time.

    Moral committments? That's a laugh. To me, helping people less fortunate is one of the most moral things you can do. Selling out to the big drug companies (who donate tens of thousands to Minnis' PAC as well as her Speaker's PAC) as opposed to allowing more people to participate in the prescription drug purchasing pool was not the moral thing to do.

    To me, helping people who are low income and need some cash assistance for rent, medical bills, etc. keep from getting loan sharked on triple-digit interest is the moral thing to do. But Minnis sold out to the big donations she receives from these businesses (such as the $20K from the guy on the east coast who owns one of the country's largest payday/title loan companies) and kept the bill from reaching a vote.

    No one said Rob is going to ignore business-- far from it. I don't think you can spend as much time and energy in the Chamber of Commerce as he did and dislike business. What he isn't going to do is take $20K checks and then make sure bills that would hurt their business/industry never make it to a vote.

    There's a big difference between being anti-business and not letting your contributions decide how you vote.

    Rob's "special interest" will be the voters of House District 49-- something Minnis seems to have forgotten over the years.

  • (Show?)


    Correct. Important issues out here are education, getting a fair share of the tax dollars back into the area, transportation, health care, crime, and living wage jobs. Environment doesn't necessarily come up in the top 5 out here.

    Quite a bit of emphasis is placed on the west side of town, where traffic is a nightmare. However, you hear very little about traffic on this side of town. That could be because the vast majority of traffic ends up on a number of surface streets, and is therefore ignored. There aren't traffic cameras showing you how you can sit in line at the 122nd Street light on Division, Glisan, Stark, etc. for a half hour or more during rush hour. There aren't news choppers showing that 182nd/181st is completely backed up.

    There's one "major" route heading out this way (I-84) and eastbound traffic becomes a parking lot because of all the people who want to head onto I-205. They use all lanes of traffic, waiting till the last minute to force their way into the exit lane. As such, those of us wanting to continue on in the inner-most lane are stuck behind the I-205 traffic. Rather than sit in that for an hour, those of us in east county resort to the handful of east-west roads that can handle large amounts of traffic-- Powell, Division, Burnside, Stark, and Glisan.

    Crime is a huge problem in the area. Most property crimes are never investigated-- a report is taken over the phone for insurance purposes. The rate of rapes out here is climbling because the dollars aren't available to run the rape kits that are done. As such, Gresham's rape rate is higher than Portland's.

    One of the best things we can do over the coming months is to listen to the voters out here. Don't talk at them-- ask them questions and then prepare to listen.

  • dmrusso (unverified)


    I did not claim in anyway that civil unions would rank in the top five of issues in that district. Re-READ my message. What I did imply was that civil unions IS accepted by moderates. I also believe that a large part of the re-newed fire against Minnis is coming from those of us left out of the Oregon social system, even though we pay taxes... sometimes more so to support other people's children. I do this with few, if any complaints because I hope that others will see the benefit in all of us supporting each other in the long run.

    -Red Oregon "lurker"; Your title says it all. Rob will win this fight with or without BRO knocking on doors. Minnis has burned more than one bridge in this state and alienated many moderates on numerous issues. So, "lurk" someplace else and "devour" some other unsuspecting person.

  • (Show?)

    Let's not pretend that Rob has to run to the squishy, waffling, plain-vanilla middle to win. Any more than Brian Schweitzer had to in Montana.

    Schweitzer ran for Governor as a strong-hearted progressive in Montana. He won, despite the 61-38% loss by Kerry at the top of the ticket.

    It's often not about where a candidate is left-right on the ideological/issue spectrum - but rather where they land culturally.

    George Bush beat John Kerry because he outflanked him on the beer vs. chablis spectrum; the brie vs. pork rinds spectrum.

    As Brian Schweitzer said recently, there's no reason that you can't talk about health care for children while sitting on a horse.

    Brading shouldn't necessarily be on a horse, but as long as he's connected culturally to the community, the issues are secondary.

  • dmrusso (unverified)


    I whole-heartedly AGREE.

  • BowTieFan (unverified)

    Well, now that he's dropped the bow tie and the earring, he may just have a chance... nice makeover! It's amazing how much is conveyed with a simple photo. Hopefully he'll use this one (or a similar one) for the voter's guide, too.

  • LT (unverified)

    And it may just be that people are tired of House secrecy and want someone who will talk with them in public. To the extent Brading is that person, he should do well.

    I wonder (given a news report at noon)if Minnis realizes that she needs to get out behind "the Speaker's spokesman Diester".

