#WheresDennis?

By Val Hoyle of Eugene, Oregon. Val is the former Majority Leader of the Oregon House of Representatives.

It's rare that I find myself in strong agreement with The Oregonian, however I was encouraged by their editorial last week about the importance of local electeds speaking out against President Trump's executive order. As a second generation American and wife of an immigrant, I appreciate the great number of political, business, and labor leaders in Oregon who have used their voices to oppose the kind of discriminatory policies that my family members encountered when they arrived in this country.

One voice is conspicuously absent. That of our newly elected GOP Secretary of State, Dennis Richardson. Dennis Richardson is the only Oregon statewide elected official who has NOT condemned the "Muslim Ban."

As Oregon joins a lawsuit with 18 states and Washington, D.C. against Trump’s unconstitutional and inhumane ban, Richardson has remained silent. He has ignored calls from One Oregon, Mother Pac, Basic Rights Oregon, Planned Parenthood, and others to take a stand in support of Oregon values. He looks the other way as Trump tries to lock the door on refugee children, women and families, even as Amnesty International reports that the Syrian president and military officials maintained a "slaughterhouse" that hanged to death between 20 and 50 people a week.

Will Dennis Richardson stand up for all Oregonians or for a select few?

His track record on civil rights is alarming:

As a legislator, Richardson repeatedly promoted bogus anti-gay “research reports” that claimed being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is a choice and argued for banning LGBTQ couples from adopting, saying, "To allow homosexual couples to adopt would require complete disregard of the statistics on the high mortality rate from HIV/AIDS, and high rate of alcohol and drug abuse, as well as the general instability and violent nature of homosexual relationships."

Richardson repeatedly supported the kinds of strict "Voter ID" laws that have been thrown out by the federal courts because they are designed to disenfranchise people of color and deny them the right to vote. And when he was confronted with that fact while running for SOS, he denied it.

In 2013, Dennis Richardson failed to stand up for racial equity. He had one of the worst voting records and received the lowest possible score on the Facing Race: 2013 Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity published by Oregon’s leading Equity organizations. He even opposed Motor Voter Registration, which his office now oversees. Specifically, Richardson:

His silence speaks volumes. Please spread the word: #WheresDennis on social media and call his office today and let us know what you hear.

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