The candidates for Senate District 12 — incumbent Republican Brian Boquist and Democrat challenger Bernadette Hansen — are both campaigning on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boquist, who lives on a small farm in Dallas and is in his third term in the state senate, maintains Democrats botched the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Oregonians have been begging for the Capitol, schools, businesses, and the economy to be reopened now,” said Boquist.
Hansen, a caregiver and community activist who graduated from the University of Oregon and lives near McMinnville, believes more can be done to help those who have been economically impacted by the virus.
“My priority is to bring relief to those who have been hardest hit by COVID-19,” she said. “This is particularly critical for our rural communities who have suffered significant losses to their local economies.”
Boquist criticizes COVID-19 response
Boquist said he is not happy with how Democrats have handled the coronavirus pandemic. He issued a statement Oct. 9 criticizing a possible delay of the 2020 Oregon Legislature.
Boquist called the state’s response to the pandemic “tyranny under the guise of COVID-19.”
“After a summer of Democrat-controlled special sessions that excluded Oregonians from the legislative process, they are now claiming Oregonians should be involved and that the session ought to be delayed,” Boquist’s statement said. “They fear working in proximity to other people without a vaccination when the governor and Oregon Health Authority have admitted Oregon has one of the lowest COVID-19 rates in the country.”
Boquist made headlines in 2019 before the Republican walk out of the Oregon Legislature, when he warned Senate President Peter Courtney that “hell is coming to visit you personally” if he sent Oregon State Police to force him back to the Capitol.
Boquist, a veteran who served in Iraq, also warned the state police to “send bachelors and come heavily armed.”
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When the GOP senators returned, the Senate Committee on Conduct voted that Boquist must give 12 hours advance notice to the Secretary of the Senate before he intended to be in the Capitol. When he was in the building, Oregon State Police bolstered its presence.