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GOP State Senator Dodging Climate Bill Vote Threatened State Troopers. Governor Called His Bluff.


The rising political tension in Oregon’s state legislature seemed to have reached its acme Wednesday, when Republican State Senator Brian Boquist suggested that he would kill any state trooper Governor Kate Brown sent to bring him back to the State Capitol against his will.

Boquist and his Republican colleagues in the Senate left Oregon this week, a coordinated mass exodus to prevent Democrats, who maintain a super-majority in the state senate, from passing a climate bill with a quorum vote, according to the Oregonian.

Brown, the state’s Democratic governor, threatened to dispatch state troopers to round up the fleeing Republican lawmakers and bring them back to the Capitol to cast their votes, releasing a statement Wednesday saying that she was “in close communication with the Oregon State Police.”

The governor’s warning provoked a menacing reply from Boquist, a U.S. Army veteran and former paramilitary operations professional, who suggested to local KGW News that he would be willing to harm or even kill any law enforcement officials that attempted to bring him in against his will. He recommended that the officers sent to pick him up should be heavily armed and unmarried.

“This is what I told the superintendent,” Boquist said Thursday, referring to OSP Superintendent Travis Hampton. “Send bachelors and come heavily armed. I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.”

In an email to the Oregonian later Thursday, Boquist rejected the notion that his statement was a thinly-veiled threat against the state’s police officers.

“Nothing thinly veiled,” he wrote. “I have been in political coup attempts. I have been held hostage overseas. I have been jailed politically overseas … Not going to be arrested as a political prisoner in Oregon period.”

Gov. Brown, unfazed by Boquist’s comments, followed through on Thursday by requesting Oregon State Police’s assistance.

“The Senate Republicans have decided to abandon their duty to serve their constituents and walk out. The Senate Democrats have requested the assistance of the Oregon State Police to bring back their colleagues to finish the work they committed to push forward for Oregonians. As the executive of the agency, I am authorizing the State Police to fulfill the Senate Democrats’ request,” Brown said in a press release.

Boquist has previously asserted his belief that under Oregon law, state police are only authorized to enforce arrest warrants and criminal violations, and they do not have the legal authority to compel absent lawmakers to return to the Capitol during a special legislative session.

[image via Youtube screengrab]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.