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Tigards House race runs off-road into the mud

Running to retain his seat in the Oregon Legislature, Rep. Larry Galizio is challenged by first-time candidate Shirley Parsons

The House District 35 campaign took a turn towards the mud in September with the mailing of a brochure from the Republican Party in support of their candidate, Shirley Parsons.

Challenger Parsons' election campaign released the negative advertising brochure as she runs for the House seat currently held by the incumbent, Democrat Larry Galizio.

The campaign season which usually kicks off on Labor Day, saw both candidates airing television ads and mailing brochures to homes in House District 35, made up of Tigard and King City, starting in August.

In Galizio's first two campaign brochures he informed voters of his endorsements from emergency services associations like the Tigard Police Association and Oregon Firefighters Council.

Meanwhile, Parsons held a series of forums inviting Tigard area public servants to speak on issues, people like Tigard's Police Chief Bill Dickenson speaking about home safety and Tualatin/Tigard School district's superintendent, Rob Saxton talking about school funding.

In an early E-mailed press release over the summer, a release that was later retracted, Parsons claimed endorsements from the King City Police Chief Chuck Fessler, Tigard's Chief Dickinson and Beaverton's Police Chief, David Bishop. But it was later found that Fessler and Dickinson could only endorse Parsons as private citizens, and it was not all right to claim endorsements from the chiefs representing the cities they worked for. However, Bishop said he could endorse Parsons representing the city of Beaverton as its chief of Police. But it hardly mattered because House District 35 boundaries included only a few voters in Beaverton.

On her spring primary post-election financial report Parsons listed several business she uses to administer her campaign: Adams and Company, a Republican political consultant, Gateway Communications Inc., a mailing service used by Adams and Company, and Capitol Accounting Service of Salem.

Parsons' first brochure was printed in color and introduced her as a former Portland Police detective to the residents in the district. It was a fairly typical campaign brochure showing her in a photograph with her son. And it talks about House Speaker Karen Minnis' Stable Schools Plan, limiting taxes and fighting crime.

But her second brochure printed in gray and green was more along the lines of a negative ad that includes a black and white photo of the incumbent Galizio caught in what can best be described as one of those worst moments when you hope a picture is not being taken.

The brochures message asks 'Who is Galizio representing?' They ask the voter to take a look at his voting record and names seven issues that came up in the 2005 legislative session.

The issues mentioned in the brochure relating to Galizio's voting record are house bills introduce in the 2005 session and all fall into the category of partisan politics when the voting records are examined. Galizio followed his Democratic Party peers and voted against the bills because the Democrats thought they were bad bills. The Republicans voted along party lines for the same reason, either for Republican bills or against Democratic Party introduced bills that often did not make it out of Republican controlled committees.

Parsons' campaign strategy, it is evident in the brochure, seeks to tie Galizio to 'special interests,' that is, is he being swayed by certain groups who he is beholding for his campaign funding.

The Parsons' brochure says, 'Galizio's campaign is being bankrolled by extremely liberal interests who want to increase taxes' and 'Tens of thousands of dollars are pouring into Galizio's campaign from the big public employee unions, radical environmental groups and trial lawyers.'

Take out the adjectives and sure, he's a Democrat getting donations from the public employee union, environmental groups and trial lawyers. Removing 'extremely,' 'big' and 'radical' and what's left is donations most Democrats receive during any campaign.

Galizio also received contributions from Oregon Education Association, Future PAC, the Democrat's state campaign wing, and the Beaverton Teacher's PAC.

Parsons' campaign during the primary was funded by the Republican Party's 'Majority 2006,' with the money being handed out by the House Majority leader, Wayne Scott, a Republican from Canby. There were also a number of contributions from the campaigns of other Republican candidates.

According to Jon Isaacs at the Democrat's Future PAC, with the Oregonian's revelation about Scott's unacknowledged trip to Hawaii on the beer and wine industries tab, campaigns that are fueled by Majority 2006, like Parson's, might be in for some campaign backpedaling to avoid any connection and bad publicity. That would be a tough choice to make for Parsons as a huge amount of her campaign funds comes from Majority 2006.

In the primary cycle Majority 2006 gave $23,955 to Parsons who spent it on payroll for her staff, paid for the consulting services of Chuck Adams, the Republican Party consultant of choice and to Gateway Communications Inc, (GCI), a business often affiliated with Adams for it's mailing services, telemarketing and polling.

Several residents have reported polls in the Tigard, King City area from the Hoffman Group, a business owned by Tim Nashif who is a partner in Gateway Communications Inc.

Parsons also received money in the thousands from Association of Builders and Contractors, Speakers PAC and the OR Local Grocery Committee. As well as hundreds of dollars from Savings and Loan Public Affairs Council and the Distilled Spirits Council.

But none of these contributions matches what Majority 2006 gave her.