HD 24: Republican Jim Weidner stripped of committees

Carla Axtman

Yamhill Valley News Register:

State Rep. Jim Weidner, Republican representative from Yamhill County's House District 24, has been removed from two of the three committees he served on during the 2009 session.

But House Speaker Dave Hunt, who handles assignments in the House, said he hasn't received any complaints from legislators, lobbyists, the public or either of the state's major parties.

Sworn into office in January, the first-term representative served on three House committees during the session - consumer protection, transportation and veterans and emergency services.

Weidner also served on the Joint Transportation Committee, which includes members from the Senate as well as the House. And he served as vice chair of consumer protection, which he considered an honor, according to a statement he released at the time of his appointment.

When the session ended, however, Hunt dropped Weidner from consumer protection and transportation, leaving him with only one assignment, the minimum allowed under House rules.

Hunt assigned a more senior Republican, Rep. Gene Whisnant of Sunriver, to consumer protection. Determined to maintain a party balance on committees, the speaker found room for the four-term representative by bumping the most junior Republican.

During the session, I was only partly aware of Weidner. The scuttle I'd heard is that he's an ideologically rigid dolt whose ability to be a jackass in committee was rarely eclipsed.

Sources tell me that Weidner was in on the committee level negotiations for the various provisions House Bill 2100 as a member of the Transportation Committee. He voted for the bill when it left committee, expressing no intent to vote against it. The general expectation in the legislature is that if you are a part of good-faith negotiations and sign off on a bill in the room, you vote for it. Not only did Weidner vote against the bill on the floor, he badmouthed it as well. Basically, he was a bad actor.

The bill, HB 2001 eventually passed. One of it's key provisions (besides the gas tax) is a $192 million Newberg-Dundee bypass. In the end, Weidner not only voted against a bill he helped negotiate and craft, he screwed his constituents. Dundee is a tiny spot along 99W that has become a mess on busy traffic days (which is now a lot of the time). While I know that the bypass isn't popular with folks looking to get more cars off the road--this isn't an urban area we're talking about. The bottleneck is not sustainable and certainly not safe for residents. The bypass has been a key issue for locals residents.

Weidner was also stripped of his assignment in the Consumer Protections Cmte. As I understand it, there were also some problems with his actions related to that group but I have yet to suss them out.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)

    Carla please keep us informed. If as reported, this representative can't play nice, then he should have only minimal committee duties.

  • Richard (unverified)

    Carla Axtman says, "WE ARE ALL OREGONIANS. It's about time folks stop nursing these false perceptions, grow up and work together."

    "I'd heard is that he's an ideologically rigid dolt whose ability to be a jackass in committee was rarely eclipsed."

    Happy sussing.

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    Pssst...when a guy is a bad actor in working with his colleagues, that's exactly the time to call him out and demand better so we can WORK TOGETHER.

    Do try and keep up. This is not rocket science.

  • Richard (unverified)

    Psst, Easy now gal, it's just a smear merchant gossip column. But I'm sure you and your sources have only the best of intentions.

  • Poor Boy (unverified)

    Carla you are so funny. I thought I remembered something you wrote that said we should all just get along and be nice. I guess that applies only if the other side votes how you want.

    What a hypocrite!

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    Either you're deliberately mischaracterizing what I wrote or you read it incorrectly.

    It's not about "getting along". It's about perceived divisions that in reality don't exist--and are stoked by people with nefarious intent toward our state.

    Again..this isn't rocket science. Calling out bad actors and people who stoke divisions and lie to Oregonians is key to unraveling this BS.

    Or are division and lying something you'd like to see continued?

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    Easy now gal, it's just a smear merchant gossip column.

    Richard..if that's all it is..then why bother to show up and add to it? By being here and trying to argue, you're validating me, like it or not.

    Of course, I back up what I'm saying with links and evidence. You don't. :)

  • Richard (unverified)

    "people who stoke divisions and lie to Oregonians is key to unraveling this BS."

    Carla, what a hoot. You're the head of blue division stoking department. And as for lying,,, oh yeah you're all about the truth.

    From your lying about being a victim of someone's anger to global warming, on and on and on, I call BS on you.

    You and BO are no less divisive than Lars Larson in this state.

    Your heavily partisen distortions of all things Republican are no more than the very typical political hackery which you blues like to pretend you're above.

    You aint and you know it.

    Now what about those $250 million lottery dollars going to Milwaukie light rail instead of education?

    Don't you have anything to say to your Democrat scoundrels perpetrating that boondoggle?

