The Democratic primary elections in Oregon are in 3 weeks-- May 17. There are several races that will help determine whether Congress turns in a more corporate direction or in a more progressive direction. Blue America set up a special Oregon ActBlue page to help the progressives running in races where they are under attack by corrupt corporate conservatives. One of those candidates is Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a rural Democrat running for Congress against corrupt Blue Dog Kurt Schrader, who undermined the original Build Back Better and was the deciding vote AGAINST lowering all prescription drug prices.
"Not surprisingly," McLeod-Skinner told me yesterday, "Big Pharma is supporting him. They’re using their profits to run TV ads and sending mailers-- believe it or not-- claiming that Kurt is working to lower prescription drug prices. And they’ve given him almost $700,000 to vote in their favor." After her stellar performance in a debate with Schrader a few days ago (watch the clip above), I asked her to give us an update putting the debate in context.
Straight-Forward Facts vs Blue Dog Fiction
-by Jamie McLeod-Skinner
Kurt Schrader is a multimillionaire who has taken $8 million from corporate PACs, including the Koch Brothers Industries, and is now insisting that he’s working to get big money out of politics. Dark money groups Center Forward and Better Jobs Together have purchased more than $550,000 worth of pro-Schrader TV ads and flyers to date in this election, because they’re scared. They’re flooding the airwaves, social media and CD-05 voters’ mailboxes with deceptive ads that contain the same dubious claims and lies that he made at the debate.
I don’t take corporate PAC money, and over 2,700 donors stand with me on the belief that our democracy should not be for sale.
Kurt has taken over $300,000 from oil and gas companies, then stripped climate protection measures out of the Infrastructure Bill, while homes in Oregon have been burning down from the climate crisis. Meanwhile, I led wildfire recovery efforts in a town that lost a third of its homes and businesses to wildfire-- and almost lost my own home to wildfire.
So you can imagine how much fun it was to debate him, when Kurt finally showed up for a debate on KTVZ in Bend.
The debate was spirited and, sadly, predictable. Unable to defend his record, Kurt has taken to outright lying.
Until now, he’s gotten away with it. As I hammered away at his actual voting record and who is bankrolling him, he shrunk lower and lower in his seat.
Kurt claimed that he has not accepted over $8 million dollars from corporate PACs and that these numbers are from "a left-wing website." The website he is referring to is the publicly available Federal Election Commission site (fec.gov) based on the information submitted by his own campaign. It’s also available on opensecrets.org.
Kurt took credit for the prescription drug pricing plan included in Build Back Better. However, the truth is that he voted against it in Committee, as reported by The Oregonian: "Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon helps kill drug pricing bill, endangering Biden infrastructure plan." Even after he watered it down to appease his Big Pharma overlords, it still hasn’t passed the Senate. When your family picks up their prescriptions at your local drug store, you’ll see that the prices aren’t any lower.
He told a bunch of whoppers. It’s gotten to the point that we’ve had to create a "Get the Facts" page on our website.
In addition to siding with Republicans on votes, he’s taken a page out of their playbook: denial. But at the end of the day, facts are facts:
He voted against a $15 minimum wage (twice).
He voted against the $2,000 stimulus checks.
He voted against eviction protections for renters during the pandemic.
He voted against allowing Medicare to negotiate-- and lower-- prescription drug prices while taking $650,000 from Big Pharma.
He voted against tackling climate change while taking over $300,000 from the oil & gas industry, including tens of thousands from the Koch brothers.
Kurt Schrader has not delivered for Oregonians or Amercians. And on May 17th, Oregonians in the newly drawn 5th congressional district (53% new voters), are going to replace him with someone who has devoted her career to rebuilding communities and protecting our natural resources-- a proud former union member with working-class roots, an outspoken advocate for climate justice, reproductive rights, racial justice, working families, and bridging the urban-rural divide.