SALEM, Ore. — As a walkout by Oregon GOP senators in objection to a cap-and-trade bill continues in Salem, a protest calling for their return to the capitol is planned for Tuesday.
The "Rally to get Republican Senators back to work at the Oregon State Capitol" is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.
"I'm pretty upset about it, I think that this is really hurting Oregonians," said Reyna Lopez, the executive director for Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, or PCUN, the Oregon’s Farmworker Union.
"This walkout is going against our democracy," said Iván Hernández with Causa, Oregon’s Immigrant Rights Organization.
Lopez and Hernández are helping organize the protest on Tuesday, calling for the missing senators to come back and do their jobs, saying it is not just the cap-and-trade bill at stake.
"We've had dozens of bills that haven't been voted on yet," Hernández said.
"I think that right now, they should be passing budgets, they should be making sure people are getting their healthcare, they should be making sure foster kids are taken care of, and instead, they deserted their post, they deserted Oregonians," Lopez said.
Gresham City Councilor Eddy Morales agrees. He plans to speak at Tuesday's protest, both as an elected official and a resident of a district with a senator who left the state.
"As an elected official, I don’t get always get my way, the votes that I want, but it’s important that I listen to my constituents, that we all show up and voice our opinions and that we show up and get our votes on the record," Morales said.
He went on to say, "When a good number of people leave, it's a million people who are not being represented and again, we don't always get our way, but it's important to be there and to voice the opinions of the people that got us elected."
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Monday that state Senate Republicans broke their promise to Democrats by walking out. She told the Associated Press that the Senate Republican leader must return to the building, or at least the state, if he wants to negotiate.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, a quiet protest by supporters of the walkout continued. Passing motorists honked their support as families with signs lined the street in front of the capitol building.
Opponents, many in the timber industry, say the bill would force them into unemployment or put them out of business altogether. They are calling for a statewide vote on the bill.