Legislators Should Treat Constituents With Respect

By Reagan Knopp

Earlier this week, the Statesman Journal reported that a man named Jim Maguire wrote letters to Senate President Peter Courtney and Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli requesting the censure of his State Senator, Brian Boquist, for sending several disrespectful replies after Maguire had requested Boquist introduce a piece of legislation on his behalf.

After reading the enhance (shown below) I think it’s quite clear that Senator Boquist made a mistake. Being a legislator can sometimes be a thankless job, but it’s also a voluntary one. Constituents are going to complain about their elected officials whether they performed their duties to the fullest or not.

That being said, that is not an excuse for an elected official like Boquist to behave has he did. The most offensive part of this to me is Boquist (who is a veteran) questioned the military service of this gentleman. Regardless of whether he was a constituent, this is irresponsible behavior.

I urge Senator Boquist to apologize to Mr. Maguire privately. Let this be a lesson to all for us, but especially our elected officials, to treat everyone with respect.

Note: Below is the exchange between Senator Boquist and Jim Maguire as reported by the Statesman Journal. You can also read the exchange verbatim in the documents Maguire submitted to Senators Courtney and Ferrioli.

The kerfuffle started when Maguire emailed Boquist to ask him to introduce legislation that would require presidential and vice-presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the Oregon ballot.

He received a one-line response: “Suggest you contact your US Representative as the State has no say.”

Maguire wrote back – he says politely – noting that the response, which did not include a salutation or signature to let him know who was responding, seemed discourteous.

“I do not feel I am being overly taxing by requesting the basic courtesies in correspondence,” Maguire wrote. “Otherwise I have no choice to be left with the impression that you don’t give a damn about your boss – your constituents. I expect more of my elected representative, sir.”

Boquist responded – this time with a salutation and signature – again urging Maguire to contact his federal representative “wherever it is you really live.”

Boquist also called the address Maguire provided “bullshit,” saying the county assessor lists it as a vacant lot.

“Your Portland cell phone number does not pan out very well either as being in Senate District 12,” he wrote.

He also derided Maguire for putting his Naval Academy status in his signature block, and questioned its legitimacy.

“I am not impressed,” Boquist wrote.

Maguire responded by sending Boquist a picture of his house, which he moved into in November 2016. He also sent Boquist a screen shot of his active voter registration.

Boquist’s office now acknowledges that Maguire does live at the address provided and is registered to vote in Boquist’s district.