House District 48 Deserves New Representation

Evan Manvel

Being a state legislator is a privilege, not a right. This should be the final straw for Rep. Schaufler.

I've long disagreed with Rep. Mike Schaufler on a host of policies. It's no secret that since he entered the legislature in 2002, Schaufler's been the worst Oregon Democratic Representative when it comes to protecting Oregon’s air, water, and land from pollution, creating great communities, and promoting a sustainable economic future for generations to come. His environmental voting record has dipped as low as 38% on OLCV’s scorecard.

His voting record goes beyond the environment. As The Oregonian's Jeff Mapes notes, Schaufler “often votes [against] the Democratic caucus.”

In perhaps the biggest recent legislative battle, Schaufler was on the side of the Republicans, big corporations, and the richest of the rich. Of the 36 House Democrats (and 18 Senate Democrats) in the 2009 legislature, Schaufler was the only one to oppose the bills that became Measures 66 and 67, leaving Republican Rep. Bob Jenson to provide the critical 36th vote needed for passage. In the 2011 legislature, Schaufler publicly attacked Democrats who wanted more education funding as "playing political games."

The policy disagreements are one thing, the personal behavior another. Schaufler has drawn criticism for using political contributions to pay his bar tabs, pay his mortgage, and tour Canada, being extremely rude to fellow legislators, and reportedly grabbing a woman’s breast at the AFL-CIO convention.

On this final issue, Rep. Schaufler first denied it and refused to say anything more. "That is categorically untrue," Schaufler told Willamette Week. "That is just not true. That is all I will say.”)

Brad Avakian, Arnie Roblan, and Tom Chamberlain, who talked to those involved and witnesses took strong, decisive action to discipline Rep. Schaufler – stronger actions than warranted by a mere act of sticker placement.

After the story didn't disappear, Rep. Schaufler released a non-apology statement, wherein he:

The statement demonstrates a remarkable lack of sensitivity around gender relations, a cluelessness about workplace power politics, and a lack of true contrition, leaving Oregonians the impression he learned nothing from the incident.

The Oregon House Democrats and House District 48 residents deserve better than this. The district, which includes Portland and Happy Valley, deserves a strong, professional legislator who will do the Democratic party proud.

It’s time to ask Rep. Schaufler to withdraw his bid for re-election and find a stronger candidate to run. Schaufler has no place serving as the Democratic candidate. Moreover, given the district and all of Schaufler's actions, keeping him as the Democratic candidate could mean the loss of the seat to Republicans (and in an Oregon House split 30-30, every seat has big consequences).

Being a state legislator is a privilege, not a right. This should be the final straw for Rep. Schaufler.

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    Schaufler co-sponsored HB 2183, to make false report of a child abuse a felony. during floor debate, half-a-dozen Dems stood to oppose the bill. Lew Frederick noted the bill's penalty was LESS than the penalty for false report of any crime. Tina Kotek & Sara Gelser noted that reports of abuse are already low & this would likely drive those numbers lower. Betty Komp not only made that argument, she did so in the context of a person who suffer abuse & as an educator who tried to help victims of abuse. several people noted how rare such cases are.

    and Schaufler's reply? "I don't know the facts, but we have to do something."

    he sponsored the bill as a favor to a legislator who had been one of the very few people to be falsely accused in this way (during a divorce). that the bill would have meant more kids would suffer from unreported abuse did not seem to matter to him at all. nor did facts. "We have to do something."

    yes we do. replace Mike Schaufler.

    ps, the bill died in the Senate.

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    I wasn't aware of the AFL/ CIO incident mentioned in the article, but I live in Schaufler's district and I've been pleased by his representation of the working-class people who live in my neighborhood. You're right - he DOESN'T vote in lock-step with the Democratic caucus... if you're looking for someone who just toes the line and does what he's told, I'd suggest voting for a Republican. They're really good at that.

    Rep. Schaufler has always been very responsive to his constituents - he and his office pick up the phone when we call, and if he doesn't agree with our stance he explains his differences and, in some cases, changes his position if enough of us call him with our views.

    There's a reason he's been re-elected so many times out here: he's focused on the lives of the people living in his district, and the issues they bring to him. If a Democratic challenger decides to run against him the next election, s/he had better get to know the people living out here and their view of the world to mount a succesful campaign... Rep. Schaufler certainly does.

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    Maybe Schaufler will cast the 31st vote for Speaker Bruce Hanna in February and "progressives" won't have to feel conflicted about him anymore.

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    I'd just like to offer a post-script... it's ironic that this post should appear a day before a Willamette Week article focusing on East Portland hit the news stands (news stands? Do those still exist?)

    These are the people Rep. Schaufler is working for. You're right, he may not have the same priorities as representatives from the Pearl district or Multnomah Village. His constituents may not, either.

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      As a constituent, and 32 year resident of the district, and as someone who represented this area in the legislature in the House and in the Senate, I disagree. Schaufler should go. He is an embarassment.

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      If only you had held David Wu to the same standard, when reports of his behavior started to surface in 2005. It appears your outrage is selective, depending on whether the elected official votes in lockstep with liberal dogma.

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    On January 1, Mike Schaufler will be my State Rep. I don't know firsthand what happened. But I am very suspicious of this movement to run off Schaufler after accusations, with no proof or a conviction.

    It seems to me that this may have more to do with the DPO and the ultra-left that controls it wanting to purge the last moderate Democrat left in the legislature.

    For the record, I am a Republican, and may not vote for Schaufler in the election. But my experiences with him are of a fair-minded, blunt-talking man of principle and I don't like witch hunts.

    If he is convicted of a crime, or sanctioned by the ethics review board, I may change my mind. But until then, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

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        There is a large difference between an ongoing pattern of behavior like Wu, and a one-time incident. Stories about Wu have been bubbling around for years, but as long as he voted the straight party ticket, the dems turned a deaf ear.

        Eventually his behavior was a liability greater than his ability to deliver votes for the left, and the party let him know it was time to go. If he hadn't resigned, he certainly would have been sanctioned by Congress.

        Now in regards to Schaufler, if a pattern emerges of boorish or criminal behavior, that is something else again. My point is: you all are holding him to a different standard than you would a kool-aid drinking, straight caucus voting Democrat.

        I get it. Schaufler isn't liberal enough for you, and you want an excuse to dump him. but being the House Democrat's least favorite member isn't a crime.

        So yes, waiting to find the truth is a "tough standard". I will not accept that it is OK to throw someone overboard until a preponderance of the facts are known.

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