The following article contains excerpts from an interview conducted with Republican candidate Teri Grier.
Teri Grier has not given up the fight for rural Oregon. She is running again for State Representative of House District 9. Grier still feels that “the vast rural community of Oregon, which is largely conservative, is under siege by the much louder voice of liberal Portland.”
According to Grier, the rural citizens in her district are struggling to find jobs. The high rate of unemployment has pressured her neighbors to relocate for work. Grier attributes the unemployment rate to the state’s leaders who consistently vote for Portland’s needs, not the needs of the rural community.
To Teri, this crisis is an eerie throwback to her childhood, when she experienced the down turning of several mines in her small town in Arizona. Both her mom and step-dad lost their jobs along with numerous other families, many of which were forced to pack what they could into a truck and drive away, leaving the key in the front door. Teri describes this disaster as a “modern day Grapes of Wrath.”
Teri firmly believes this experience gives her the ability to understand rural Oregon in a way many other legislators cannot. When discussing the possibility of being a voice for these communities, she stated that “the experience that I’ve had can help make that happen. Those places that feel like they’ve been forgotten . . . they’re not forgotten.”
Jump forward over twenty-five years later, and Teri, who now has been working in public policy for over two decades, is aghast as the Oregon Legislature frequently passes major pieces of legislation in less than 30 days that “should take six years or longer.” The lack of transparency in state government and the intentional neglect of rural community needs inspired Grier to begin a write-in campaign for state representative in 2016.
In the 2016 election year, Grier drove all over her district, knocking on thousands and thousands of doors, just listening to local people share. Unfortunately, she lost to Democratic incumbent Caddy McKeown in the fall by 1,111 votes.
However, Teri Grier was not fazed by the loss and is running again. She has the support of many rural communities and conservatives House District 9 from her last campaign. Grier plans to work hard so rural Oregon is not neglected in the future.
Salem, OR – Legislators return to the Oregon Capitol this week. Already some are seeking to pass a bill which would target dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. House Bill 4135 is scheduled for a hearing and possible work session in the House Health Care Committee at 3:00 pm on February 7th. It is believed this bill will move quickly because there are only 35 days in the 2018 regular session.
Last session a similar bill (SB 494) was introduced in the Senate by Senator Floyd Prozanski . It died in the House. The new bill, HB 4135, is chief sponsored by Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek.
“Supporters of this bill are touting it as a ‘fix,’ but the only fixing that is happening is fixing it so vulnerable Oregonians are left without protections and their right to basic care like food and water,” said ORTL Executive Director Lois Anderson. “One wonders what the true motivations are for this legislation.”
HB 4135 is purported to just be a bill that makes technical changes to the current statutory advance directive form found in ORS 127.531. However, over the last 25 years Oregonians at the end-of-life stage have been protected by the current advance directive and removing it from statute has legal consequences.
“The advance directive was put into Oregon statute back in 1993. I was then a state senator when a very well vetted bill was thoroughly discussed and passed. I worked hard to ensure the advance directive was in statute. If it were to be removed from statute, I fear the legal protections we carefully placed there could be jeopardized, potentially harming end of life decisions for vulnerable patients,” stated Representative Bill Kennemer (R- HD 39).
Under current Oregon law, a healthcare representative does not have the authority to make a life ending decision for an incapable person unless the representative has been given authority to do so, or the incapable person is in one of four end of life situations defined in statute.
If HB 4135 is passed a person who appoints a healthcare representative, but makes no decisions regarding end of life care, would be granting his or her healthcare representative the power to make a life ending decision for the principal even when the principal is not in one of the four statutorily defined end of life situations, and even if this is not the will of the principal.
Two bills passed unanimously during Oregon’s 2017 legislative session that will help significantly to raise awareness for and accommodate disabled citizens. Both were sponsored by State Representative Cedric Hayden.
The first bill, House Bill 2591, moved to designate May as the awareness month for Williams Syndrome, which is a rare genetic condition present at birth that is characterized by numerous medical problems, particularly cardiovascular issues, learning disabilities, and developmental delays.
