In the past year, I’ve become a vocal opponent of House Bill 2020, the cap-and-trade program. As the president of the United Steelworkers Local 1097 at the Georgia-Pacific Wauna Mill in Westport, it’s my responsibility to protect the jobs of my fellow workers at our energy-efficient plant.

I’ve shared my opposition to cap and trade with our state Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell, who rejected our arguments and voted against our district and other hardworking people in the state.

I applaud #TimberUnity for their fast organizing effort and stepping into the arena when they did. Without their efforts, the coalition could not have killed the bill.

Unfortunately, I believe the same as others that the recall effort against Mitchell can backfire for the people of the North Coast. It may seem odd for a guy like me to oppose the recall of a legislator who has shown little interest in protecting our family-wage jobs in Clatsop County and across the North Coast. As always, the devil is in the details.

If we recall Rep. Mitchell, the Democratic Party gets to recommend their best choices to our county commissioners, who would pick her replacement. Ultimately the results will be just another cap-and-trade supporter without a voting record and in slightly less radical packaging. Same song, different person.

Rep. Mitchell doesn’t deserve to serve again in Salem. We can all agree on that. I believe the best time to hold Rep. Mitchell accountable is Election Day in November 2020. When she stands for reelection, we will have the opportunity to support a local candidate of any party to run against her who’s less partisan, opposes radical policies like cap and trade, and stands for the hardworking people of the North Coast instead of Portland.

With a recall, we can be handed another puppet of Portland who may actually convince people here that he or she deserves a chance to serve in Salem. Sometimes it’s better to do nothing at all than something that will backfire.

A successful recall is almost guaranteed to produce a newly-appointed state representative who will stand with the Portland politicians as Rep. Mitchell ultimately did by not representing us — the community she swore to serve. We need more people like state Sen. Betsy Johnson, who rejects radical Portland politics and stands bravely for our community.

For me, it’s a simple choice. We either let the party and elected politicians pick our next state representative, or wait until Rep. Mitchell stands for reelection. I believe the people of the North Coast need to be the ones to choose who represents our community. That’s why I’m not signing the recall petition.

Bill Kerr is president of the United Steelworkers Local 1097, which represents workers at the Georgia-Pacific Wauna Mill.

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