What’s Wrong With Jeff Reardon?

Mike Schaufler is a Democrat representing the 48th District in the Oregon House of Representatives. He is up for a re-election in November and because of redistricting has a new set of constituents to win over. Looking over his recent history, you might suspect that Rep. Schaufler is not a easy sell to Happy Valley’s progressive elements.

From 2010, here’s Schaufler’s take on protecting the environment vs. protecting jobs:

The Oregon Working Families Party is not a big fan of Schaufler, listing a few reasons why on the pages of Blue Oregon:

  • Schaufler was the lone Democratic vote against the legislation that eventually became measures 66 and 67 to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy to pay for vital public services.
  • Schaufler was the only Democrat to side with the entire Republican caucus to vote against the Governor’s health care exchange proposal, causing delay to the bill during the short session that threatened to kill the legislation.
  • While at the Oregon AFL-CIO convention last year, Schaufler was accused of groping a female staff person for the Oregon Labor Commissioner and he was subsequently stripped of his leadership positions within the Democratic caucus.

Last year, the Williamette Week created this nifty chart depicting some of the things on which Rep. Schaufler spent his campaign money:

These expenditures were in addition to money used “to subsidize his mortgage, pay his bar tabs and explore Canada.”

One would think all that is needed to correct the situation is an acceptable primary challenger. Into the scene steps Jeff Reardon, a Navy veteran and teacher at David Douglas High School. He has been endorsed by a pair of local unions and some prominent state politicians.

He has not, however, been endorsed by his own union, the Oregon Education Association. OEA endorsed Schaufler instead, as has the state AFL-CIO.

“I am the labor candidate in the race,” said Schaufler.

Is Reardon some sort of closet conservative? I don’t think so:

As a lifelong educator, Jeff knows investments in our schools are critical to the success of our students and our state. He has seen firsthand how cuts make it increasingly difficult for teachers to provide a quality education as class sizes swell and the school year shortens. When elected to the legislature, Jeff will bring his lifetime of experience to the table to help craft policy solutions that work and fight for funding to provide the level and variety of education our students deserve.

…Jeff is a proud progressive who believes that a woman’s right to choose should not be limited. He is deeply supportive of marriage equality.

…Given the high-profile attacks against working people in states like Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, these basic rights are now threatened more than ever, even here in Oregon. Jeff is committed to fighting for the rights of working people to have a voice on the job through collective bargaining and strong, effective union representation.

According to OEA’s PAC guidelines, House endorsements are made this way:

At the local level, a committee of OEA-PIE members interview candidates before making their recommendations. All candidates are asked the same questions. The answers to these questions help members determine the level of support the candidates have for the concerns of children and public education, according to the following Measures Up Criteria:

» Strength of candidate support for increased funding for schools and community colleges, and opposition to vouchers and privatization of school programs.
» Strength of candidate support for safe school programs, Head Start, and health and nutritional programs.
» Strength of candidate support for smaller class sizes, early childhood education, programs for disadvantaged children, vocational education, college scholarships, school-to-work programs and updated technology in our schools.
» Strength of candidate support for including school employees in decision-making, increasing funding for professional development and supporting the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS).

I’m just an outside observer, but if it’s not clear to me why Schaufler was chosen over Reardon, it’s probably not clear to the teachers who are going out to canvass for Reardon, either.