    If Brading has town hall and coffee interactions with actual citizens and Minnis just does the friendly crowd routine Bush did (which didn't win him Oregon), that could help Brading find those extra 1500 votes.

    If local groups do what is sometimes done elsewhere (the civic luncheon where the 2 candidates speak and answer questions, the forum where legislative candidates are asked a series of questions in a library auditorium, community center etc by both moderator and audience) and Minnis either doesn't show up or does the imperial number while Brading gives answers ordinary folks could relate to, it seems to me all the power of the Speaker's office and all the out of state contributions could never match, "Did you see that--Rob actually answered the question and Karen danced around but never really answered" conversations among local residents.

    It will be interesting to watch.

  • (Show?)

    I couldn't agree with Kari more about the importance of local cultural connection to the district. This is exactly what makes Rob such an exciting candidate, and frankly, is the main reason he came suprisingly close in 2004. Karen Minnis has worked in the legislature for over 25 years. During that time, while Minnis has been playing partisan politics in Salem, Rob has been been working for change at the local level:

    Rob has an incredible record of local service to East County:

    • Past President of the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce. Seven years on the Board of Directors.
    • Tri-Met’s Transit for Livability Task Force.
    • Gresham’s Police Advisory Committee.
    • Gresham Centennial Planning Committee.
    • Gresham Citizens Strategic Planning Committee.
    • East County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors.
    • Current member, Multnomah County Library Advisory Board (along with the Publisher of the Gresham Outlook and the Executive Director of the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce based in Troutdale).
  • (Show?)


    It would be nice to do a town hall like that. Minnis will often not show up if she feels threatned or will refuse to answer questions that are not in writing. She then picks and chooses between the written questions. Most people you talk to never had their questions answered.

    The problem would actually be getting coverage that she didn't show, refused to answer questions, etc. They haven't done it in the past. And if it doesn't make it in the paper, people don't hear about it. Word about these things just don't spread around town like they do in Portland. People would have to actively work to make sure the message that she didn't show/answer questions gets around town.


    I do agree it's a great picture. It makes him look like your neighbor, which is important out in this area.

  • (Show?)

    I think the culture thing is a start-- it shows people you understand who they are and what they're thinking. It then allows you to get in there and talk on the issues.

    Rob's strength is that he not only understands the people, but the issues at their heart as well. They'll see he's not just some "Portland liberal" who has come in to tell them what to do. He'll be seen as "one of us"-- a neighbor. Once they feel comfortable with you at that level, then they're willing to listen to you on the important issues. And since Minnis refuses to talk about the issues, or only does so in generalities, people will be more inclined to vote for Rob.

  • Pedro (unverified)

    HEY I like beer, chablis, and Democrats too. You can keep the pork rinds, brie, and Karen Minis though!

    Someone please post the address where I can send my contribution to Rob's campaign.

    Our school children simply cannot stand another two years of Ms. Minis.

    Go Rob Go

  • Winston Wolfe (unverified)

    Red Oregon Lurker:

    Thanks for making my point for me.

    The republican play book hasn't changed since 1994. They are going to bash the hell out of Rob for being just another limo-liberal from Portland trying to tell blue collar Oregonians how to live.


    I'm not trying to say gay rights aren't important. I'm trying to say that the way BRO is injecting their politics into a district where it does not play is only going to hurt Rob. And I really like Rob and think he will be a great leader.

    Mr. Issacs:

    I love the way you are selling Rob as a Man from really works. The one thing I'm worried about is the “Minnis” name is synonymous with Gresham. That means the hometown thing is a wash. So what's the plan of attack, without attacking a nice lady (Yes, Karen is a nice lady in person)? My nickels worth of free advice: Minnis is the head of the Republican party...the party is taking money from Texas, New York, and worst of all California...and she likes GWBush. She's hasn't gone Salem....worse....she's gone Washington.

    But what the hell to do I know.

    So I'll just VOTE FOR PEDRO!

  • (Show?)

    Winston - you're on to something. More then you may realize. Reading Minnis' campaign finance report is like a lesson in US corporate geography. Minnis has LARGE contributions from Houston, Manhattan, Delaware, North Carolina, and from all over California just to name a few. Just make the connection: Houston - Oil. Manhattan - wall street. Delaware - credit cards. North Carolina - Tobacco. California - well, you know what Oregonians think of California....

  • David Deyo (unverified)

    I find all this to and fro about the role of BRO in this campaign. I'm a gay man and lifetime liberal who lives in the heart of Portland. Frankly, I don't care how much emphasis Mr. Brading chooses to put on civil unions in his campaign. On that particular issue, it would be tough to do much worse than Speaker Minnis no matter who the Democrats put into the race.

