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Rep. Vic Gilliam refutes residency challenge

By Mary Owen

A blog entry on the Northwest Republican blogspot has rekindled interest in whether Rep. Vic Gilliam (R-Silverton) fulfills residency requirements to represent the area in the Oregon State Legislature.

“I heard that Vic Gilliam actually lives in Seattle, but only owns a house in Silverton …,” the blogger, signed in as Steve, commented.

The blog entry was in response to a Washington County clerical blunder that forced Republican candidate Jeff Duyck to withdraw as an Oregon House of Representatives candidate.

Gilliam’s residency was examined by Secretary of State Bill Bradbury when a Marion County Republican precinct official brought the issue to his attention in a formal complaint filed April 20, 2007, after Gilliam was appointed to fill Rep. Mac Sumner’s seat. Sumner, who had been re-elected in November 2006, resigned a month later due to ill health.

Deborah Case of Stayton alleged in her complaint that Gilliam did not reside at the address in Silverton where he is registered to vote. Case stated Gilliam’s wife’s name, not Gilliam’s, was listed on the property deed, and the house appeared to be unoccupied. Case could not be reached at press time.

Bradbury took no action on the complaint, stating in a letter to Case that his office has no jurisdiction over appointed officials.

“To my knowledge, nothing has changed,” said Gilliam, now running for the seat in his own right this November. “There is no residency story in my case. I have lived in Silverton for nine years, and during that time, have been very active in our community.”

Gilliam and his wife, Becky, recently walked in the Hubbard Hop Festival parade, and knocked on doors to campaign in the upcoming race between him and Democratic candidate Jim Gilbert.

Since his appointment, Gilliam said he rarely gets to Seattle, where his wife lives for part of the year.

“We have a very untraditional marriage with one week off and one week on,” he said. “The week that she doesn’t have her son, Taylor, she is down here. She works by computer, which lets us do this.”

Gilliam has two daughters, Leanne, a graduate of Seattle Pacific University, and Becky, a recent graduate of Silverton High School. His ex-wife also lives in Silverton, made reference to by an anonymous blogger.

“…yes, it is true that his daughters live in Silverton – with his ex-wife. Gilliam’s current wife lives in Seattle. You all can decide for yourselves where you think Gilliam lies his weary head at the end of the day,” the blogger wrote.

On the blogspot, another anonymous blogger shot back, “Vic Gilliam absolutely lives in Silverton. His daughter just graduated from Silverton High School. His schedule and involvement in the community shows it. … Vic has been a good legislator and will continue to advocate for the community he lives in and loves.”

Gilliam strongly refuted the possibility that any of his opponent’s campaigners were behind the blogs. “I have every reason to believe he is only interested in a clean, hard-fought campaign about the issues – like me.”

Gilliam represents Oregon’s District 18, including Aurora, Donald, Hubbard, Molalla, Mulino, Mt. Angel, Scotts Mills and Silverton.

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