Tough to be a proud American in Oregon

Rep. Sal Esquivel

Rep. Sal Esquivel

On April 25 the Rules Committee headed by co-chairs Rep. Andy Olson and Rep. Dave Hunt held a hearing on HB 3604 – a bill requiring every public school, including public charter schools, to display the United States flag, to have the United States flag in each classroom and for the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited once a week led by a staff member, a teacher or a student.

Rep. Dave Hunt, D-Clackamas, will not agree to give the bill a work session, claiming first that there “are not enough votes to get the bill out of committee,” second that the bill would “not bode well with my caucus,” third that “the financial impact is too great to place on the already struggling public schools” (there is NO financial impact) and the  fourth excuse is that “it is Rep Olson’s fault as he did not explain to me that HB3604 is a priority bill.”  Rep. Olson is a sponsor of the bill.

None of the other three Democrat committee members – Rep. Paul Holvey, Rep. Phil Barnhart, or Rep. Chris Garrett – has been courteous enough to answer a hand written note requesting a courtesy YES vote out of committee.

Chandler Cort, a sophomore from Rogue River High School, came to Rep. Hicks and me requesting assistance after having gone to great lengths at his local school to get the principal to display the American flag and then allow students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  He strongly expressed the desire to have the ORS 339.875 rewritten to clarify the language regarding reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

HB 3604 should be a slam dunk – flying the flag of the United States of America in public schools., reciting the Pledge of Allegiance – just once a week – in our public schools.  One would have to ask the question if Rep. Dave Hunt believes this legislation is just too patriotic, too American for our colleagues across the aisle to get behind.

Whatever the reason, Rep. Hunt is preventing the legislative process to play out.  Taking a moment with our children to honor our country and teaching them to be proud of it – is that too much to ask these days?  I will not let this die in committee if I can help it as “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.”

It is my hope that you will take just a moment of your time and contact these individuals and let them know how you feel about America.

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