Of Course Dennis Richardson is Allied with the Freedom Foundation; He’s as Extreme as They Come

Dennis Richardson claims on his website that, as Oregon Secretary of State, he won’t “use this position for partisan agendas or personal gain.” However, one has to question the validity of this statement. Richardson is as extreme and partisan as they come. In previous public statements, he was front and center at the Freedom Foundation’s fundraiser at the Oregon Zoo last summer and he’s been a guest on the Freedom Foundation podcast with Anne Marie Gurney. Gurney, if you remember once wrote on a personal blog that “We all know there were good and bad slave owners just like there are good and bad dog owners.” But Richardson doesn’t need Anne Marie Gurney to validate how extreme he is.

We just need to look at his record.

In 2011, Richardson promoted the anti-worker policies of Scott Walker in Wisconsin suggesting that Walker’s policies should be enacted in Oregon. He opposes raising the minimum wage as well as mandatory paid sick leave for workers. Using the absurd language, typical of the Freedom Foundation and the extreme right, he claimed that, if enacted, employers could face “imprisonment” for failing to provide paid sick leave to their employees.

As a legislator, Richardson looked for ways to make it harder for working Oregonians to vote:

“Two measures Richardson supported, House Bill 2583 in 2005 and House Bill 3432 in 2009, would have required eligible voters to provide proof of U.S. citizenship before they could register to vote. While voters currently must attest to their eligibility, the bills would have required them to prove it using a passport, naturalization document or birth certificate.

“In 2007, Richardson tried to force a vote on House Bill 3554, an immigration bill that included provisions that would have required residents to prove citizenship to register to vote.”

He also supported SB 1080 in 2008, which required proof of citizenship for driver license applicants.

But his extremism doesn’t stop at limiting voting rights and harmful anti-immigrant policy. In 2007, Richardson “railed against” the bill in Oregon which granted same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex married couples stating, ‘“this essentially creates special rights for gay and lesbian couples, but discriminates against other couples,” such as two sisters, or a mother and daughter.’

That same day in 2007, Richardson “argued passionately against a bill to prohibit businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation,” comparing sexual orientation “to smoking and drinking, saying all are based on someone’s behavior.” He even related those bills to the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in which 32 people were killed and 17 wounded. “He combined the two events in his newsletter under the headline ‘A tragic week in review.’”

And if that’s not enough, Richardson recently met with Trump administration Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, with whom he shares support for diverting public funding to private schools.“ Richardson “described DeVos as an ‘activist’ and supporter of ‘parental choice in education.’” Meanwhile, thousands of educators, students and parents are protesting Devos’ appointment.

So don’t believe Dennis Richardson when he says he won’t use the Secretary of State’s office for partisan gain. Look at his past positions and statements, look at what he’s prioritized during the first few months in office and look at his friends at the Freedom Foundation. It’s perfectly clear that Richardson is out to enact the agenda of the far right and the Freedom Foundation.

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