HD-24: Jim Weidner is the Rodney Dangerfield of the GOP caucus

Carla Axtman

I don't think I've ever met State Representative Jim Weidner in person. He's clearly a good enough politician to be reelected to his seat, so he must have some qualities that lend themselves to that end. But he must also be lacking in some other areas that his peers believe are required for even the most basic leadership position.

Why? Because he's the only House member from either caucus (a combined 58 members, once the co-Speakers are removed from the mix ) not to have one of the 92 leadership jobs.

Chris Lehman, Capitol Currents:

Thanks to the evenly divided nature of the Oregon House this year, every single committee has two Co-Chairs--one Democrat and one Republican. And, every single committee has two Co-Vice Chairs. All told, counting subcommittees and joint House/Senate committees, there are 23 different committees on which a House member can serve. With four leadership positions per committee, that creates a whopping 92 different opportunities for a state representative to have a position of authority (albeit a rather limited authority in the case of a "Co-Vice Chair"). With only 60 representatives, clearly there are titles to go around. And since two of those representatives have been elected Co-Speakers of the House, that leaves 58 representatives to share 92 leadership positions. Should be a slam dunk, right?

For 57 of those 58 lawmakers, the answer was "yes." Only Yamhill County Republican Jim Weidner came up short. He'll serve the 2011 legislative session as the sole state representative who can't claim a Co-Chair or Co-Vice Chair spot.

Clearly the GOP caucus doesn't think much of Weidner. It's up to his caucus and leadership to decide who gets committee co-chair and vice co-chair assignments--and the fact that they can't muster up even one job for him is pretty pathetic.

Historically, Weidner hasn't exactly shown himself to be much of a legislator. Last session he was stripped of all but one committee, the bare minimum under the rules to keep his seat. He's also been in trouble for accepting campaign contributions during session, an ethics no-no.

And really, I just can't show the video below often enough. This is State Rep. Mitch Greenlick taking Weidner to school on Weidners' own legislation:

Wow. Just wow.

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    This is another reason we Dems have so much work to do in Yamhill County!

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    Of course, now he'll have a chance to serve on the Health Care committee with Rep. Greenlick - where he can spend the time to "study the issues".

    Maybe he'll learn something.

    Or maybe he'll just come up with more creative ways to throw poor kids off their health care.

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    Great question, and the awkward silence speaks volumes.

    I'd love to see similar videos of Rep. Greenlick in D.C., asking members of Congress exactly which disadvantaged people THEY are willing to throw under the bus to save money for the wealthy.

    No one can answer that question gracefully, and that's fine, because there's really no acceptable answer. IMHO.

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    "I get no respect. The way my luck is running, if I was a politician I would be honest." -Rodney Dangerfield

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