You may have heard or read recent news stories about some developments in the race for House District 54 (Bend) and a candidate that we have endorsed, Nathan Boddie. I wanted to share with you our response to those developments.
The OLCV PAC Board has started the process of withdrawing our support for Dr. Boddie in HD 54 based on allegations of inappropriate behavior and comments by Dr. Boddie. However, OLCV has a process to follow, and it includes conversations with OLCV members, supporters, and activists in Bend. We are coordinating these conversations. This process will take some time to complete, but please understand that we take seriously any allegations of sexist or homophobic behavior. As part of our standard endorsement process, we require a stated commitment to treating all others, including colleagues and staff, with dignity and respect. The allegations against Dr. Boddie and his campaign’s response indicate that this criterion is no longer being met.
OLCV is and has been committed to building environmental power in Bend and Central Oregon. During the nearly seven years I’ve led OLCV, we have invested more in Bend and Central Oregon than any other political group. We’ve knocked on doors for candidates up and down the ballot, our volunteers and members have been there for every candidate we’ve endorsed, and our Political Action Committee has invested tens of thousands of dollars in candidates here in Central Oregon. Our support has included years of support for Dr. Boddie. We’ve worked with him as an OLCV volunteer, as a candidate, as a City Councilor, and as a friend. Winning HD 54 was our number one priority in 2018, as it was in 2016 (and it will be in 2020). We were excited at the possibility of Bend being represented in the Legislature by an environmental champion, and will remain dedicated to this goal moving forward.
Walking away from your number one priority campaign – as well as someone who has been a strong environmental champion – is incredibly hard. But in this situation it is the right thing to do. The reports of Dr. Boddie’s behavior (referenced in this letter from FuturePAC) are serious, credible, and unacceptable. Our endorsement is a statement of our values, and that a candidate who has earned that endorsement best represents our values, environmental and otherwise. That’s not something OLCV can now say with regard to Dr. Boddie.
When OLCV learns of allegations of hostile work environments, we will investigate them. We will seek to understand what occurred – and take action, regardless of the short-term costs. We will not bury our head in the sand or stand reflexively defensive. As we’ve seen from the nationwide #MeToo movement and events here in Oregon surrounding State Senator Jeff Kruse, powerful people have long gotten away with unacceptable behavior, and intimidating victims into silence is an all too common tactic. When we start from a place of denying the possibility of unacceptable behavior and when we condone or engage in intimidation tactics, we enable this unacceptable behavior and allow abusers and harassers to continue. As an organization, OLCV does not condone this type of behavior nor will we enable it.
The Boddie campaign’s response to these allegations has also been deeply troubling. Rather than honestly engaging with our questions and undertaking a serious discussion about what happened, his campaign has engaged in intimidation tactics – demanding evidence, misleading supporters as to the source of the press release, claiming he was blind-sided, arguing this is a dispute about money, attacking the credibility of organizations and individuals, and setting this up as a Bend vs. Portland fight. These tactics are designed to silence people and turn it into a ‘they said, we said’ or an ‘us vs. them’ type of dispute. In addition, Boddie campaign allies have also signaled their intention to attack the credibility of the people who reported this behavior. The Boddie campaign’s use of such tactics raises additional concerns, and reinforces our decision to begin the process of withdrawing our endorsement.
I deeply regret that this has happened, and am as upset as anyone about this situation. OLCV has a responsibility to do what is right, and moving forward with our process to withdraw our endorsement of Dr. Boddie for HD 54 given the complaint is the right thing to do.
Very truly yours,
Doug Moore, Executive Director OLCV