While I'm not especially discontent about the outcome of the Senate District 17 appointment, I can certainly understand why many Washington County Precinct Committee Persons are. On December 11, each of us gave up a good chunk of an evening to sit through a meeting and in good faith, voted to send Rep. Chris Harker as the first choice of the senate district democrats to fill the seat. The way it was explained to us at the meeting, the commissioners generally appoint the first choice of the PCPs.
I think a lot of the sentiments were summed up well by Kim Goddard (who works for Chris Harker, incidentally):
In reality what I witnessed today was a Republican appointment to my Senate district; we had Multnomah Commissioners split evenly; Shiprack and Cogen for Rep Harker and Smith and Kafoury for Elizabeth; Washington Commissioners were split on party line with Malinowski and Schouten voting for Rep Harker and the three Republican Commissioners, Duyck, Rogers, and Terry, voting for Elizabeth. Say anything you like about Rep Harker or Elizabeth, but the fact remains Republicans intervened and picked someone the PCPs had as their second choice.
This seems right to me.
I've often thought that progressives in Washington County have a weakness when it comes to hyper local races. We're generally good at the legislative level and higher, but when it comes to races like County Commission, City Council, Water Board and other very local seats, we drop the ball.
I hope that this appointment is a wake up call to progressives: in Washington County there are a LOT of conservatives who now hold office at the very local level. It's tough to track what they're doing because media coverage out here is extremely weak--and it's difficult to know what's going on. You have to go very far out of your way to get news on what they're up to.
This means showing up to County Commission meetings, including the ones that happen during regular work hours. It means closely tracking what they're doing..and spreading the word. I guarantee a lot of progressives will be extremely unhappy when they start sorting out what's going on at the County level. That's not to say that aren't a few good things, but there's plenty to dislike.
Three very conservative Washington County Commissioners are running the show out here. Until progressives engage strongly at this level, it won't change.
Conservative County Commissioner Roy Rogers is up for reelection this cycle, fyi. I haven't heard that he's drawn a progressive opponent. That'd be a great place to start, in my opinion.