An East Portland Democrat who threatened to oppose the state's education budget because it would force cuts at public schools was ousted from his seat on the Ways and Means education subcommittee during a vote on the spending plan.
Rep. Diego Hernandez's no vote would have meant defeat for the $8.2 billion biennial budget for K-12 education. When Hernandez made it clear early Thursday, June 1, that he would vote no on the education budget, other members of the subcommittee summoned Ways and Means Co-Chairwoman Nancy Nathanson to the room.
Nathanson used her authority to replace any House member of a Ways and Means subcommittee and temporarily removed Hernandez from the subcommittee. She then cast a yes vote on the budget, allowing the budget to progress to the full Joint Committee on Ways and Means.
Hernandez's decision was at odds with other Democrats on the subcommittee.
Representative Hernandez is quoted in the article as saying, "We have reached a critical point in this session, and I am sorry but … I cannot vote for a budget that continues to cut our school funding and continues to maintain our mediocrity." He is also is a member of the Reynolds School Board.
Representative Hernandez took a principled position by not walking and by putting out a Facebook post which says
We cannot leave this session without real tax reform to fund our schools!! Many of you have asked how you can support or help, your voices need to be heard! Join the Rally for Revenue!
He also posted
When the business community doesn't want to work with the legislature to reform our corporate tax system, this happens. We need tax reform, the business community should come to the table, instead of trying to kill and stall our proposed corporate activities tax.
You can see from this that Representative Hernandez is principled and not tied to the establishment. You can see that he has his fingers on the pulse at the State Capitol and that the establishment doesn't know what to make of him and the other progressive people of color legislators we mentioned yesterday. He put the blame where it belongs and hasn't let this become a fight between personalities. And this is indeed a peoples' fight.
One union activist summed his views up by saying, "Oregon House Democrats throw Latino rep off of committee, after he stands up for Oregon school kids and teachers. So far this week, OR Dems have shafted renters, school kids, and teachers. Rotten capitalist party."