    As for me, I will make good on a promise I made to Speaker Minnis over her railroading of civil unions this legislative session. Mr. Brading will be receiving as much money from my household as we can legally contribute and financially spare. And I will be delighted to volunteer for Mr. Brading's campaign. Ms. Minnis' abuses of office cannot go unchallenged, either by the party or by Oregonians no matter what district in which they live. As Speaker of the House for all of Oregon, Minnis let us all down.

  • JTT (unverified)

    dmrusso- I don't think there's any doubt that Minnis railroaded the GLBT community and screwed democracy in the process last session. I support civil unions as much as you do. What I'm saying is that BRO, a great organization by the way, can't expect to go into Gresham and campaign for Rob on civil unions and gay rights. Minnis' abuse of power, yes. She's out of touch with the community, yes. She has failed to adequately fund schools, health care, and public safety yes...and Rob will do a much better job addressing the issues important to the community when he represents the district.

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    JTT wrote: What I'm saying is that BRO, a great organization by the way, can't expect to go into Gresham and campaign for Rob on civil unions and gay rights.

    So what if BRO goes into Gresham and campaigns for Rob using his own message and his issues? Rob's going to need canvassers and it's folly to turn away people because they happen to come from a particular organization. Some discipline would have to be enforced for the volunteers to stay on message, i.e, health care, crime, the economy, education.

  • (Show?)

    Very happy to see Rob take on the race again.

    What I think he'll need someone's help with: fundraising. We all know Rob's a better representative of East County than Minnis, who to me is synonymous with the ivory towers of Fairview and Wood Village, not working-class Gresham. But 50 grr and MCTV won't get this done, not even with the national wave of payback about to crash against the hull of the USS American Taliban. Maybe Tom Potter's people can lend him some assistance with that.

    After that, all we need is to call him and remind him to put ALL of the contact info in the voter's pamphlet. :) Then we can grease Karen Minnis' long-overdue spiral into the political margin and get a more-than-capable representative into the Oregon House from East County.

    I envy the people who get to help with this race. I'll be working to make sure the next Congressperson from FL-13 isn't as much of a vote-suppressing, rights-crushing tool as the current one.

  • ** (unverified)

    somebody has to take on her, she's a disgrace.

  • (Show?)


    You're right about her contribution reports. It's amazing to see so many out-of-state contributions on her reports. And her Speaker's PAC is even worse.


    Friends of Rob Brading PO Box 1424 Fairview, OR 97024

  • (Show?)

    I put my money where my keyboard is and donated to Rob Brading's campaign. Washington County wants Minnis out!

  • Ruth Adkins (unverified)

    And so it begins...

    At a phone bank for Rob Brading before the last election [a modest event held by the Mult Dems, bless 'em; this time I am looking forward to a massive effort with many involved!], someone brought in a lurid pink flyer that the opposition had created, attempting to link him with child porn. The source of the accusation? The fact that Brading serves on the county's library advisory board. Now one can disagree with the Multnomah County's open Internet access policy. But to attempt to smear a volunteer on their advisory board is, of course, patently absurd.

    I'm looking forward to a flyer that lists out the Speaker's out-of-state corporate contributions and her related votes...against health care, against the burn-safe cigarettes, against reforms of the predatory payday loan industry..and on and on. She's gotta go!

  • Ben (unverified)

    Winston Wolf wrote, "They are going to bash the hell out of Rob for being just another limo-liberal from Portland trying to tell blue collar Oregonians how to live."

    I'm not sure about the limo thing, but, if he is a typical Portland liberal, why would pointing it out be "bashing"?

    Bashing is in the eyes of the party.

  • Sid (unverified)

    Last I checked "typical Portland liberals" rode around on their bikes, not in limos ;-)

  • (Show?)

    [Editor's note: We've unpublished a comment posted anonymously at 1:00:10 AM that leveled an unsubstantiated accusation. We're tracking comments made previously by the same commenter. Thank you.]

  • Winston Wolfe (unverified)


    He is not another Portland liberal, that's my point. But you and your republican cronies are going to accuse him of being one. The simple fact is your party will no matter what and my party will accuse Minnis or being a bloodthirsty fascist. Good times!

    It's not about your accusations; it's about your accusations meshing with conventional wisdom.

    One reason Rob was so close last time was that people who knew Rob and didn't believe he was a Portland liberal. That made it OK to vote for a Democrat.

