CD1 GOP Congressional Debate features Pro-Obama candidate

1st Congressional District Candidates Debate in Washington County
One candidate a no show and the other endorses Obama for President
By Anthony J. Brady

Two BIG surprises and many controversial comments were among the highlights of the the monthly Hillsboro Area Washington County Republican Party Meetup that took place last Tuesday April 29th at the Best Panda Buffet Restaurant in downtown Hillsboro. The event featured C. William Chappell ( and Joel Haugen ( who the two filed candidates that are running for the Republican Nominee for Oregon’s First Congressional District and the right to take on five-term incumbent Democrat David Wu in November.

The first BIG surpise turned the planned debate instead into a candidate interview when Mr. Chappell failed to show up. According to one of the event organizers, Washington County GOP Chairman Kevin Hoar, Mr. Chappell was contacted at the start of the event to inquire into his absence and was only then told by Mr. Chappell that “he had a family emergency that took out of town at the last minute, leaving him unable to attend. Mr.Chappell later sent this apology a written apology for missing the event has committed to answering the questions that were posed at the event, along with others that were submitted and not asked at the event. These replies will be posted on the Wash Co GOP Meetup website ( , as well as by the author of this article on the Wash Co GOP website blog (

The candidate who did show, Joel Haugen, was the interviewed by the event moderator,Washington County Republican Party Vice-Chair Everett Curry, for the balance of the scheduled debate time. Mr. Haugen answered questions on a range policy topics, including the war in Iraq, global warming, his controversial views on required national service, and even his choice for the Presidential race. When asked what issue was the most critical to him, Haugen emphasized the importance of energy independence, with plans to convert our primary energy to clean hydrogen-based fuels, wind etc. by 2019. He also expressed deep concerns regarding the effect of CO2 forced, human-caused global warming on the environment and stated that, in his view, the need to act to stop it outweighs any doubts raised by anyone about the human role in causing warming.

In response to questions regarding plans for Iraq, Haugen directed people to his website where he has posted an analysis by former US Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor which Haugen said asserts that the military plan to invade Iraq was wrong-headed from the start and that huge portions military expenditures, in general, are a waste. He did, however, say that withdrawal from Iraq should be done and responsible, though expeditious manner.

When asked about his position on immigration, Haugen first said he liked Arizona’s plan that cracks down on employers who hire illegal immigrants, thus reducing the accessibility of employment in the US for the illegal population. Citing humanitarian concerns, he then went on to explain that, with regard to the often cited 12 million plus illegal immigrants believed to already be in the United States, family unification will and should greatly constrain any effort to repatriate a significant of them. Endorsing a view often cited by pro-illegal immigrant amnesty supporters, Haugen declared that “we cannot send parents back, separating them from their children.”

After the moderator, Vice-Chair Everett Curry, finished interviewing Haugen, oral and written questions were submitted by the audience. Several attendees took strong issue with his stance on global warming, one pointing out that was a “fallacy” and cited research that showed that the world was actually cooling. A vigorous debate ensued between the Haugen and these audience members.

When asked about views on requiring national service and whether he was in support of re-instating the draft, Haugen responded that he thought young people should be required to serve the country for a certain amount of time, in the military, or some other service.

Haugen warned that Social Security is in big trouble and that we must act soon. He explained that he would work to confront this issue head on by “reaching across the aisle to Democrats”, though he failed to mention what policy positions he would be persuading them to adopt.

Based on attendee reaction, Haugen didn’t seem to have awed the crowd. While his presentation reflected strong intellect, his answers to nearly every question posed was lengthy and repetitive, usually losing the interest of the majority of the audience before finishing his responses. On more than one occasion, he stated conflicting views on the same issue, as well as drifting around to comments unrelated to the question asked. He reflected a more liberal position on most issues than a majority of those attendees participating in the Q&A portion of the event. In particular, several attendees noted that his views on mandatory national service came off as socialistic to some observers. Haugen himself observed that he is probably what most attendees would describe as a “liberal Republican.”

The most startling big surprise of the night happened when Haugen informed a stunned crowd that he is supporting Democrat Barack Obama for President. The reasons he gave his support for Obama were that (1) he agrees with many of Obama’s views, (2) he is certain that Obama will be able unify Americans.

Haugen concluded the night by by asking if audience would like him to return to a future Wash Co GOP Meetup following the primary if he were to win the nomination, but received a very tepid response and left shortly after the meeting concluded.

For more information about the CD1 candidates, check out their websites — or stay tuned for the upcoming written responses to the additional questions from last Tuesday’s GOP Meetup that we will posted in a few days.

Anthony J. Brady is a writer for the site; he covers local, state, and national politics, and has been read by over 35,000 people. Brady is also a Washington County area political activist working in support a variety of Republican efforts there.