Oregon Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, may be something of a hothead. That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that he’s a danger to members of the state Legislature or the men and women who work there.
Boquist got himself into trouble in late June, just as Republican lawmakers were preparing to walk out in an effort to derail a truly awful piece of climate legislation. Gov. Kate Brown made it clear that if that were to happen, she would send state police to round them up and return them to Salem.
Boquist did not take it well. On June 19 he told Sen. President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, “If you send the state police to get me, hell’s coming to visit you personally.” Later that day, he told a Portland television station that any troopers sent should “be bachelors and come heavily armed.”
His language was certainly not politic. He was neither smooth nor tactful, and what he said would have been better left unsaid. Still, it’s difficult to believe he was serious.
For one thing, his dealings with Courtney, with whom he used to have a decent relationship, had deteriorated in the last year, according to Willamette Week. Their disagreement centered on the investigation of sexual harassment in the Legislature and pay equity legislation that had a negative impact on Boquist’s wife. For another, the 2019 legislative session was a trying one for Republican lawmakers, faced as they were with Democratic supermajorities in both houses and legislative leaders who made it clear they felt little need to consult with their Republican counterparts about much of anything.
The Senate’s Special Committee on Conduct met Monday to deal with Boquist. Its four members, two from each party, couldn’t agree on much, and in the end they decided to require Boquist to give 12 hours’ written notice before appearing in the Capitol and to have beefed up security when he does appear. The requirements sound more like a waste of taxpayer money than anything else.