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2 Oregon mayors resign after ridiculing wokeness, LGBTQ issues on social media
Screenshot of New York Post YouTube video (Left: Dean Sawyer, former mayor of Newport | Right: Matt Diaz, who will resign as mayor of Baker City effective Sunday)

2 Oregon mayors resign after ridiculing wokeness, LGBTQ issues on social media

Two mayors in Oregon have now announced their resignations after evidence suggested they ridiculed LGBTQ and other woke issues in private social media posts.

On Monday, Dean Sawyer resigned from his position as mayor of Newport, a city of about 10,000 residents along the Pacific Coast. Sawyer first joined the Newport city council in 2011 and was elected mayor in 2018. He won re-election in both 2020 and 2022.

In addition to his political service, Sawyer also spent 30 years as a Newport police officer. In 2016, he joined a private Facebook group called "LE Only." To join the group of about 40,000 current and retired law enforcement officers around the country, Facebook users like Sawyer must submit a picture of their law enforcement credentials.

In the last few weeks, Oregon Public Broadcasting somehow managed to view some of Sawyer's posts in the "LE Only" group and reported that he had posted "hateful" memes and messages making fun of Will "Lia" Thomas, a man who competed against women in collegiate swimming; Bud Light; a "trans dancer"; and those who speak Spanish. According to OPB, Sawyer also expressed support for former President Donald Trump's immigration ideas, which would limit the number of Mexicans working in the U.S.

After OPB published reports about Sawyer's posts, dozens in the city, including two former mayors and several city council members, demanded his resignation. Sawyer complied and offered a lengthy mea culpa excoriating himself for daring to defy leftist groupthink.

"I now realize that some of my actions and my words have hurt people I love and care about. This is something that I take full responsibility for," Sawyer wrote in a letter about the length of a typical article at TheBlaze. "I am sorry to everyone in this community and anyone hurt by my actions, directly or indirectly. The posts I made and the humor I engaged in do not reflect my values. It was wrong for me to belittle people with experiences different than my own."

Despite the detailed letter announcing his resignation, many in the community piled on Sawyer and added their own theatrical statements about the supposed harm his private Facebook group posts caused:

  • "This jeopardizes the trust of our community members of their local elected officials and law enforcement," said former Philomath city councilor Catherine Biscoe.
  • "As a member of a marginalized community, it deeply hurts to know someone you’ve known and worked with could harbor these kind of ideas and share them," claimed Claire Hall, described by Oregon Live as "a transgender woman activist."
  • "His actions were appalling," added Newport Police Chief James Malloy, who also called Sawyer's resignation "the right move for the city."
On Thursday, just a few days after Sawyer announced his resignation, Matt Diaz announced that he would be stepping down as mayor of Baker City, Oregon, which is about 430 miles east of Newport. Like Sawyer, Diaz has also been embroiled in controversy regarding his recent Facebook activity. A few weeks ago, he posted a meme to his personal Facebook account which depicted Pride flags arranged in such a way that they seemed to create a Nazi swastika.
Unlike Sawyer though, Diaz did not issue a melodramatic apology for the post. Instead, he released a statement on June 20 explaining that the post was intended "to illustrate how the DEI or 'woke' ideology is being propagandized and militantly forced on American society." He reiterated that he is not "a Nazi sympathizer or supporter."
Even after that reasonable explanation, several in the community still called for his resignation, though a motion which would have forced it failed to pass the city council. And at the end of the raucous city council meeting on Thursday, Diaz read from a prepared statement, announcing that he will resign effective Sunday. In the statement, Diaz barely acknowledged the Facebook controversy or the calls for his ouster. Instead, he insisted that he had long planned to resign because he is moving his family to another city where he can make a better living.
"Just as most of Baker City, residents and administration alike, I don’t make enough money to support my family," he said. "Finding a job in today’s society is a long process. For me that process started weeks before the social media incident ever occurred."
Diaz, a pastor and food-truck owner, promised he would bring "a Biblical and Constitutional world view" to Baker City when he first joined the city council in 2022. In his resignation announcement, he also reiterated that he harbors "no hate for those who choose a different lifestyle, religion, or sexual preference than my own."
Both Newport and Baker City officials are working to determine who will step in as mayor in their respective municipalities. City Council President Jan Kaplan will serve as interim mayor in Newport until a permanent replacement can be found. No interim mayor has been announced in Baker City.

2 Oregon mayors resign on back-to-back days after uproar over Facebook posts on immigrants, LGBTQwww.youtube.com

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Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@cortneyweil →