Democrats in Oregon’s congressional delegation mark Jan. 6 insurrection

Oregon’s Democratic U.S. senators and representatives issued statements; the sole Republican, Rep. Cliff Bentz, did not comment

By: - January 6, 2022 1:49 pm

On Jan. 6, 2021, a violent mob broke into the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Democratic leaders of Congress gathered in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday to mark the one-year anniversary of the Jan 6. insurrection when a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the building to try to prevent Joe Biden from becoming president.

They held moments of silence, listened to prayers and gave speeches. President Joe Biden also marked the day with a speech, vowing to protect democracy and accusing Trump of sowing lies about the election results.

Few Republicans showed up for the events, including U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz, Oregon’s only Republican member of Congress. A spokesman in his Washington office said he had no new statements regarding the events of a year ago.

With House not in session, U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader, all Democrats, and Bentz, worked in Oregon while Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley were at the Capitol.

Gov. Kate Brown noted the anniversary with a Tweet: “One year ago, attempts were made to shatter the sanctity of our electoral process—and they almost succeeded. In order to protect the fate of our democracy, Congress must pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act.” 

Bonamici commented on her Facebook page, “The Capitol attack on January 6, 2021 was unprecedented and un-American. Rioters injured more than 140 Capitol Police officers. 5 people lost their lives. The rioters chanted about killing our elected leaders and many carried weapons, zip ties, and maps.

“I will always remember what it was like to be at the Capitol that day. And I will always remember that just hours after that attack, my colleagues and I returned to do our jobs and certify the free and fair election of our next President. This was the worst crisis our democracy has faced in my lifetime, and we all have a duty to acknowledge it, remember it, and make sure nothing like it ever happens again.”

The other members of Oregon’s delegation released statements:

Wyden: “One year ago today, a violent mob stormed the Capitol to block lawmakers from completing their constitutional duty to certify election results and enable the peaceful transition of power.

“The January 6th insurrectionists were emboldened by President Trump to act upon the ‘Big Lie,’ the unfounded conspiracy that voter fraud caused his defeat in the 2020 election, and to use violence as a means to keep a losing president in office. This was an attempted coup to disrupt our institutions, sustain power, and overrule the will of the American people. Democracy prevailed that day because of the courageous efforts of Capitol Police officers who stood on the frontlines to ensure our institutions remained intact. Let us honor and commend their heroics on this day of remembrance, and support those who are still suffering in the aftermath.

“While the physical assault on the Capitol is now behind us, the broader struggle to defend our democracy continues—more urgently now than ever. The right for Americans to decide who holds power through their votes was under attack long before the violent insurrection, and that attack has only accelerated since. We cannot let Republican-led state legislatures use the Big Lie to systematically restrict our most fundamental constitutional right. Like the mob on January 6th, these legislatures are trying to hand power to their preferred candidates regardless of the will of the voters—a direct assault on our cherished constitutional, democratic values.

“There is no more time to waste. The Senate must act this month to curtail voter suppression, voter intimidation, and partisan subversion of election results by passing the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Republicans at the state level are trying to ensure that they can seize power despite the will of the voters. Republicans have lined up behind an ex-president who incited a violent effort to block the peaceful transfer of power. Republicans cannot be allowed to also exercise a veto in the U.S. Senate against efforts to protect Americans’ most fundamental right to decide who governs. The Senate rules must be changed to pass these bills. 

“The Senate was intended to be a cooling saucer, not a deep freeze. The founders intended for every senator to have a voice, but not a veto. The abuse of the current rules is preventing us from debating and addressing the big issues facing America—and there is no issue bigger than the right to vote—and so we must fix the rules to restore the Senate and save our democratic republic. The best way to honor the legacy of January 6th is to deepen our resolve to protect America’s ‘We the People’ governance. That means we must not let any attacks on democracy—whether a physical siege on a building or a backroom deal to block the ballot box—prevail.”

Merkley: “One year ago today, a violent mob stormed the Capitol to block lawmakers from completing their constitutional duty to certify election results and enable the peaceful transition of power.

“The January 6th insurrectionists were emboldened by President Trump to act upon the ‘Big Lie,’ the unfounded conspiracy that voter fraud caused his defeat in the 2020 election, and to use violence as a means to keep a losing president in office. This was an attempted coup to disrupt our institutions, sustain power, and overrule the will of the American people. Democracy prevailed that day because of the courageous efforts of Capitol Police officers who stood on the frontlines to ensure our institutions remained intact. Let us honor and commend their heroics on this day of remembrance, and support those who are still suffering in the aftermath.

