[5440 note: originally published 5 March 13 at WatchdogWire.org/Oregon. This post has been reproduced in its entirety here for the sake of posterity.]
Senator Ginny Burdick (D-18) has long been a proponent of regulating the purchase and ownership of firearms. As we reported last week, gun legislation has been a very hot topic in Oregon during this legislative session. Sen. Burdick originally drafted a bill in December that would ban high capacity magazines, in response to the shooting at the Clackamas Town Center. Recently, she postponed a town hall event that was planned so that she could reach out to her constituents. She cited scheduling conflicts, and promised to reschedule.
However, many questions have been raised as to the validity of the claim of scheduling conflicts. Speculation has been rampant that she did not want to face the voters to defend her stances on gun ban legislation. A local citizen journalist went to Sen. Burdick’s home on the night of the postponed town hall, March 4, to attempt to ascertain what the scheduling conflict may have been. The attached video shows the results.
I became curious and called the Senator’s office for confirmation. Here is the exchange I had with her staffer:
Me: Hi, my name is Jeff and I was concerned about Senator Burdick’s town hall that was postponed last night, can you tell me what the scheduling conflict was?
Him: Yeah, that’s right, there was a conflict, but if you’re a constituent you should be receiving a notice soon.
Me: Oh ok thanks, can you tell me what that scheduling conflict was?
Him: Yeah, there were a variety of things. It was a joint town hall with another representative, and there were a couple of issues there, including scheduling conflicts and a couple of other factors that I’m not at liberty to discuss right now.
Me: Ok, so do you know if or when it will be rescheduled?
Him: Are you a constituent?
Me: No, a friend of mine is and we were both concerned about the schedule.
Him: Oh ok well then he should be receiving an email within the next week or so.
Me: Oh great, so we should hear about rescheduling in about a week?
Me: Ok thanks!
The House Rep who was to have participated in the town hall was Jennifer Williamson (D-36), so I called her office for further details. Rep. Williamson’s office told me that the town hall was originally planned by Sen. Burdick and they were going to jump in to participate since Portland State University, where the event was to be held, is in Rep. Williamson’s district. Rep. Williamson subsequently realized that she had a very tight schedule that day and she couldn’t make it to the town hall that evening. The staffer made it very clear that the town hall was originally scheduled by Sen. Burdick, and was originally scheduled as a solo event, so Rep. Williamson’s conflict had no bearing on the scheduling of this town hall.
The mystery remains as to why the town hall event was canceled, and if Sen. Burdick intends to answer questions regarding her gun legislation.