New State Senator

Jesse Cornett

State Representative Betsy Johnson will be sworn in today to replace State Senator Joan Dukes. Dukes was appointed last week to the Northwest Power Planning Council and resigned her seat. The various counties that encompass the district chose Johnson as the replacement. Congratulations to Senator Johnson!

Andrew Kaza was one of those who sought the seat. Perhaps bucking convention wisdom that a House seat would soon be open and much easier to win, he tried for the Senate seat. I'd be interested in Andrew and any other person involved in ths process to chime in with observations on the process.

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    Mr. Kaza didn't even make the short list that the County Commissioners voted on. The short list was created by the DPO through the county parties. I'm thinking it's hard to get the nod from the county parties after you run a primary race against Congresswoman Darlene Hooley, especially in a year where it looked like she was going to have a real race in the general election and she was going to need every penny to save her from a Republican. Trying to take out a sitting and frankly delightful Congresswoman is not the way to get the Party to like you.

    Plus I doubt he would have had a chance against Betsy. She's one of the smartest legislator's we have and politically savvy to boot. I know that she has worked closely with a number of Commissioners in all the counties that votes. (Multnomah County had the least say in the appointment.) It does suck that the House Dems have no one on the Ways and Means Committee with any Ways and Means experience except for the Rep. Gary Hansen. I think Rep. Hansen is awesome and far more crafty and capable than most of our Legislators, for example he passes more bills than almost any other Dem. However, he will need help.

    Jesse do you know if Mr. Kaza live in the former Rep. Betsy Johnson part of that Senate District? I thought he lived in the Debbie Boone half of the Senate seat. I don’t think he was probably not eligible for the House seat.

    Here is the break down for the vote among the County Commissioners of the five counties that the Senate Seat overlays. I doubt anyone cares though.

    Clatsop County: 22,200 or 22 votes divided by 5 = 4-2/5 votes per Commissioner Columbia County: 28,114 or 28 votes divided by 3 = 9-1/3 votes per Commissioner Tillamook County: 16,030 or 16 votes divided by 3 = 5-1/3 votes per Commissioner Washington County: 6,824 or 7 votes divided by 5 = 1-2/5 votes per Commissioner Multnomah County: 690 or 1 vote divided by 5 = 1/5 vote per Commissioner


  • andrew kaza (unverified)

    Jesse, Chubby et al:

    Let me first add my congrats to Betsy Johnson for taking over the state Senate seat here in Dist. 16. Her politics, while not entirely progressive, are certainly better than many in Salem, and here's hoping she uses her new-found power wisely.

    Chubby is correct; I was ineligible to run for the state rep seat that Ms. Johnson is vacating. I also felt it important (as I did a year ago against Ms. Hooley) to keep the presumptive nominee AND the Democratic Party accountable in this process. Unfortunately, I think the party has failed miserably.

    I can take it as a compliment that I was deemed enough of a threat that the party found/recruited two candidates who would stand alongside Betsy as "placeholders". This kept county commissioners from having to make a real choice and a debate over what sort of leadership we are looking for.

    But the Democrats who voted for this troika have circumvented a process designed to avoid a coronation. I think it's high time that this law was changed...either to a straight appt. by the party central committees or else a special election to fill the vacancy (as in most states).

    That this small-d mock-racy was so easily rigged should be disturbing to progressives everywhere. I may not have stood a chance in the final vote before the 21 commissioners, but given my credentials, platform etc. (vs. those of the two "stand-ins") I should have been given the opportunity.

    In the end, Chub's upstart like me is never going to endear himself to the establishment. But for some of us, I guess it only makes us fight harder!

    For those with an on-going interest, there's more on this race and other topics at and of course, I will continue to weigh in here at blueoregon! Best to you all...

  • LT (unverified)

    Yeah Chubby! Loved this quote:

    Trying to take out a sitting and frankly delightful Congresswoman is not the way to get the Party to like you.<<

    As someone who knew Darlene Hooley as a state legislator many long years ago, I was as offended as Chubby at the Kaza challenge.

    Oregon has a history of rejecting people who have not lived in the district very long (or who have lived there but not been publicly active, even at the neighborhood assoc. level ) suddenly popping up and saying they alone are the great hope of the Democratic (or Republican) party.

    I recall a time years ago when the Republican who took on our incumbent Democratic legislator ran a very fiery (of the GOP attack machine variety--"soft on crime, not for tough penalties for drug kingpins--as if our district had ever seen such a thing) "I'm better than the incumbent" campaign.

    Except the incumbent's daughter had gone through public school in the district and the family was well known. The challenger had a name that was famous in local history, but his own history was that he was listed in a recent edition of a phone book for a major city several counties away from our district.

    There is much debate about whether young people or those new to politics should run for city council or school board prior to running for the legislature. As I recall, Barbara Roberts was a school board member prior to becoming a legislator and then Gov., and the current Senate President was once a member of the Salem City Council.

