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Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in Oregon Politics: Cedric Hayden, Diane Rosenbaum, and Cylvia Hayes

Friday, October 02, 2015


Representative Cedric Hayden


Representative Cedric Hayden. This summer was one of the worst fire seasons on record. The state spent roughly $74m with dozens of houses, nearly 95,000 acres of state-protected land and about 650,000 acres of federal land destroyed. There were over a thousand firefighters on the front lines battling these fires, but only one was an elected official.

While I was binge-watching OITNB and Daredevil, Representative Cedric Hayden spent his summer fighting the Stout Fire near his home in Roseburg and the Corner Creek Fire near John Day making sure the casualties were not greater. Apparently being a full time dentist wasn’t taking up enough of his time. A cynic might suggest that fighting raging forest fires was a pleasant reprieve from dealing with the democrats in Salem.

Needless to say, he was a lot more active than I was (and as you can tell from the picture ---> a lot more manly than I ever will be). When you put yourself in danger to protect this state, you get in the Hot Column. So, nice work Representative Hayden.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz. Last week Commissioner Fritz made the Hot Column for what she did not have to do, namely run a competitive race to retain her seat on the City Council. This week Commissioner Fritz makes the Hot column for what she did do. She stood up to Mayor Charlie Hales and told him to go pound sand.

As the Commissioner in charge of the Bureau of Parks & Recreation, she has final say of what contracts are entered into on behalf of the city regarding public parks. Nike was the corporate sponsor of Duniway Park, the park next to the old downtown YMCA, but that contract expired nearly 16 years ago. Enter Under Armour, the sportswear manufacturer that has been slowly chipping away at Nike’s market share (it still isn’t even close, but it is more than Nike would like).

They recently purchased the old YMCA and are in the process of converting it to their new North American headquarters (what an amazing coincidence that they would choose the same city where Nike’s headquarters is located!).

Anywho, Under Armour wanted the corporate sponsorship of Duniway Park since it is right next door and offered the city 5.5m. They would even spring for new soccer fields and a few other perks. Fritz said, “Great!” Easy peasy, right? Not so fast.

Last week, the Mayor asked Fritz to hold off signing a deal with Under Armour. Rather he wanted her to send the deal to the City Council for approval. I am not sure what the Mayor thought would change if the entire City Council got to vote on this contract. It is not like they all got cash from Nike in the last election like he did.

Maybe if Hales hadn’t stripped Fritz of the Bureau of Development Services a few months ago and left her to find this out from news reporters, she may have been inclined to indulge the Mayor. As it stands now, not so much.

So, for standing your ground, welcome Commissioner Fritz once again to the Hot Column. On a completely unrelated note, the Ted Wheeler lawn signs you ordered should be arriving any day now.

Matt Geiger. Matt Geiger is running to be State Representative for District 22 and he might be getting an early Christmas present. Word out of Salem is that Representative Betty Komp is not running for re-election. His road to Salem will not be easy as the Dems have more than a 2000 voter registration edge in the district, however, his chances of winning are a lot better if she decides not to run.

Keep in mind, this is not the same Matt Geiger who ran against and lost to the five-term Representative two years ago. That Matt Geiger was a Republican. This Matt Geiger is a member of the Independent Party. It is unclear why he changed parties. He seems to be running on the same platform and he is still getting money from conservative rainmaker Andrew Stimson. Maybe he thinks voters will be more inclined to send an Independent to the Capitol. Maybe just like wrapping a dog’s pill in a piece of cheese, he thinks the Independent Party label will make him easier for the voters to swallow.

His motivation for switching parties, however, is neither here nor there. Whenever you don’t have to face the very popular incumbent that beat you by 10 points in the last election, that gets you in the Hot Column. Speaking of the Independent Party...


The Independent Party of Oregon/The Oregon Giving Back Fund. The Independent Party of Oregon made headlines in August when it was certified as a major political party in the state of Oregon. The major force behind the growth of the party, the push for certification and the co-chairs of the state committee are the husband and wife team of Linda Williams and Dan Meek (Why is that important? Keep reading).

