Editor's note: This guest column has been corrected to reflect the number of years Knopp has served in office.
The Bend Bulletin’s endorsement of Senator Knopp ignores that his record is out of step with Central Oregon's values.
The editorial board praised Knopp for his accomplishments during the 2019 legislative session. What the board didn’t mention is the fact that Knopp’s leadership of the first Republican walkout kept the legislature from taking meaningful action to address climate change. In fact, it was his opposition to the Clean Energy Jobs bill that led to the walkout. This year, we saw the cost of his actions. We paid for the walkout with 4,000 Oregon homes, with businesses and lives as fires raged across our state, destroying communities and towns. The walkout wasn’t just dangerous to our Democracy - it put Oregonians in danger.
As a financial executive for a Fortune 500 company, I know what it's like to be across the table from people who you don’t agree with. In my years negotiating multi-million dollar contracts, I never walked away from a deal, even if things weren’t going my way, because if you walk away, you lose your voice.
The Bulletin highlighted Knopp’s support of our friend Senator Sara Gelser at a time when she had been sexually harassed by her colleague, and his support of Kaylee’s law and pay equity. What the Bulletin doesn’t discuss is while I have fought for pay equity and survivors my entire life, Knopp’s recent commitment is politically convenient.
While Knopp joined Democrats’ 2019 pay equity bill, in 2015, Tim Knopp voted against a bill to help close the wage gap for women and people of color by making it illegal to punish a worker for discussing pay in the workplace. As a woman who has been paid less than her male counterparts, I have worked to get women and people of color equal rights and pay in our workplace, and will continue that commitment in Salem.
While Knopp may have made a floor speech in support of Gelser, he doesn’t always vote to protect survivors. In fact, Knopp has led legislation to keep victims of sex abuse from receiving justice. He sponsored two bills that would have limited damages for victims of sexual abuse by priests.
Knopp has been in office for 14 years now - in that time he could have been a leader on a range of issues, but he chose to prioritize limiting women’s health care. As our state senator, he’s introduced an anti-choice bill almost every legislative session. If Knopp is truly an advocate for women, he wouldn’t tell them what to do with their bodies. As a legislator, I’ll not only support survivors with compassionate services, I’ll make sure that women are able to access the full range of reproductive healthcare, including emergency contraception and abortion.
In addition to being vehemently anti-choice, Knopp ran his first campaign on his opposition to marriage equality, and he has continued to hold the view that our LGBTQ neighbors shouldn’t be able to marry who they love. Marriage gives families important legal status and rights, and Central Oregonians know that love is love, and all families deserve those protections. As the Supreme Court signals they may overturn marriage equality, Oregon must step up to protect it.
Our district deserves a leader who represents its values and who will deliver for the people of Central Oregon. While my experience as a financial controller is key, my experience as a mountaineering guide, veteran, mom and a kid’s ski instructor are equally as important. When I take a six year old to their first Black Diamond run, they may be intimidated, but the real challenge is to take a deep breath and make that first turn.
These are tough times, and we need a tough guide. My opponent sees where the parade is going and jumps in front to call himself a leader. We need a Senator who will blaze new trails.
I will be that Senator.