Sources Say: Democrats vocal in support of labor unions
In case you don't think Democrats and public employee unions support each other, check out just the local reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that public employees can't be compelled to pay union dues.
Within minutes of the June 28 ruling being reported, state Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, emailed a statement declaring the decision "harms workers everywhere." It was followed by a statement from Democratic Oregon Gov. Kate Brown saying she "stands with Oregon union members."
After that, Democratic Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley said he "decries" the decision. Then Democratic Oregon 1st District Rep. Earl Blumenauer said it will "hurt working families." Next, Democratic Party of Oregon Chair Jeanne Atkins said Oregon Democrats "stand united with partners in labor." And then Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, promised the city "will continue to work with and value our unions."
Not surprisingly, the ruling was supported by Republican state Rep. Knute Buehler of Bend, who is running against Brown for governor.
Merkley mum on re-election bid
Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley doesn't want to talk about giving up his seat to run for president in 2020.
The New York Times reported the liberal Democrat is "considering" such a run June 21. He also is up for re-election that year, however, and the Oregon Constitution prohibits anyone from seeking two "lucrative" offices in the same election.
Asked whether Merkley believes he cannot run for re-election if he runs for president, his office would only say, "Sen. Merkley is laser-focused on 2018 right now, so he is thinking about getting Democratic colleagues into office and reclaiming 'we the people' democracy."
The possibility of a U.S. Senate seat coming open should interest ambitious politicians throughout Oregon, including statewide officeholders and members of the Congressional delegation.