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    Strong language aside, Carla is spot-on in her analysis of Weidner's approach. I was in the gallery early in the session when Weidner used a floor speech to attack the patriotism of a bi-partisan majority of his colleagues who voted for a bill that he opposed.

    I didn't think we could do worse than Donna Nelson in HD 24. Sad to say that Jim has proven me wrong. Donna was not terribly effective, but she was not an extremist, and she showed some ability to participate in coalition with other legislators. She also consistently acted in good faith.

    Frankly, I would support her in a primary if she ever wanted to get her seat back given how bad Jim was during this session.

  • rw (unverified)

    Carla, oddly, I thought he might be calling the newspaper you sourced a smear merchant gossip column! Ack.

    So I have a non-pol procedural question. What happens to politicos who are nigh on committee-less? How do they survive or continue on in the edifice?

    Lying to Oregonians about your intentions in office - that is a new one, by golly.

    I don't mean to sound stupid on purpose, but I'm rather relishing the comic element in that he is being immediately called out for lying to other politicians. :)... I know, I know, this seems clearly the time to do it and the person to do it to.

    But you gotta admit the comic element on this one, eh?

    I am sure that nobody trusts him now. And probably do not even want him in on deliberations nor knowing when meetings are. It's a bit like, "so who DO you play for? And who ARE you talking to about these discussions, and why?"

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    RW - My experience in Salem is that most legislators are scrupulously honest. If they don't support something you are working on, they'll usually either tell you directly, refuse to take a meeting, or remain non-committal.

    The handful of work groups I've participated in basically begin with a mutual agreement that everyone will act in good faith and work for/support the legislation that is being negotiated. It is a rare occurrence for someone to make that agreement and then vote against the legislation without signaling it at the point where an agreement is reached. If Weidner broke such an agreement, I can see how it would be exceptional and very troubling to his colleagues.

  • rw (unverified)

    It's game playing. Time wasting. Trust breaking (starting to sound like a seventies-era power rock lyric here).

    I can understand and would not want such a person honored by an invitation onto my project or committee. It's a privilege, not a right, to serve.

    It will be interesting to observe what style he acquits upon leaving office....

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    Yes Richard..you've made it abundantly clear that you don't like how I blog. You never actually bother to provide evidence of your accusations--but you do know how to use up a lot of pixels in the meantime.

    Weidner is a bad actor. If you have evidence to the contrary, please post it. Otherwise you're just wasting time again.

  • Capitol Staffer (unverified)

    Based on the limited view of Wiedner's actions that I saw this past session, it seems like he didn't much respect Capitol decorum.

    I wouldn't be suprised if this was the result of committee chairs asking the Speaker to make this change.

  • LT (unverified)

    Thank you Capitol Staffer!

    Many years ago, a friend from Jackson County helped elect a legislator who, among other things, badmouthed veterans in a facility in his district. My friend helped un-elect him next time around. Especially those of us who have ever worked with young people (as teachers, child care workers, parents, Sunday School teachers) and those of us who have ever worked in retail/customer service and had to deal with nasty customers are likely to put good manners above party label.

    Friend of mine did that when a server at political fundraisers at a winery near her home. If the candidate treated her like a potential voter, or if a candidate treated her like "the help", you better believe all her friends learned about that. Regardless of party. Does anyone here believe enough money could be raised and spent to counteract such a bad first impression?

    It is time for a single standard of behavior. Either a) honesty and operating in good faith are expected of all legislators or b) once sworn in, a legislator may behave any way they bloody well please, and short of recall or being defeated in the next election, there is nothing anyone can do.

    I support A. I also get very frustrated when anyone in the capitol decides rules don't apply to them or customer-service attitude is not needed. By that, I mean simple things like asking for information about a bill just featured on the news. The offices with good customer service will say things like "Oh! My member was just on the radio/TV discussing that bill? Thanks for telling me. I have the bill number right here..." instead of snide remarks.

    That remark, btw, has nothing to do with party label--there are Republican offices with good customer service and Dem. offices with staffers saying things like "just because my boss is the chair of that committee doesn't mean I need to answer your question!".

    Either actions have consequences, or else rules apply to some people but not to others.

    Richard, if you were a committee chair and a member acted up and did not bargain in good faith, would you say "That's OK, you have the right to behave any way you want"? Or would it depend on the party label of that legislator?

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    Richard, you clearly think that Carla - and the rest of the BlueOregon crew - are full of crap.

    So, I gotta ask: Why are you reading? I'd simply suggest that you save yourself the heartache - and a little time - and go away.


