In response to Mr. Coldiron's 3/18/23 article...
It's disappointing to see yet another media outlet resort to publishing a divisive article with unfounded assumptions.
But, unfortunately, the media attacking Conservatives has become par for the course.
First, a couple of corrections: 1) The rifle was not part of an auction. It was a raffle, very much like the rifle raffle the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association put on last December; and 2) when Chris Piper ran for mayor, Biden was president at the time, not Trump.
At the end of your article, you stated, "Few conservative candidates have so far stepped up for local elections this May." This is false. For the last 2021 District Election, there were 23 races that Democrats ran unopposed, which included school board races. In this May 2023 District Election, there are only 11 races with Democrats running unopposed, and EVERY school board seat has a Republican running.
As far as Republicans go, generally we all stand for the same values: common sense, limited government, pro-family, etc. The only difference is between the new leadership and the old leadership of the Deschutes Republican Party is the new leadership is much more active. And we are being applauded for being so, as folks in our Deschutes County Republican Party are being positively recognized at the state level by the Oregon Republican Party.
As you stated in your article, you're correct that, "Among Republican circles in Central Oregon, it is neither controversial nor unusual to be tied to Scott Stuart..." We all get along great with everyone, and we welcome anyone with open arms who wants to partner with us to positively impact our community.
Instead of assuming Chris Piper is more extreme than you felt he portrayed during his mayoral run, did you ever think that maybe the new Deschutes Republican leadership is actually more moderate than you assumed?
The new Deschutes Republican Party leadership has been in place since November. Have we done anything you have felt is "extreme"?
In regard to your question wondering if certain donors will still give to the Deschutes Republican Party, those concerns are not warranted. We recently raised $15,000 (after all expenses were paid) at our first-ever, SOLD-OUT (we had to turn people away!), fundraiser to donate to school board candidates to assist them with their campaigns for this May. Clearly, this came from generous members of our community. Historically, the Deschutes Republicans did not raise money like this for candidates of May District Elections.
And wait until you see what we have planned later this year and in 2024...We hope whoever shared with you the picture in your article will show up for our future events, too. The press you all are providing us is helpful.
When describing Scott Stuart at the Redmond 4th of July Parade, you left out some important points: The float Scott was waving the flag on was a historical depiction of the Civil War. And next to him was a Union soldier waving his flag. (Why didn't you mention him?) As with Civil War reenactments, they portrayed a historical representation. The Civil War was fought by both the Union and Confederate armies, was it not?
And the back of the float carried a banner stating, "United we stand, divided we fall." That is a call for unity, not division.
The waving of the Confederate flag was in no way an endorsement of the atrocities of slavery, racism or white supremacy. "The Confederate battle flag does not belong anywhere near a public statehouse. It should be displayed within its historical context, such as at museums, reenactments, living histories, etc." - John Coski of historynet.com
In his 3/17/22 blog We Are In a Civil War of Values, Stuart hailed Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of the Union Army as a hero, "America should be free ground - all of it. Not divided by a line between slave state and free - all the way, from here to the Pacific Ocean. No man has to bow."
Stuart is a history buff and frequently references the Civil War in his leadership class and ministry teachings. In this blog, he highlighted Union Army soldier George F. McFarland during the Battle of Gettysburg. Scott has many writings that portray his love of war history.
Scott is a servant leader with a huge heart. He is a lover of people, and has made a difference in thousands of people's lives over the years. You can read more about Scott here. Before you demonize him, maybe you should meet him first. He'd love to take you out to lunch. I'm sure you will find him to be quite amicable. Just send him an email at [email protected]
In regard to People's Rights, your description of PRO5 is flawed. People's Rights have about 50,000 members around the country. Personally, I can't speak for other People's Rights groups, but PRO5 does not consider themselves a militia (even though media personalities continue to refer to us as such). We simply support and advocate for people's constitutional and God-given rights. For example, when the government coerces people into medical treatments they don't want and are not scientifically justified, we will stand up for them. And we're proud to do so.
The fact that our actions of defending our inalienable rights is even controversial in the United States should send shivers up every Americans' spines.
For a recent entertaining video that provides a (mostly) accurate view of what People's Rights is about, you can view that here. You can also learn more about People's Rights at https://www.peoplesrights.org/
Even after providing this explanation to correct your assumptions, I anticipate the media will continue to spin their inaccurate and hateful narratives of us. You'll continue to do what you can to smear us, while we stay hard at work partnering with our neighbors to help make Deschutes County a wonderful place to live, and for families and businesses to thrive.
Many of us who are now part of the Deschutes Republican Party don't consider ourselves politicians. We are truly an organization of grassroots people who are dissatisfied with the policies that have been implemented which have brought destruction to our children, businesses and community. We are both compelled and honored to sacrifice our time and resources to affect positive change for our neighbors, our community, our state and our country.
Connie Whelchel | Vice Chair