Photo courtesy of the Oregon Legislature
Of the nine state representatives serving Marion County constituencies, four were freshmen in 2015. Rep. Mike Nearman was no stranger to the legislature, however. In his previous life as a software engineer, Rep. Nearman developed the Track Their Vote database and web site utilized by the Oregon Citizens' Lobby to track legislation and legislators in Salem. During the 2013-14 session he was a principal volunteer haunting the halls and offices of the Capitol.
Entering his fourth Assembly, Rep. Nearman has generally avoided the limelight while also helping conservative citizen lobbyists navigate the halls of the Capitol and understand the legislative process. But the triple conjunction of Wuhan virus, Democrat overreach, and a third special session in December 2020 set him squarely in the crosshairs of the political opponents. With citizens protesting outside the closed Capitol while the legislature was meeting, Rep. Nearman exited the building without considering the open doors in his wake. Activists succeeded in stopping the doors before they closed and entered the building. Although State Police troopers were quick to arrest and detain them, the Speaker and Democrat legislators, along with the media, have piled on to punish him. At this time Rep. Nearman has been stripped of his committee and commission duties, restricted from accessing the Capitol as a legislator, and the Speaker is irresponsibly pushing for his resignation. Read his statement regarding the furor.
The House Republican caucus tried to ride the session out, waiting for the court system to work through the controversy. Rep. Nearman was charged with two misdemeanors in connection to the 21 December incident. But the surfacing of a bootleg recording of a Freedom Foundation presentation at which he appeared to lay out a scheme for civil disobedience focused on gaining entrance to the Capitol provided Democrats with all they needed oust Rep. Nearman from the Legislature. Speaker Kotek and Rep. Paul Holvey sponsored House Resolution 3 that called for his expulsion. At a special evening floor session on Thursday, 10 June, the entire House of Representatives for the first time in Oregon history voted to expel a Member. The vote was 59-1.
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