SALEM — The state will sue the Trump Administration over its clean water policies, just one of the pieces of political and government news out of the capital as the Legislature ramps up the 2018 session.

Oregon joins clean water lawsuit

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum was among 10 Democratic state attorneys general who on Tuesday filed suit against President Donald Trump’s administration for delaying a government rule aimed at reducing pollution in the nation’s waterways.

The Associated Press reported that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, speaking for the group, said last week’s suspension of the 2015 Clean Water Rule by the Republican administration is an assault on public health, including drinking water sources. The federal Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t commented as of late Tuesday.

The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan by attorneys general from Oregon, California, Washington, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The District of Columbia also joined the lawsuit. It seeks to stop the government from delaying implementation of the Obama-era rule, which expanded the definitions for wetlands and small waterways under the Clean Water Act. Agribusiness, mining and industrial groups opposed it.

New GOP name in governor’s race

The former commanding officer of the Navy’s elite Blue Angels squadron has thrown his hat into the ring in the Republican primary for Oregon governor.

Greg Wooldridge, of Portland, now a motivational speaker, had been rumored as a possible candidate since last fall.

Soon after Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, announced he was running, some conservatives who felt Buehler was too moderate on abortion and other issues to be the GOP standard-bearer approached several top state Republicans urging them to run, but all declined. Buehler has raised over $2 million and has the backing of Nike’s Phil Knight.

Wooldridge joins Sam Carpenter, a Bend businessman, as a competitor for the conservative GOP vote in the May 8 primary. On the Democratic side, Candace Neville, a real estate broker from Eugene, has filed to run against Gov. Kate Brown. Neville ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2008, a race won by current Sen. Jeff Merkley.

The deadline to file to run for state office is March 6.

Now four candidates in 53rd House District race

Eileen Kiely, of Sunriver, who describes herself as a “semi-retired” ski instructor at Mt. Bachelor, has filed to run as a Democrat in House District 53, where current Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, has announced he will not run for re-election. She joins fellow Democrat Bill Trumble, and Republicans Ben Schimmoller and Jack Zika, in the race.

A top state panel leader resigns

Aubre Dickson, chair of the Oregon Housing Stability Council, resigned Monday after Willamette Week, the Portland-based alternative newspaper, reported online that Dickson had been accused of sexual harassment.

Guard aid

House Minority Leader Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, and Whisnant are co-sponsoring legislation to extend state higher education tuition benefits to members of the National Guard. McLane said Oregon is the only state that does not have a tuition benefit program for members of the National Guard.

Buehler aide leaves campaign

Jonathan Lockwood has left Buehler’s gubernatorial campaign.

Known for his acerbic Twitter bouts with Democrats in his prior job as spokesman for the Senate Republican Caucus, Lockwood had submerged most of his banter while working for Buehler. No reason was given for Lockwood’s departure.

For now, campaign media matters revert to campaign manager Rebecca Tweed. Jordan Conger, Buehler’s spokesman in his Salem office, continues to handle legislative issues.

— Reporter: 541-525-5280, gwarner@bendbulletin.com

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