Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam will speak in Canby this Saturday as part of a statewide listening tour laying the groundwork for what he hopes will be a successful bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2022.
A two-term mayor in Sandy with previous experience as a legislative aide for former state Senator Bruce Starr and Representative Pat Farr, Pulliam is currently weighing a run for the governor’s mansion.
Pulliam has been a vocal critic of some of the measures Oregon put in place during the pandemic — particularly ones that have affected small businesses, schools and churches. In the past, he’s supported local businesses that chose to buck the state’s virus restrictions.
He challenged Governor Kate Brown in December, calling for businesses in his community to reopen with “high risk” coronavirus guidelines in place — in defiance of statewide orders that were then in effect.
More recently, Pulliam announced a federal lawsuit against the governor last week, challenging her authority in using executive action to extend the state of emergency.
“We’ve been outspoken advocates for Main Street small businesses, getting our kids back into school,” he said of himself and his wife, MacKensey, who recently founded the Oregon Moms Union — a plaintiff in the case. “And we really kind of caught this wave of momentum and support, where people were really asking us to take a look at this governor’s race.”
Oregon has not elected a Republican governor since 1982, when Vic Atiyeh won a second term over future Governor Ted Kulongoski with almost 62% of the vote.
“Just listening, trying to see how much support we can get, what the viability of this campaign is, what kind of financial support we can get,” Pulliam said of the purpose of the listening tour, which has included stops in central Oregon, eastern Oregon, the coast — and at Fox Park in Molalla just this past Saturday.
“You know, it’s been 40 years since we’ve had a Republican governor in Oregon. And I think that’s because we haven’t done the proper legwork to get organized and really run a top-notch campaign, and that’s what we’re committed to doing here.”
Pulliam spoke with The Canby Current ahead of Saturday’s event in Molalla. The full interview is available on our podcast, Now Hear This: Canby.
“It’s been a wild year and a half to two years to be mayor of your hometown,” he said with a laugh. “But one thing I’ve learned is that things are best done at the local level. You know, we’ve got Republicans and Democrats on our City Council. We’ve got parents and grandparents — all over the spectrum. But you know what we all are at the end of the day? We’re neighbors. So, we tackle these problems as neighbors.”
Pulliam often struck a more partisan tone during his public remarks, criticizing Brown as well as other Democratic leaders in the state Legislature and Portland for their handling of the pandemic, schools, law enforcement and homelessness, and arguing that a new and more conservative approach is needed.
“If we focus on issues that can unite us as Oregonians, I continue to believe there’s no problem that we can’t take on,” he told the Current. “There’s a spirit to this state that I think we’ve kind of lost in recent years that we can restore together.”
Pulliam will hold a listening session from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 15, at Wait Park in Canby, hosted by City Councilor Shawn Varwig, who also attended the Molalla event.
“I’m excited to host Mayor Stan on this stop of the tour in our town,” Varwig said in a press release. “I invite the community to join us to get to know Stan and share with him what our community needs from our state.”
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