“While the physical assault on the Capitol is now behind us, the broader struggle to defend our democracy continues—more urgently now than ever. The right for Americans to decide who holds power through their votes was under attack long before the violent insurrection, and that attack has only accelerated since. We cannot let Republican-led state legislatures use the Big Lie to systematically restrict our most fundamental constitutional right. Like the mob on January 6th, these legislatures are trying to hand power to their preferred candidates regardless of the will of the voters—a direct assault on our cherished constitutional, democratic values.

“There is no more time to waste. The Senate must act this month to curtail voter suppression, voter intimidation, and partisan subversion of election results by passing the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Republicans at the state level are trying to ensure that they can seize power despite the will of the voters. Republicans have lined up behind an ex-president who incited a violent effort to block the peaceful transfer of power. Republicans cannot be allowed to also exercise a veto in the U.S. Senate against efforts to protect Americans’ most fundamental right to decide who governs. The Senate rules must be changed to pass these bills. 

“The Senate was intended to be a cooling saucer, not a deep freeze. The founders intended for every senator to have a voice, but not a veto. The abuse of the current rules is preventing us from debating and addressing the big issues facing America—and there is no issue bigger than the right to vote—and so we must fix the rules to restore the Senate and save our democratic republic. The best way to honor the legacy of January 6th is to deepen our resolve to protect America’s ‘We the People’ governance. That means we must not let any attacks on democracy—whether a physical siege on a building or a backroom deal to block the ballot box—prevail.”

DeFazio: “What happened on January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol, in no uncertain terms, was an attempted coup by insurrectionists encouraged by Donald Trump’s violent, destructive, and treasonous rhetoric and behavior, that resulted in the deaths of U.S. Capitol Police officers and rioters, and injured many more.

For 245 years, the peaceful transfer of power following a free and fair election, as dictated by our Constitution, has been a bedrock of our representative democracy. The events of January 6 were an assault on that foundation, and on the will of the American people, spurred on by a sitting president intent on sowing chaos and the destruction of our democracy for his own personal gain.

“Thanks to the evidence gathered by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, we are learning how perpetrators planned to achieve their coup and that the insurrection was planned at the highest level of government. We now know the January 6 insurrection was strategically planned for weeks, targeting the certification of the presidential election in Congress as a last-chance opportunity to overturn the will of the people.

It was all organized around a lie—that the 2020 election was stolen. The truth is, there is ZERO evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. Yet to this day, the Republican Party continues to perpetrate the lie, and downplay, deflect, and in some cases defend the January 6 direct assault on our democracy.

“The success of our democracy depends on an active and engaged electorate. We are a nation of laws and democratic principles and our great democratic experiment will only work when we adhere to them.

In order to move forward from this dark and painful chapter in our nation’s history, we all have a role to play. We must demand that our leaders and institutions combat misinformation about the 2020 election, and we must hold accountable the perpetrators of the January 6 coup attempt — including Donald Trump, his cronies, and the insurrectionists.”

Blumenauer: “The attempt to attack members of the House and Senate forced them to flee for their safety. It turned the Senate and House chambers where I had spent countless hours doing the people’s business into a riot scene. But that wasn’t the worst of it. As order was restored after a pitched battle, injuries, and death, 147 of my Republican colleagues voted to overturn a free and fair democratic election. They took this reckless act as broken glass littered the floor, and before the blood had dried and the feces were cleaned up.

“I’m grateful that the U.S. Department of Justice is holding the perpetrators of the January 6 attack to account. I’m pleased that in the U.S. House we quickly passed legislation to ensure our elections would remain free, fair, and open to all. These efforts are now before the U.S. Senate. It is imperative that our Senate colleagues do whatever is necessary to enact these protections into law. Certainly, an arcane rule like the filibuster should not prohibit the protection of our democracy.”

Schrader: “The January 6 attack on our U.S. Capitol is one of the darkest days in American history. Lives were lost and many more were endangered, including those of my staff, colleagues and the law enforcement officers who risked everything to protect us. One year has passed, but we cannot allow ourselves to forget what happened, or the election fraud lies that fueled the violence. The rioters must face justice because their extremism and hate do not belong in America,” Rep. Schrader (OR-05) said. “It is painful to remember the attack, but we must keep drawing lessons from it to heal and ensure it never happens again. I promise to keep working in Congress to protect our democracy for all Oregonians and help our country move forward together.”

 

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Lynne Terry
Lynne Terry

Lynne Terry has more than 30 years of journalism experience, including a recent stint as editor of The Lund Report, a highly regarded health news site. She reported on health and food safety in her 18 years at The Oregonian, was a senior producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting and Paris correspondent for National Public Radio for nine years. She has won state, regional and national awards, including a National Headliner Award for a long-term care facility story and a top award from the National Association of Health Care Journalists for an investigation into government failures to protect the public from repeated salmonella outbreaks. She loves to cook and entertain, speaks French and is learning Portuguese.

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