In his latest newsletter, state Sen. James Manning (D-Eugene) tells us, “Citizen engagement is a critical part of a representative democracy. I strongly encourage all my constituents to share testimony so your elected leaders can be confident their decisions represent the will of the Oregon people.”
Manning’s voting record belies his message. He has repeatedly shown that he has little use for “citizen engagement” or “the will of the people.”
In 2019, Manning and his fellow Democrats revoked the voter mandates of Measures 88 (2014) and 97 (2016). With bogus “emergency” clauses and “Plan B” bills they effectively eliminated the citizen referendum option. Senate Bill 761 suppressed citizen initiatives.
In the current session, Manning co-sponsored SB 554 to remove rights from concealed carry permit holders for no substantiated reason. Against an overwhelming amount of opposing testimony, Manning and his Democrat colleagues passed the bill out of committee on a party line vote. Manning has also targeted the Measure 11 voter mandate with his House Bill 2002.
I respect Sen. Manning for his military service but I’ve seen these scenarios time and again in my 20-plus years of working legislative issues. He is not the only legislator who disingenuously professes support for citizen participation.
Democrats in this deep blue state have learned that the voters will re-elect them no matter what they do. Accordingly, they have little or no need for citizen engagement and it regularly shows.