Rep. Mike Nearman
Rep. Mike Nearman
Two Catholic state lawmakers are facing the condemnation of peers in Salem.

Rep. Mike Nearman, a Republican representing a large rural district in the Willamette Valley that includes Dallas, is under threat of expulsion from the Oregon Legislature for opening a locked Capitol side door Dec. 21 to armed right-wing demonstrators. That led to a confrontation with Oregon State Troopers and Salem police officers. House Speaker Tina Kotek, a Portland Democrat, lacks votes to expel Nearman but has urged him to resign.

A former seminarian, Nearman attended Holy Trinity and St. Pius X parishes and Jesuit High School.

“Growing up, I was very much inspired by the Christian humanism of John Paul II and the danger that the state presents to the freedom of the human spirit,” he told the Catholic Sentinel in 2019.

The Oregon State Police are investigating the door incident.

Rep. Diego Hernandez, a Democrat who represents East Portland, was the subject of an investigation that found he created a hostile work environment for women. An extensive report from Oregon Public Broadcasting said his behavior led to a situation in which the women feared ending romantic relationships with him for fear of endangering their careers.

Hernandez has said he did nothing wrong and issued a statement to reporters.

“Dating when you are young is hard. Some dating relationships do not end definitively, but rather slip away over time,” Hernandez’s email statement read. “There is often some confusion, mixed signals, and strained emotions. To anyone I made uncomfortable in my personal life, I sincerely apologize.”

In 2019, Hernandez wrote a column for the Catholic Sentinel supporting the church’s call for action on climate change.