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Bernie Sanders Supporters Launch Oregon Effort

Friday, July 10, 2015


Bernie Sanders

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders long-shot campaign for president has caught on fire in recent weeks. He's going from early voting state to early state with his unabashedly liberal message and picking up a lot of support along the way. Recent rallies have seen as many as 5,000 people. Not bad seven months until the first caucus. 

The likelihood of Bernie Sanders being a viable candidate in Oregon is small. That isn't stopping his supporters from catching the current wave of enthusiasm and launching their organizing effort. He is currently running against former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, retired Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The latter is the only one with a hint of a campaign apparatus in Oregon to date, yet that is set to change.

Next Monday night, supporters of Bernie Sanders bid for president will meet up at Ex Novo Brewing in Portland. During the evening they will begin organizing for the May 2016 Primary Election in Oregon. The message about the candidate gets right to the heart of the matter pointing out he is "the only presidential candidate in our lifetime who isn't a multimillionaire."

As GoLocalPDX reported last week, Sanders, independent from any party but considers himself a Socialist, would not be allowed to be on a ballot for any other office in Oregon as a Democrat. Whether he is able to access the ballot in Oregon remains and open question. Last week Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins office indicated they didn’t know the answer and had to seek legal counsel.

If Sanders does well in the Iowa caucuses and is legally eligible for the Oregon ballot, former Oregon elections officials seem to think that Secretary Atkins would likely allow him a spot. The decision will presumably need to be made in early February. At that point only negligible amount of convention voters will have been decided. But by the time our election in late May rolls around, the nominee will likely already be known. Sanders seems poised to stay in for the long run. If he isn’t able to win the nomination, he still wants to influence the party to the left as much as possible. Even though he is not a registered Democrat, Sanders is still eligible to earn convention delegates.

If it were still a competitive race when it's our turn in the long line of primaries, Oregon would see a huge influx of money and candidate visits. While this feels unlikely, many thought the same during 2008. With a nomination that remained up for grabs until June of that year, Oregonians saw candidates and their star supporters over and over again.

Whether or not Oregonians will see a competitive race again next year remains to be seen. But the Sanders supporters advertise that the “establishment will not overthrow itself.” So, if you are in the mood for beer with your dinner of red political meat... you may want to stop by Ex Novo on Monday.


Related Slideshow: Recreational Pot Officially Legal in OR: What State Advocates Have to Say

State and non-profit leaders of the drug reform movement gathered at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to speak about what legal weed means for Oregon, and why it matters.

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U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.)

Congressman Blumenauer has championed several legislative efforts to reform marijuana laws.

"I am extraordinarily pleased with what has happened at the state level making progress to be able to refine the initiative that was passed with 56 percent of the vote. 

It's part of this momentum- being able to take what the voters have enacted and refine it and move it forward so that Oregon can be a text book example of how to do it right."

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U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.)

"We're in the midst of a dramatic change all across the country. New states will be voting on it. The Federal Government over the next five years will be modernizing it based on what we've seen."

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Measure 91 chief petitioner Anthony Johnson

Anthony Johnson co-wrote the new marijuana law, led the campaign to pass it, and explained why a legal approach to marijuana is better for Oregon.

"It's a really great day for cannabis law reform across the country because Oregon has helped lead the way for decades now and we will continue to lead the way.

Also today, the legislature further improved and reduced marijuana penalties and passed a bill that will allow for past marijuana offenses to be set aside in line with the new laws and for it to be expunged from their criminal record."

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Measure 91 chief petitioner Anthony Johnson

"Starting at midnight we will have thousands of less people being cited for marijuana. We will better prioritize our law enforcement resources and soon we will start creating new jobs and generating new revenue for our state that will pay for things that our state desperately needs: public safety, drug education, substance abuse treatment programs and drug prevention programs to better keep minors from getting marijuana."

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Moms for Yes on Measure 91 and Women Grow co-chair Leah Maurer

Leah Maurer, a mother of three, co-chairs the Oregon chapter of Women Grow Portland and organizes mom-related events.  She spoke about how marijuana legalization benefits children.

"Under the current system marijuana is very easy for children and teens to get ahold of. It's being sold everywhere. Under the measure 91 system it will be regulated and only sold to adults.

Under the current system we have adults all over the state being arrested for small amounts of marijuana. Under measure 91, all those law enforcement resources will be freed up to focus on violent crimes and issues I feel far more strongly about- as a parent."

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Moms for Yes on Measure 91 and Women Grow co-chair Leah Maurer

"Parents have a responsibility to educate their children. Just as we educate our children about weapons, cars and alcohol, we have a responsibility to educate our children about marijuana."

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Racial justice advocate and ACLU of Oregon executive director David Rogers

A recent ACLU study found that people of color in Oregon are more than twice as likely to be arrested for marijuana related crimes, despite no disparity in use. Rogers spoke about how that changes now that recreational pot is legal.

"People of color are twice as likely in Oregon to be cited or arrested for marijuana than our whites, and some areas of Oregon are worse than others. Black residents in Multnomah County are over three times more likely to be cited and arrested for marijuana, and in Lane County that's three and a half times more likely. 

Sadly we also know that arrest can also carry challenging collateral consequences that create long-term barriers to things like access to housing and employment."

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Racial justice advocate and ACLU of Oregon executive director David Rogers

"With the passage and implementation of Measure 91, Oregon can celebrate a racial justice victory and take satisfaction in removing some of the justice system's troubling collateral consequences that can ruin people's lives."


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