    But if hard left advocates start knocking on doors and putting articles out saying Karen Minnis sucks and oh by the way vote for Rob, your accusations of "Rob--the Portland Liberal" will have a foundation to stand on.

    This is simple messaging not ideology. Most Oregon politicians are really nice people who just want to make a small difference. Minnis and Rob would more than likely agree on 90% of the issues, but that doesn't matter. This game is about winning and there is no silver medal for second place.

    You can call me a political hack. That's fine because I wear it that label like a badge of honor. But stays off your high horse about doing the right thing because the greatest dirty tricks I have learned were all from Republicans!

  • Red PDX (unverified)

    "liberals rode around on bicylces"

    If that was the case why does Portland vote around 70% liberal yet bicycles are less than 1% of the vehicles on the rode?

    Portland liberals drive. Also, would biodiesel be as successful as bikes were a true substitute for a car? Nope. Cars are convenient and produce wealth for the economy through productivity.

    Either way, from what I've seen and read Brading has alot more in common with Portland liberals than the more moderate-stripe of democrat I've known in every other state I've lived in.

    Where does he stand on M37? Where does he stand on Civil Unions or gay marriage for that matter? Where does he stand on freeways? Where does he stand on a sales tax, property taxes and tax reform? From what I'm reading from my google search he's firmly liberal on the side of all these wedge issues.

    All these items Brading has more in common with Vera Katz than Lonnie Roberts or even liberal republicans. He's just running against the most high-profile conservative in the state who draws her base from the religous right. To call him a moderate is a joke and shows how far left the Oregon party has drifted.

    Just a former Democrat calling it as I see it. I await your abuse and criticism

  • LT (unverified)

    Questions in response to the "former Democrat":

    Where do county and state Farm Bureaus stand on M 37 ? (I ask this as someone who campaigned for Tom McCall)

    What was the 2004 rhetoric of the Measure 36 people on civil unions; and why should people who are economically struggling think that issue as a top priority? (I ask as someone with a relative who voted for Bush and against Measure 36)

    Do conservatives think that in these times of high gas prices everyone in outlying counties who works in Portland should drive to work rather than riding mass transit? "Stand on freeways" does not differentiate between rural areas who really need highways and people who can and do choose to take mass transit to work because then they don't have to buy as much gas, put as many miles on the family car, worry about parking downtown.

    Personally I think it was a shame that the Senate could debate and pass a civil unions measure with no chance in the House but never openly debated the various tax reform measures. But it was Minnis who made sure such measures would never be debated in the House. So why isn't "I'm for open debate on a variety of measures" a stand on tax reform in this district? Is open debate "liberal" and leadership locking up what legislators are allowed to discuss "conservative"?

    Red PDX can call me a "liberal" but I don't live in Portland, I have not been registered in the same or any particular party all of my life, and I vote solution-oriented over ideology. The people who work in the Senate Republican office are so much more polite than anyone working for Minnis, and if Brading would promise to hire equally polite people as work for Ferrioli, I think that would be a valid reason to elect him.

    Is it "liberal" to expect the staff of legislators to be polite to ordinary citizens?

    Or is this more about ideology than anything else?

  • Red Portland (unverified)

    RED PDX answers LT (even though his opinion was blocked for differing to much from the BlueOregon webmaster).

    They stand on the opposite side of the M37 issues of every statewide Ag-group that took a stance on the issue.

    Because M36 isn't an economic issue and it matters to many of the D's, I's and U's he's going to need to get to vote for him (being that is one of the big reasons Minnis is so disliked by some from the center and the left). It isn't a top priority of anybody, but somehow it defines for many whether they want somebody making laws on their behalf.

    As for what conservatives think about mass transit. We think people should make these decisions for themselves. We especially think when voters shoot down mass-transit policies and they move forward anyways that its undemocratic. Something tells me he is more Portland than Gresham in his opinions about mass-transit and smart-growth. It was implied somewhere in the thread that he was somehow more moderate - I don't see this.

    And about Minnis' use of the legislative process to forward her agenda. Wow, nothing at all like Kitzhaber's abusive use of the veto. Nothing like Bradbury's initiative tampering and redistricting plan. Nothing at all llke Vera Katz's similar tactics when she was a leader in Salem. Its the game of legislative power and Democrats are no different than Republicans. If I was in charge I'd let it have a debate but that's probably why I'd never have an entire party unite behind me.

    And - Hmmmmmm, you seem to have taken liberal as an insult. I don't bristle when people call me "Conservative." Heck, this site tends to refer to even moderate policies as "wing-nut" from time to time. Its your opinion, crap its your blog.

open discussion

connect with blueoregon