PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon Republican candidate for governor Dr. Bud Pierce faced another round of criticism Monday over comments he made about domestic abuse during a debate.
On Friday, Bud Pierce said that “a woman that has a great education and training and a great job is not susceptible to this kind of abuse.”
He had been asked about a recent report showing about half of women in Oregon had been victims of sexual or domestic violence at some point.
“A person who says a better education or a better job can cure these systematic problems has no business leading our state,” said State Rep. Carla Piluso. “Oregon women deserve leaders who recognize the ongoing domestic violence in our state.”
Piluso, a Gresham Democrat, worked in law enforcement for 30 years and was the first female police chief in Gresham. She and others spoke Monday at a Portland news conference held by Oregon End Violence Against Women, a political action committee.
Gov. Kate Brown seemed rattled by Pierce’s comments during the debate at the Portland City Club. During her response, Brown said for the first time publicly that she herself had been the victim of domestic abuse in the past.
“Her declaration gives Oregon parents another reason to talk about healthy relationships with their kids. It gives Oregon doctors another reason to check with their patients about their safety at home,” said Rebecca Alexander, the communications director at Bradley Angle. The organization helps people affected by domestic violence.
Pierce, whose original remarks drew national attention over the weekend, issued a statement on Friday evening saying “I apologize to Governor Brown and anyone else who may have taken my comments the wrong way.”
There was also fallout inside Pierce’s operation. Campaign spokeswoman Stacey Kafka resigned because of his comments at the debate.
“As a woman I fundamentally disagreed with what was said,” Kafka said.
Campaign manager Nick Rhoten referred to the apology again when asked on Monday about the most recent criticism. He added that all women can be victims of domestic violence and that the crisis in Oregon must be addressed.
Oregon House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson said the apology did not go far enough.
“He clearly does not understand that this is a public health epidemic,” Williamson said.