Board Of Commissioners Statement Regarding Former Mayor Sawyer

From the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners: 

As elected officials representing a richly diverse community, we are disturbed and saddened by Friday’s news report that Mayor Dean Sawyer of Newport has for years posted hateful, racist, homophobic, transphobic and violent “jokes” to a private Facebook page. We unequivocally condemn those posts, which belittled and dehumanized the most vulnerable of our friends and neighbors.  

More than simply being offensive, the exposure of Mayor Sawyer’s bigoted online commentary makes it harder for those vulnerable people to feel safe or to seek assistance and protection from their local government. This is unacceptable.  

To those of our neighbors most impacted by Mayor Sawyer’s behavior on social media: You are a valued, irreplaceable part of this community. You have a place here. Hatred does not.  

We also reject the notion that the difficult circumstances encountered in a career in law enforcement contribute to such bigotry. Your Sheriff flatly rejected that notion in his own statement Friday, noting that his office has written policies prohibiting behavior like Mayor Sawyer's.  

We know we have a long way to go in achieving real equity for all. We cannot afford to go backward or lose any hard-won trust from historically marginalized communities. Our doors are open to all of you.