Former state Sen. Betsy Johnson, an unaffiliated candidate for governor, has emphatically opposed highway tolls on the campaign trail, telling WW last week in Dr. Seuss style: “I do not like tolling, I do not like it here or there.”
But the trouble for any legislator running for office is the long record that follows them around.
Former Rep. Christine Drazan, a Republican candidate for governor, pointed out last week on Twitter that Johnson voted for the transportation package that used tolling to fund the I-205 and Interstate Bridge projects.
The Oregon Republican Party went further on March 1, noting Johnson sponsored a bill that would have allowed local governments to create tolls as a means of building more roads; didn’t sign onto a bill that would have prohibited tolling on I-205; and supported a bill that would allow the Oregon Department of Transportation to toll all of Interstates 5 and 205 in the metro area.
“This is exactly the kind of flip-flopping and gaslighting you’d expect to see from a career politician like Betsy Johnson,” said Republican National Committeewoman Tracy Honl in a statement. “She can’t hide from her record. The truth is, Betsy sided with Kate Brown and Tina Kotek in support of tolling on at least four separate occasions.”
Johnson responds: “The more I have learned about tolling and its implementation, the more I oppose it. If you like tolling, you probably should support Tina Kotek.…The party attack dogs are going to continue to try to use me as a chew toy, and I will continue to tell people the truth and try to move this state.”