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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington National Guard Member Finds Common Ground With Armed Occupiers

A member of the Washington National Guard has emerged as a vocal supporter of the armed occupiers in eastern Oregon.

Staff Sgt. Maureen Peltier has served in the Guard since 2000. She even deployed to Iraq. But over the years she says she’s come to believe that corruption and a toxic environment exists in many parts of the U.S. government. Thus her interest in what she calls the patriot movement.

“I’ve been watching the patriot movement quietly for years while serving,” Peltier said.

Peltier said she’s not a member of any militia group, but she is a frequent poster to the Facebook page for the Washington chapter of The Three Percenters Club. That’s a national organization that said it provides tactical and logistical support to militias and resistance groups.

Peltier protested in Burns, Oregon, over the weekend, but said she was not aware of the plan to take over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters.

“If I had been informed, I would have said ‘no, no, no, no, no, let’s not do that, that’s not what we do,’” she said.

But now that has happened, Peltier has taken to Facebook to urge people to send supplies and money to support the effort. She’s currently in the process of medically retiring from the National Guard. The Guard would only confirm she’s a current member.

Visit OPB News for the latest news and updates about the armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."