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News / Clark County News

Herrera Beutler responds to Clark County GOP’s talk of censure

Clark County GOP party may censure Herrera Beutler

By Lauren Dake, Columbian Political Writer
Published: January 13, 2015, 4:00pm

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler responded Wednesday to the local Clark County Republican Party’s decision to vote on whether to censure the congresswoman.

In a three-page letter addressed to the Republican precinct committee officers in the party, Herrera Beutler touted her conservative record and reminded her fellow Republicans that “a movement can’t grow if it is more concerned with burning heretics than winning converts.”

The motion for consideration to censure Herrera Beutler was introduced last week during a meeting of the local party’s precinct committee officers. PCO Joseph Wagner was the one to introduce the motion, and it was approved 59-49.

The party is expected to discuss the motion and vote on whether to censure Herrera Beutler at its next meeting, likely in March.

Herrera Beutler responds nearly point-by-point to the letter from Wagner, which calls out about a half dozen votes she made that he believes “established a pattern of voting with Democrats to increase spending, increase the debt, and increase regulations.”

In her response, the Congresswoman touts her “A” rating from the National Rifle Association and her pro-life voting record. She has several high-profile conservative colleagues quoted in her letter to bolster her argument, and she notes there were more than 560 roll call votes last year in the U.S. House.

“Not even my best friend and husband, Dan, agrees with me on every single one of them,” Herrera Beutler wrote. “That’s the reality in a representative republic, in a society where everyone is still free to voice their own opinions. I have to make the best judgment on every vote based upon what I believe is best for Southwest Washington and America. I will never be a rubber stamp, even for my party, of whom I am a proud member.”

The Congresswoman adds that out of the 11 votes challenged by the local party, she voted with the majority of the House Republican Conference on five of them.

“What are the motives of a county Republican leadership that wants to censure a Republican representative for voting with the Republican Conference?” she wrote.

If Republicans did approve censuring the congresswoman, the move could mean Herrera Beutler would be banned from speaking at any campaign events sponsored by the Clark County GOP or from being featured in any of the local party’s literature.

In part, the motion reads: “Please understand, we receive no satisfaction from disciplining one of our own. However, silence is acceptance, and we cannot accept your poor voting record; therefore, we cannot remain silent. We hope this will cause you to reflect upon your actions, and we look forward to the day when our differences have been reconciled that we may repeal this censure from your record.”

Clark County Republican Party Chairman Kenny Smith said he was glad the congresswoman responded.

“She obviously thinks it’s important and needs to be addressed, so I appreciate that,” Smith said.

He said it won’t change the decision to vote on whether to censure her, but it could alter the discussion.

“My hope is to be able to facilitate the discussion, and I want people to feel like they have a voice,” Smith said.

Columbian Political Writer