  • Joe M (unverified)

    Thank you Carla for this.

    HD 24 has been missing leadership for so long.

    Nobody voted 59-1, against both caucuses, more than Weidner. The "Legislator of NO".

    His own leadership in the days before the filing deadline begged him to submit a bill. What was it again? Who cares, he didn't.

    He was boasting that he could beat Gordon Smith in a primary for Governor.

    Worst House attendance.

    He was trying to sell his part time business junk across his capitol desk to lobbyists and constituents. Can you say "ethics violation".

    This guy scared Republicans. He is ill equipped, uncouth, arrogant, shameless, opportunistic, lacks mental depth and is ethically challenged.

  • rw (unverified)

    But he didn't scare them enough for folks not to buy his shit and pack his bags for the Legislature, did he?


  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    Kari and Carla, I don't understand why you don't understand Richard. He's just trying to make the point that you are dangerous subversives and probably on the payroll of that Kenyan Muslim.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    This guy scared Republicans. He is ill equipped, uncouth, arrogant, shameless, opportunistic, lacks mental depth and is ethically challenged.

    He scared Republicans? You've got to be joking. Change "he" to "she" and you're describing the recently resigned governor of Alaska and next GOP presidential nominee.

  • Capitol Insider (unverified)

    Another good post, Carla. Don't let the trolls get you down. You are spot on about Weidner. "Bad Actor" sums it up pretty well. There is a lot of room in the legislative process for good people to participate constructively, regardless of where they stand politically. There is little room for fools, at least in the long run. Weidner is a complete lightweight (to put it charitably) and I am glad the House leadership -- and you -- called him out.

  • BetsyO (unverified)

    Here's how you use power in the minority: get someone to give you a $192 million project in promise for your vote. Then don't vote for it and attack leadership for pushing the tax to pay for your road.

    What's the worst they can do in response? Oh, remove the little amount of power you had? Cry me a river that I'm pulled off of two committees where I sit in the minority.

    Sure, he's a jerk. But he played leadership, and leadership better figure out something more to do to Weidner. Maybe pull the plug on the project in February?

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    I know this thread is about another idiot legislator in Yamhill County (they seem to grow a lot of them out there) but I have to take issue with Carla's assessment of the Dundee by-pass, which is about as swinish a boondoggle as you can get.

    I lived in Dundee for several years and observed the bottleneck up close (my house was about a quarter mile from Highway 99). The congestion begins when 99 narrows from two lanes to four at Full Quartz Rd. on the west side and just outside the Dundee city limits on the east side. Widening that stretch of road (about four or five miles) to four lanes would eliminate the bumper-to-bumper slog through the town. Sure, you may not be able to zip through there at 60 mph, but you could at least keep moving at a reasonable speed, just as you were doing from McMinnville or Newberg, and it wouldn't cost $200 million.

    By the time the bypass gets built, gas will be over $4 a gallon again and there will be a new casino in the Columbia Gorge off I-84, and thus less traffic on 99 than there is now.

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    Gil - Getting a quicker route for commuters through Dundee and Newberg is only part of the goal. The bypass is also necessary to facilitate the development of downtown businesses in Newberg and Dundee, and to help with economic development in McMinnville.

    McMinnville is the only city among Oregon's 20 largest with major arterial freeway access, and Yamhill County is the only county in the Portland Metro area or the Willamette Valley with no access to the I-5 corridor.

    Aside from the McMinnville bypass, which was built by ODOT during the Holmes administration, the last major investment in transportation in Yamhill County was paid for during the Hoover Administration.

    The bypass is long overdue.

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    Obvious correction: McMinnville has NO major arterial freeway access.

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    The congestion begins when 99 narrows from two lanes to four at Full Quartz Rd. on the west side and just outside the Dundee city limits on the east side. Widening that stretch of road (about four or five miles) to four lanes would eliminate the bumper-to-bumper slog through the town.

    Having lived down in that region for five years and spent much of the last 12 years running back and forth from Tigard to McMinnville on 99W, I'm finding that one kinda tough, Gil. Unless there's some kind of plan to tear down a lot of existing structures that include businesses and quite possibly a school (Dundee Elementary bumps right up against 99W in it's current 2 lane form), I don't see how a four lane road is established.

    I'm no engineer so perhaps it's possible to do it--but I would be highly skeptical that most locals would go for it.

  • Joe M (unverified)

    Weidner stripped of committee positions


    Weidner calls Legislative committee ouster politically motivated



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