The Oregon Giving Back Fund (OGBF) was established in 2013 as a non-profit in the state of Oregon with the purpose of, according to its limited web presence:

“...support[ing] established projects, principally in Oregon, in the areas of protecting the environment and supporting education at all levels. We also have an interest in supporting projects dealing with local, national, or international justice issues, especially in areas overlooked by others.”

On August 21, four days after certification, the Independent Party received a $3,000 contribution from the OGBF. There are several reasons why this transaction stands out.

First of all, contributions to state political parties do not seem to fall into the purview of the Fund’s mission statement. Also, the Fund purportedly provides educational grants, not money to fund political campaigns. I wonder if the donors to this non-profit know where their money is going. Who are they? Unfortunately, there is no way to find out. The OGBF is a registered 501(c)4 so there is no requirement that the names of the contributors be revealed. That also means there is no way to find out where this money came from.

Secondly, this contribution is remarkable because of the people running the show at the OGBF. Linda Williams is the registered agent and Dan Meek was one of the incorporators and is currently listed as the Secretary. Exactly, the same duo running the show in the Independent Party. Well, isn’t that convenient. I assume it didn’t take much convincing to get that contribution.

The relationship between these two organizations is just a little too cozy. It also remains to be seen whether those who gave money to the educational grant giving nonprofit knew that it would find its way to the Independent Party coffers. And lastly, the lack of transparency. Voters have the right to know who is giving to political campaigns and which groups support which causes. These two groups hit the trifecta and that is what lands them in the Not Column.

Senator Diane Rosenbaum. Senator Diane Rosenbaum represents District 21 located in the heart of Southeast Portland. She was also the Majority Leader for the Senate Democrats until Monday when the Senate Dems voted to replace her with Senator Ginny Burdick. Well that is a fine how-do-you-do. After leading the Dems in arguably their most successful legislative session ever she gets the ax.

Why did this happen? Nobody knows for sure, but there is a lot of speculation. One theory is that Senate President Peter Courtney needed someone better to balance the urban progressive wing of the party with the rural moderate wing. Some suggest that Rosenbaum’s progressive leanings did not sit well with the Dem Senators outside of the Portland/Eugene areas and the entire caucus wanted her gone. Another rumor is that Sen. Courtney just likes Sen. Burdick more. They are closer politically and get along better with each other. One thing is certain, it wasn’t her choice.

Observers say the Senate Majority Leader is a tough position since Courtney gives the position almost no respect and is kept out of decisions. Maybe that was just because of who was in the role. If not, the best of luck to Senator Burdick.

On the bright side, this newfound freedom now affords Rosenbaum the opportunity to explore higher office. She was vocal about wanting the Secretary of State appointment that went to Jeanne Atkins, maybe that office still holds some appeal. Rosenbaum was elected Senator of District 21 in 2008 to replace a young upstart named Kate Brown who decided she would rather be Secretary of State. Maybe she is not finished following in Governor’s footsteps.

Cylvia Hayes. This last entry is not so much a Not...or a Hot, it is more of a public service. For those of you who are curious about what the former first lady is doing and what is on her mind you can check out her blog.

There you can find out about what she has been up to since she left the Governor’s mansion, her thoughts on the events that took place and the occasional poetry. She has opened herself up once again and that takes some guts, but one wonders why she doesn’t just keep a diary.

You would think she would want to keep a low profile considering she is still being investigated from the Federal level all the way down to the State Board of Ethics. But to each their own. Oh well, if I can have what is essentially a blog here in my own Portland bubble, she can have hers. Maybe I should be including some politically-themed poetry in mine. Hmmm...


Related Slideshow: Oregon’s 7 New Political Power Players

Check out GoLocalPDX's list of Oregon's 7 New Political Power Players:

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1 to 5: The Power Set

1) Oregon Representative Tina Kotek (D)

The Speaker of the State House of Representatives was re-elected to represent North and NE Portland with 83 percent of the vote. She's also leader of the House Democratic Caucus, which gained a member in the election.

