Press Releases

Dorchester conference provides opportunity for Oregon GOP to take a stand against hate speech

Feb 28, 2018


For Immediate Release
Contact: Molly Woon
press [at] dpo [dot] org
Dorchester conference provides opportunity for Oregon GOP to take a stand against hate speech
February 28, 2018 
PORTLAND — The Democratic Party of Oregon is calling on leaders in the Oregon Republican Party to take a stand against a recent pattern of hate speech from conservative luminaries appearing across the state. Following visits by right-wing personalities Sheriff David Clarke in Portland and John Guandolo in Bend, the annual Dorchester Conference this weekend features a keynote speech by another controversial figure — Roger Stone.  
Stone, a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster”, was banned from appearing on CNN and booted from Twitter because of his incendiary and hateful rhetoric. He was an early collaborator and business partner with Paul Manafort, the disgraced former Chairman of the Trump presidential campaign. This week, accusations surfaced that Stone was the secret backchannel connection between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks. 
“Oregon Republicans have some soul searching to do,” said Jeanne Atkins, Chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon. “The who’s who of the Oregon GOP will gather in our state capitol this weekend and their choice of featured speakers is appalling. Republicans are increasingly out of touch with voters and their promotion of speakers who are known for hate speech and public deceit is frightening.”
Stone’s visit comes on the heels of an event hosted by the Deschutes County Republicans featuring John Guandolo, a disgraced former FBI agent, known Islamophobe, and conspiracy theorist. Earlier in the month, Sheriff David Clarke headlined the 2018 Freedom Rally, organized by the Oregon Liberty Alliance, a right leading advocacy group. Clarke — who was joined at the rally by Congressman Greg Walden — is a right-wing pundit and spokesperson for the pro-Donald Trump super PAC America First Action. He has a history of toxic rhetoric about people ranging from former President Barack Obama to artist Beyoncé.
“It is troubling that these conservative events have happened in the shadow of a just-released Southern Poverty Law Center reportthat prominently highlights Oregon's history of hate speech and intolerance,” said Atkins. “Meanwhile, a group with close ties to a white supremacist network is circulating Initiative Petition 22, a measure that would repeal Oregon’s 30-year-old Sanctuary Law and pave the way for the federal government to pressure local and state law enforcement to systematically target immigrant communities.”
The Dorchester conference is the largest gathering of political conservatives in Oregon each year. Unlike the Democratic Party of Oregon’s biennial Summit, sessions and speeches are not livestreamed for the public.
“Because this weekend’s conference will be held behind closed doors, Oregonians must demand answers from Republicans like Greg Walden, Knute Buehler, Greg Wooldridge, and Sam Carpenter about the disturbing direction of the GOP in Oregon. These men need to show leadership and explain where they stand on hate speech and be clear about their values to Oregon voters,” said Atkins.


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