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Calling for Accountability: Representative Nearman Must Resign or Be Expelled from the Legislature

In January, surveillance video was released that revealed State Representative Mike Nearman literally opening the door for violent rioters to attack the Oregon State Capitol while it was closed for a special session to deal with the COVID crisis. Immediately after, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon (PPAO) joined with other community organizations, unions and local lawmakers to call for Nearman to be removed from office if he failed to resign.

On April 30, the Marion County District Attorney charged Nearman with criminal misconduct, charges that could lead to a year in jail and substantial fines. In light of those criminal charges, PPAO is redoubling our calls. We urge all members of the Oregon House of Representatives to protect the Oregon Capitol and follow the Constitution by removing Nearman from office if he does not resign.

According to the Marion County District Attorney, Nearman “unlawfully and knowingly” opened the door for violent rioters who attacked police and threatened lawmakers. They were brandishing assault rifles and bear mace. By aiding their attack, Nearman put the lives of everyone in the Capitol at risk, especially BIPOC legislators and staff.

Oregon’s Capitol needs to be welcoming to all people. That means it has to be a safe place for people of all faiths, ages, genders, races, ethnicities and sexual orientations.

The rally outside that day was organized by far-right extremists like Patriot Prayer and the Three Percenters. These organizations have a long history of espousing racist and xenophobic viewpoints and pushing their agendas with threats of violence and intimidation.

Unfortunately, this is not Nearman’s first encounter with these organizations. He has a long history of allying with groups that promote white supremacy and extremism, including being a leader of Oregon’s largest anti-immigrant hate group.

By unapologetically allowing the rioters into the building, Nearman created an unsafe atmosphere at the Capitol and impeded Oregonians, including our members and leaders, access to their state government.

The Oregon Constitution states that the Oregon House can expel one of their members for “disorderly behavior.” If these actions do not rise to the level of “disorderly,” then nothing does. Whether he resigns or is removed, Nearman should not serve another day in the Legislature.

Posted on May 14, 2021 in News.
 
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