Lawmakers practice censorship on capitol access

Representative Larry Galizio The Tolerant
By Michelle Knopp, Oregon Right to Life

“Can you please remove us from your e-mail list and cease from dropping paper flyers in our office in-box.”

This sounds like a reasonable request. We all receive too much junk mail through mail and email. However, the information being rejected in the above request is neither emails for cheap pharmaceuticals nor catalogs for the latest trend-setters. The information being rejected is advocacy handouts by a grassroots organization. In addition, the speaker is not just a private citizen, but is State Representative Larry Galizio’s (D-Beaverton) office.

Rep. Galizio’s Legislative Assistant, Katherine Ryan, informed Oregon Right to Life that they are no longer welcome to email the office or deliver flyers to the office inbox. (Now, before you dismiss this as an “abortion issue”, replace the name of ORTL with your favorite grassroots organization — Taxpayers Association of Oregon, Oregonians in Action, etc.) Rep. Galizio’s office is in a public building, both the email and the office inboxes are paid for with taxpayer dollars and he is an elected representative. Yet Rep. Galizio’s office believes it is acceptable to pick and choose who can contact his office. What hubris.

During a legislative session, legislators and their offices are often inundated with advocacy information. Whether or not the information is wanted, it comes and comes and comes. It is part of the process and part of American’s love of free speech. Legislators are not required to embrace this information, but are expected to act with professionalism and be considerate of different opinions. What precedent would be set if Legislators decided differing opinions were no longer welcome and only their friends could email or drop off fliers?

Rep. Galizio’s office will continue to receive information from ORTL. His office can recycle, delete or put it on their dartboard. What they do with the information is their prerogative. What is not Galizio’s prerogative is to forbid any organization from appealing to a legislative office on behalf of their membership.

Merriam-Webster defines tolerance as, “sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.” It is a shame that Rep. Galizio is so intolerant.

–Michelle Knopp is the Assistant Political Director for Oregon Right to Life.

Here are examples of the outrageous free speech items left in Galizio’s inbox.

Clearly offering statistical facts or introducing ideas by licensed professionals is now a dire threat to democracy and much be blacklisted.