    If Kaza really cares about his district where he now lives, he should show he is putting down roots by running for local office like school board. Our new County Clerk (elected in November) was a city council member years ago, and ran against someone who is a legislator's wife. Perhaps that has something to do with why he won.

    I talked with a friend on the Coast last year who met Kaza and was not impressed. Perhaps if he became involved in local politics, he might change that impression and show he is not afraid of hard work. Maybe he needs to prove it really is about helping local citizens and it is not just about him.

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    Thanks for chiming in. And to everyone, let me apologize for not doing my homework to know that Andrew wasn't eligible for the House seat. That was sloppy work on my part.

    That being said, I read kazablog a time or two and also saw some of the things you were saying when running against Congresswoman Hooley. I think that you did not hold anyone accountable. The situation was reversed. The Party held you accountable, which is why they are in power and you are... well, not. Your political righteousness didn't win you either of your races and I hope you learned something, though based on you comments here, I doubt it.


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    A "frankly delightful Congresswoman?"

    What was so delightful about Darlene Hooley's "“WARNING! WARNING! HIGHER TAXES FROM A TO Z!” ads? see

    What's so delightful about Darlene Hooley's unwaivering support for repeal of the estate tax?

    As my friend Steve Novick noted:

    "The effect of the ad is obvious: It contributes to the anti-tax atmosphere of Oregon. It will make it even harder to ever raise additional revenue for any kind of public service. But I haven’t heard a whisper of complaint, from anyone, about the Darlene Hooley ad. I haven’t heard public employee union members and operatives say they’ll never give another dime to Darlene Hooley. I haven’t heard school funding advocates ranting against Darlene Hooley. I hear nothing except the silent sound of Democrats saying to themselves, “Well, she must have had to do that, the pollsters told her she needed to do that to win.” And that just seems to be the way Democrats are."

    Unless you like to cater to the anti-government, you are on you're own ship crowd, Darlene Hooley is not delightful. She's a part of the problem.

  • andrew kaza (unverified)

    Jesse: There are plenty of misconceptions about me which I am happy to try and clear up with you anytime. As for my campaigns, when others in my congressional or state senate district will run on the issues I care about, such as CFR, tax fairness & proper funding for our schools, ending this mindless misadventure in Iraq, providing universal health care (eventually)etc....I will happily take a back seat and support those candidates. I have no messianic complex, and what you call political righteousness I would simply call a healthy dose of outrage. I'm sorry but I just don't accept the status quo in our politics these days, which in turn makes me unacceptable to that status quo(and I guess, you). If you disagree with my positions on issues and think my high-level business experience would be useless in government, I'm kool with those arguments...but please don't you (& LT) suggest a person isn't qualified because they haven't spent years toiling in Oregon's political trenches. You'd disqualify an awful lot of good people in the process. Or are you "delighted" with what all of those political vets are producing by way of government these days???

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    You weren't running on issues, you were running against yor opponents. I don't disagree on all of your issues, but some of them, much like you would agree with both Hooley and Johnson on a majority of issues. It's how you deal with those disagreements that matters. You chose the righteous left approach, and refused to accept that you may have agreed with them on a majority of issues. If you knew how to direct your outrage, you might have a chance to get into a position to change things from the inside, but you don't and remain on the outside, further away from being effective than before you began your first race. You are certainly qualified, of course our laws set pretty low bars for qualification. But what you seem to understand is that being qualified has nothing to do with being elected. You have to be qualified and electable.

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    Correction: third to last line: "seem to understand" should have a "don't" in front of it.

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    Mr. Sheketoff;

    You are a smart man. I agree the Congresswoman Hooley’s ad did lead us farther down the track that government is bad. Which is a horrible message and I wish it would die. I thought she should have done a different ad or had a different message. I don’t know if helped her win, I do know that no matter what you think the Hooley campaign thought they were in trouble most of the race. I wasn’t on the campaign and though I truly adore Monday morning quarterbacking, I don’t think in that race it’s my place. I would rather talk about the good things that Congresswoman, like the work she has done with Veterans or her work on the re-importation of drugs from Canada. You call her part of the problem when I’m more concerned with Democrats and progressives ripping down their leaders. Is Congresswoman Hooley Perfect, no. Will she vote for a Democrat Speaker of the House, YES. The Right doesn’t attack their elected leaders in public. They don’t rip down anyone willing to serve under the guise of “holding them accountable.” They understand that it takes a coalition to govern and you don’t have to agree with everything that person says to know they are on you side.

    I understand hating the Hooley ad and questioning the message it sends in public and all over the place. I don’t think it’s appropriate to attack a seating Democratic Congresswoman personally. I don’t know if you offered to help on the campaign I know they would have taken it. Like a said you are a smart man, everyone says so.

    Chubby Gazelle

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