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Mark Ellis, NW Connection

S.O.A.R. Membership Skyrockets After Announcement

If a person had asked four months ago if there was an organized Republican group in the Sandy, OR area, the answer would have been “no, there isn’t.”

There is now. The Sandy Oregon Area Republicans (SOAR) has only been around since May 24th, but has already attracted 643 members.

According to group spokesperson Dotty Pratt, the word “area” is inclusive of any town or burb in and around Sandy, specifically the official political districts that Sandy is in: Senate District 26, House District 52, and Congressional District 3.

“We welcome anyone who shares our core values,” says Pratt, “which can be found by going to the group’s page on Facebook.”

Retired Marine Corp Lieutenant Colonel Mark Shull. Republican District 52 Captain

A mission statement reads as follows on the page: “The members of SOAR will educate the populace on political issues, encourage informed and active participation in local county, state and federal government to take action to increase understanding of major policy issues and influence public policy through advocacy and focused action.”

SOAR’s formation was kick-started because one of the group’s founders had been wondering for several years if local Republicans had an organization comparable to Sandy’s long-standing Democrat group, Oregon Trail Democrats.

It was decided that the question should be asked publicly, via the Sandy Community Information Facebook page.

“The response was overwhelming,” says Pratt: “No, but we would love one!”

First meeting and the house was packed! Courtesy of Paola’s Pizza

After an invite was extended on the community site, the group went on to sign up 400 members in less than four weeks.

Pratt says that many of the folks who joined expressed that they simply wanted a safe place to come and interact with others who share their values without having to deal with conflict. The group’s organizers plan on providing information to members about what is happening in the state and, as Pratt explains, “what they can do to help put Oregon on the right track and in line with they’re pro-Constitutional values.”

It is not necessary to be a Republican to join SOAR, whose ideological focus is rooted in the common goal of preserving the right of citizens to have a say in how their government is run. The group has even attracted some members who used to live in the area and remain interested in keeping informed about what is happening locally and, in the state.

Pratt says that the organizers have done no recruiting. “All current members have heard about us and have joined by word of mouth,” she says. She also confirms that many members have signed up for the positions of Precinct Committee Members to help in the coming election.

“More PCPs are needed,” says Pratt, “so we’re working with our members who want to do something tangible to make a difference.”

Avoiding conflict while organizing a political group that plans to get involved and make its voices heard on issues may present a challenge, but one thing seems clear: Sandy needed a Republican group, and SOAR is committed to filling the bill.

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