The University of Oregon graduate, who is also Speaker of the House, has energized a base of young voters by advocating for education reform - namely capping college tuition and fees and expanding the Oregon Opportunity Grant.

With statewide offices being vacated in 2016 and the open race for governor coming up in 2018, Kotek may not stay House Speaker for long.

To become Oregon's first openly gay governor, she'll have to expand her base beyond the young and urban voters who support her.

Portland political analyst James Moore said that for Kotek to continue her political rise into the governorship, "she's got to show she's not just a Portland city representative, and the Speaker position is a great position to show that."

While younger voters may be enthusiastic about her, "proportionally they don't vote very much," Moore said.

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1 to 5: The Power Set

2) Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D)

Ellen Rosenblum is the first female attorney general in the state's history.

She could be a strong candidate for the gubernatorial race in 2018, considering she's already won a statewide partisan election to earn her current position in 2012.

With the scandals and controversy surrounding the re-election campaign of Gov. John Kitzhaber, which included multiple accusations of ethics violations, voters may be wanting the sound judgement of a candidate with decades of experience practicing law.

Rosenblum is married to Richard Meeker, publisher of Portland newspaper Willamette Week. If elected governor, she and Meeker may be the most influential power couple to have ever lived in Mahonia Hall.

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1 to 5: The Power Set

3) Oregon Senator Peter Courtney (D)

Marion County voters once again re-elected the most tenured member of the state legislature, Rep. Peter Courtney.

Courtney, who is also an instructor at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, is a member of five legislative committees, including the capitol construction subcommittee.

Given the length of time he's held his position as a legislator, it's unlikely that Courtney aspires to higher political office but with Democrats picking up two seats in the legistlature, he now oversees a chamber with that much more power to achieve the party’s agenda. It may be the best senate he’s commanded in years. 

Republican Sen. Jeff Kruse said Republican lawmakers will be unable to stop almost all initiatives proposed by democrats, except for those pertaining to certain topics, like taxes.

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1 to 5: The Power Set

4) U.S. Congressman Greg Walden (R)

Greg Walden is the only Republican representing Oregon in Congress, but is considered by some pundits to be one of the top five most powerful Republican lawmakers in the nation.

While his congressional district encompasses most of the state, Walden hasn't been especially focused on campaign issues. Instead, he's been operating the Republican Congressional Leadership Committee, an organization tasked with increasing the number of Republicans elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

With the Republicans taking a staggering 246 seats in the U.S. House this election, he’s sure to get a slap on the back and perhaps a promotion.

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1 to 5: The Power Set

5) Oregon Representative Susan McClain (D)

Voters elected McClain to serve on the Metro Council for four consecutive terms before electing her to represent Oregon's 3rd district in the state House of Representatives.

McClain, a schoolteacher from Hillsboro, ran her campaign on education reforms and environmental protection, and may play a significant role in legislation that would establish a sustainable source of funding to support the state's colleges and universities.

With proven electability, it's anyone's guess where McClain's political career may take her.

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The WIld Cards

6) City Club of Portland Executive Director Sam Adams (D)

Although Adams isn't technically running for anything (yet), he has been politically active with the City Club of Portland - a think tank focused on public policy.

Since leaving office, the former mayor of Portland has been busy taking the helm as the organization's technical director - increasing members by approximately 50 percent in two years.

With the name recognition and political clout to make a comeback to public office, many are looking to Adams to make a bid in 2018.

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The Wild Cards

7) Secretary of State Kate Brown (D)

As Secretary of State, Brown passed a series of reforms — like streamlining how a measure is put on a ballot  — that earned Oregon top marks in elections transparency from the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center. She also implemented online voter registration.

The most dynamic thing about Brown, however, is her political position now: she acts as a de-facto lieutenant governor, while at the same time benefiting from being outside the Governor’s office itself. Although Oregon doesn't have a lieutenant governor, under state law Brown would step in should the governor be unable to perform his duties of office. 

With ethics probes against Kitzhaber and several investigations into Cover Oregon set to begin, we'll see what happens.


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