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Fagan-Bailey race speeds along on economic issues

Photo Credit: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-House District 51) presents opponent Jodi Bailey with a mailer accusing Fagan of lying to police. Fagan demanded Bailey retract the accusation, to which Bailey responded that her campaign did not fund the mailer. A note of tension rang through North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs N Issues Candidate Debate the morning of Thursday, Oct. 16, as Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-District 51) accused Republican challenger Jodi Bailey of defamation in her closing statements.

Fagan says a flyer mailed to thousands of area residents incorrectly stated that she lied to a police officer about needing to attend a legislative meeting. The officer had stopped her 2004 Mercedes E32 in heavy rain on Interstate 5 near Salem for: going 83 mph in a 65 mph zone, following too closely and failing to signal during a lane change.

Public records show Fagan paid $260 for a citation in the traffic incident that occurred at 8:48 a.m. on Feb. 24. Minutes from the House Committee on Business and Labor also show Fagan was present for a 9:10 a.m. vote that day.

A mailer sponsored by Promote Oregon and sent to area homes argued Fagan was not in any meetings until later that afternoon and therefore lied to police.

“Obviously, I expect to disagree with things my opponent says about me and vice versa. It is, after all, a campaign,” Fagan said to a room full of employers, government officials and candidates. “But this goes well beyond disagreement. This is defamation.

“If you want to tell people abut a traffic ticket I paid six months ago, be my guest,” the Happy Valley resident continued. “But to tell thousands of people that I lied to police when you could have easily discovered that I did not, that’s just irresponsible. And you owe me, and the voters, a retraction.”

Bailey responded by saying she was aware of the claims made on the flyer and disapproved of Fagan’s driving but also didn’t sponsor or approve the message.

“At the end of the day, I did not put out this flyer. This was put out by Promote Oregon,” Bailey said. “If they said something false, I will ask them to correct themselves and apologize. I have no problem doing that. But, at the end of the day, you still were driving recklessly, you still were doing something dangerous and even if you were in a hurry, I don’t think being in a hurry to get to a meeting was worth endangering your own life — you’re a mother — or that of anyone else on the road.”

Promote Oregon Leadership PAC is a caucus of House Republicans based in Bandon working to elect Republican members to the legislature. As of press time, Promote Oregon was Bailey’s second-largest contributor, behind Stimson Lumber, with $27,939, including an Oct. 7 in-kind donation of $2,895 for a “mailer.”

From Damascus to marijuana

Prior to the post-debate frisson, Fagan and Bailey argued mostly along party lines about questions of raising the minimum wage, promoting schools and business interests.

The issue of the stalled development in the City of Damascus also came up, giving Fagan the ability to tout her co-sponsorship of House Bill 4029, giving some properties, such as General Distributors Inc., the ability to de-annex from the city. (Damascus officials are battling the bill in court, saying it is unconstitutional for the state to alter its boundaries.)

“Damascus is a unique problem, so you have to have a unique solution,” Fagan said.

Bailey said as a representative she would listen to the constituents in Damascus and support what they want to see happen.

Fagan split from her party when she said she did not support Measure 91 which would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. As the daughter of a formerly drug-addicted and homeless mother, Fagan said she had seen firsthand that drug use isn’t harmless. She advocated waiting until Oregon could learn from Washington’s and Colorado’s experiments with legalization.

“I do see the writing on the wall. I do think this is coming,” Fagan said, but added: “What’s the hurry?”

Bailey agreed that Oregon should wait to fully understand the possible unintended consequences of legalization and noted that today’s marijuana tends to be more potent and more likely to be made into edible products.

“What’s going to protect our children from them when they are being made into the form of candy?”

Differing Oregon stories

Bailey admitted to nervousness during the debate and lacked specificity in her arguments, but made an impassioned plea for the opportunity to work hard for business interests in her district.

“I’m very passionate about supporting all of your independent and small businesses. You are the back bone of this state,” she told the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce members.

Bailey — who is a staunch advocate of American-made products as part of her work as director of membership for the Building a Better America Council — said she would work hard for job creation through deregulation of businesses and boosting funding for skills training at community colleges and high schools.

“Those are the things that I’m out there talking about every day,” she said.

Fagan touted her votes for increased education budgets and capital for entrepreneurs, adding that she hopes to work on while telling her “Oregon story” of a girl raised by a single dad, working her way through law school to be a business attorney.

“As a mom, I worry that the same opportunities that Oregon gave me — that many of you gave me — won’t be there for the next generation,” she said. “So as your state representative I’m fighting to change that.”

Follow the money:

Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-District 51) has received $96,303 from Future PAC House Builders in the last 12 months, her top contributor. Future PAC is a Democratic Party caucus working to elect Democratic members of congress. The Democratic Party of Oregon is second with $43,517, followed by Citizen Action for Political Education, a union PAC, with $22,726.

Challenger Jodi Bailey’s top contributor is Stimson Lumber with $40,000, followed by Promote Oregon Leadership PAC, a house Republican caucus, at $27,939. Her third-largest contributor with $15,000 is the campaign of Rep. Mike McLane (R-District 55) in Central Oregon.

By Shasta Kearns Moore
email: shasta@portlandtribune.com
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