Representative Hayden, who is currently raising his six-year-old daughter with Williams Syndrome, was motivated to introduce the bill because of his personal experience with the disability. He stated that he hoped appointing May as Williams Syndrome Awareness Month would promote medical and fundraiser awareness for the genetic disorder. The other benefit to the bill he noted is that it could help parents identify the disorder in their children earlier and take the appropriate steps for helping their children deal with this disorder.
The other bill, House Bill 3029, allows for parents or legal guardians to postpone for one year the enrollment of their child in public school if the child’s sixth birthday occurs on or before September 1st. Hayden’s daughter, who is delayed around 24-36 months physically and cognitively like many other disabled children, was forced to go to public school at the age of six. The school held her back in kindergarten another year as a result, which Hayden says naturally caused emotional stress for her and the family.
Many parents with children who have cognitive disabilities (Autism, Down Syndrome, etc) have run into similar problems as Hayden. House Bill 3029 addresses exactly that issue by allowing the parents to delay a child’s education to better accommodate his or her cognitive ability. The decision is purely up to the parents without interference from the school board.
Oregon State Representative Bill Post has introduced legislation in the Oregon Legislature which would expand options for women who do not wish to terminate their pregnancies via an abortion.
House Bill 2125 creates a funding source for organizations which “encourage or assist pregnant women in carrying their pregnancies to term.” These organizations would offer information for women on caring for themselves and newborns, fetal development, adequate nutrition, and more. Post believes his proposal would especially benefit low-income women, who may be disproportionately affected by abortions.
Organizations which promote or perform abortions may not receive funding under the bill—in fact, Post’s legislation prohibits the Oregon Health Authority from reimbursing any abortions unless they are performed in cases of rape, incest, or medical emergencies.
If House Bill 2125 passes in the Oregon Legislature, it must still receive a majority of the popular vote in Oregon’s next general election before it can become a law. By contrast, House Bill 2232, which increases funding for abortions, does not propose a statewide referendum.
“Why not let Oregon voters decide where they want their tax dollars spent?” Post asks.
Close to 2,000 conservative Oregonians gathered at Portland’s Oregon Convention Center on Saturday to support fiscal responsibility, family values, and religious liberty.
The 2017 Freedom Rally, sponsored by Oregon Liberty Alliance and its participating members, featured speeches from notable conservative figures such as Virginia Congressman Scott Taylor, best-selling author Star Parker, and Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee delivered the keynote address.
All four speakers affirmed their support for the pro-life cause. “I am a politician because I’m pro-life,” Huckabee said.
Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson addresses rally attendees at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland
Attendees enjoyed a luncheon and perused displays highlighting conservative organizations in Oregon. Oregon Right to Life hosted a booth which educated voters about anti-life legislation such as SB 494 and HB 2232.
To-date, Oregon Liberty Alliance has sponsored four annual rallies, and each event has attracted ever-larger crowds. Attendance increased from roughly 700 people at the 2014 Freedom Rally to nearly 2,000 at this year’s gathering. Organizers hope that the rallies will generate support for conservative candidates in Oregon elections.
Angelique Clark, a junior high school student from Las Vegas, Nevada, had to decide what to do when her school, West Career and Technical Academy, denied her application to start a Pro-Life club. Determined to fight for her rights, Clark sought the help of law firm Thomas More Society, a firm known for helping out in cases like this. The firm sent a demand letter to the school.
When the school board made no answer whatsoever, Clark and the law firm filed a discrimination lawsuit against the school.
“When I first applied to form a pro-life club, I never imagined I would have to sue my school to be able to exercise my free speech rights,” Clark says.
According to a Fox and Friends interview on Fox News, the school claims that the club would be too controversial, and that Angelique doesn’t have a faculty advisor supervising the club. Angelique points that she in fact has had an advisor backing her up since December of 2014, and that considering the school’s inclusion of other Bible clubs, Gay/Straight Alliance clubs, etc., she shouldn’t be discriminated against.
Angelique states that she is a passionate pro-life advocate, has “studied a lot about abortion, and I know the real facts behind it, and I really wanted to educate people about what it really does to women and pre-born human beings. It’s not just a choice. It’s something that affects a lot of people in a very negative way.”