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DeFazio Emerges Clear Winner in Today’s Debate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 16, 2020

Contact: Katrina Martell (214) 229-3610 or [email protected]

Eugene, Oregon— During the OR-4 Congressional Debate aired today, Congressman Peter DeFazio emerged the clear winner. While DeFazio made it clear where he stands on protecting affordable health care, fair wages, women’s choice and delivering COVID relief to struggling Oregonians, Skarlatos doubled down on his extreme positions on issues of importance to Oregon voters. Skarlatos re-affirmed his intent to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - the law protecting people with pre-existing conditions; expanded his attack on basic worker protections, doubling down on stripping the minimum wage and revealing that he also opposes federal unemployment; and expanded his war on women’s health rights, saying he would defund Planned Parenthood in addition to earlier comments saying, 'go for it' on overturning Roe v. Wade. Watch Oregon's Fourth Congressional Debate at this link.

“People don’t always agree with me, but they know where I stand on the issues. Mr. Skarlatos isn’t approaching the race that way. He continues to dodge the tough questions from local news outlets, from KVAL, KEZI, and KMTR to Eugene Weekly. Skarlatos continues to hide on the issues most important to Oregonians, notably his plans to repeal affordable health care. Neither Skarlatos nor the GOP have yet to offer any plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, although they claim they would. It’s no wonder he still won’t answer questions about his plan to protect affordable health care, he’s out of step with Oregonians. Affordable health care isn’t the only red flag, Skarlatos also doesn’t believe the 110,000 workers in OR-4 who are on minimum wage deserve fair pay protections. He opposes federal unemployment, and doesn’t think that women deserve a say in their health rights. When so much is at stake, we simply cannot send a representative to Congress who doesn’t have a plan to put politics aside and protect what matters most to Oregonians.” said Congressman Peter DeFazio.


During the debate, Skarlatos doubled down on his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, the law protecting those with pre-existing conditions. On September 22, 2020 at the Rotary Club of Eugene, Alek Skarlatos said, “Well, I don’t believe in discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, however the Affordable Care Act I really don’t agree with.” During the debate, Alek doubled down, stating unequivocally: “I do believe in repealing the Affordable Care Act.” If the ACA is repealed, that means coverage for more than 300,000 people in the Fourth Congressional district would be stripped, including for up to 36,000 children. 155,000 seniors on Medicare Part D in OR-4 would see their prescription drug prices skyrocket.

Skarlatos expanded his attack on basic worker protections, doubling down on his opposition to the minimum wage and revealing today that he opposes federal unemployment. During the debate, when Debate Moderator Brian Bull gave Skarlatos an opportunity to clarify his position on the minimum wage, Alek doubled down: “I do not believe in a federal minimum wage.” In the past Skarlatos has claimed, “I don't think there should be a minimum wage… I don't think it should be mandated.” (KNDD 1400 AM Radio Interview, 07/29/2020) There are 110,000 workers currently earning minimum wage in OR-4.

Skarlatos, who has drawn criticism for his opposition to COVID relief, went on in the debate to say he doesn’t think workers deserve federal unemployment benefits, a component of the COVID package being negotiated. During the debate, Skarlatos said, “I don't necessarily agree with extending unemployment benefits. Especially when we’re trying to open back up.” He doubled down on this position in an interview with the Roseburg News-Review. When responding to criticism of his COVID-19 position, Alek stated that he would not support another round of federal unemployment checks.

When asked in late September, “Do you think there's a need for another pandemic relief bill, and if so, what are your top priorities for such a bill?” Skarlatos revealed that he unequivocally opposes more pandemic relief for struggling families, workers, small businesses, and schools when he stated, “In short, no I do not.” (Rotary Club of Eugene event on September 22, 2020)

Today, Skarlatos expanded his war on women’s health rights, saying he supports defunding Planned Parenthood in addition to earlier comments saying, 'go for it' on Overturning Roe v. Wade. During the debate, Skarlatos said “Well, first of all, I do not believe in federal funding for Planned Parenthood.” Skarlatos had previously claimed, “As far as Roe v. Wade, I mean that’s a question way above my pay grade. If Amy was here you’d have to ask her, yeah, I think, I think we might, we might be able to do it but there might be a big backlash. So, for political reasons, we might have to think twice about that, but at the same time, if we can do it, we should probably go for it.” (Lane County Meet and Greet the Candidates’ event on October 3, 2020)

Posted on October 16, 2020 in Press Releases.

As Independent as Oregon.

Peter DeFazio's common-sense proposals aim to create good-paying jobs, expand access to affordable health care and develop options outside of the for-profit marketplace, restore economic and educational opportunities, hold government accountable and tip the scales of inequality back in favor of hard-working Oregonians.

Meet Peter