According to our intel agencies, our elections were hacked by the Russians in 2016. Even the president said so in Poland recently, although he equivocates on it.
The Russians have interfered in other elections, notably the French — Macron won anyway — and are expected to be active in the German elections coming up. All 50 states run their own elections in the U.S., so that’s actually 50 separate elections; the Russians were known for hacking at least 22 of them, along with dirty tricks and possibly collusion with the Trump campaign. With only a short time left before the next election, how does our federal government, along with the states, ensure the integrity of the next election when they haven’t even looked at making changes to any part of the systems?
Time for bipartisan work
We need Rep. Greg Walden to work with colleagues in the House to create and sustain a bipartisan effort to fix the things that need fixing in the Affordable Care Act. Bipartisan overtures have already begun, in both the House and the Senate, as support for the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act has become a no-go. We have long heard about the virtues of bipartisanship, but we haven’t seen much of it at the federal level in a long time. We need it now.
We in Walden’s district have been very clear, very vocal, and very persistent about our expectation that the House and the Senate produce bills ensuring fair, accessible, affordable healthcare, as Mr. Trump promised during his campaign. Both the House and the Senate, working in completely partisan ways, have failed dramatically in that mission. It’s time for all our legislators to work together. And I expect Mr. Walden, as leader of the House Subcommittee on Health, to lead that effort in the House on behalf of his constituents.
Repair the ACA
Now this is news! I got a letter recently from Greg Walden. After making many calls to both his DC and local district offices, speaking to many staffers, leaving many messages, stating my opinions on the AHCA and our general healthcare needs, and asking specific questions about policy, I did finally receive a written response. However, this was a form letter, identical to ones received by others in District 2, and did not address my concerns or questions.
The beginning of the letter reads, “As work continues on improving the AHCA, it’s helpful to get your opinion.” Mr. Walden, please listen carefully to this message, as it appears you have not heard my previous communications and questions.
There’s no need for any “work to improve the AHCA.” It’s terrible from the beginning. My message to Walden all along has been that we need accessible, comprehensive, affordable healthcare for all people, and using the AHCA to deliver tax breaks for the wealthy and financial bonuses for the health insurance industry is unacceptable. America needs healthcare for all, not wealthcare for the 1 percent.
Mr. Walden, we need you to commit to a bipartisan effort to repair the ACA. You have the position and the opportunity to do it. There are legislators on both sides who are making that effort, and we need you to join them.
Keep fuels standard
As an elected official, I understand the challenges (and the pressures) of complex policymaking, where we must represent diverse interests and balance all perspectives. But that’s exactly why Oregonians have asked us to do this job. Sometimes, we must examine the larger picture to make the right decision, whether it’s here at home or in Washington, D.C.
One such topic is the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), a bipartisan policy that promotes competition at the gas pump from homegrown biofuels, including those produced right here in the Beaver State. It has and will continue to deliver significant benefits to our economy and environment in Oregon and across the United States.
While there’s no shortage of opinions about the RFS, there’s no debate that clean fuels are helping to deliver savings at the at the pump for consumers. And because they compete against foreign oil, biofuels increase American energy security.
I encourage Congressman Greg Walden and his colleagues to recognize that any legislative or regulatory changes to the RFS would be disruptive to a program that is currently working. When so many other policies are in flux, consumers and American businesses need to have a stable energy sector. Please reject pressures to undermine the RFS and protect current renewable energy goals.
Craig Pope, Polk County Commissioner
Tax breaks for wealthy
It is such a slap in the face to his constituents that Rep. Greg Walden started the healthcare debacle we’re currently in. And not just that he was willing to ignore the healthcare needs of we here in District 2 and all Americans, but that he prioritized funding immense tax cuts for the wealthy.
Mr. Walden may think the damage is not his baby now that the Senate has weighed in with their disastrous version, but that is not true. As a District 2 constituent, I hold him completely responsible for abandoning us and for starting this MEAN, MEAN, MEAN ball rolling (Trump’s words). On the other hand, seeing clearly what Mr. Walden holds dear will be useful in the 2018 elections.
Flabbergasted by Walden
I am once again flabbergasted and disappointed that Greg Walden would betray his state, his hometown, his ag neighbors, and the local workforce that puts food on his table and supports our local economy.
Last week he voted in favor of HB 3003, a bill to force “sanctuary” cities and states to enforce federal immigration law by withholding certain federal law enforcement grants. To remind Mr. Walden, local separation from federal ICE activities is not a defiance of federal laws. The federal government is as free as always to continue its business of enforcing federal laws.
Legal reviewers are questioning the constitutionality of the measure, but even more obvious and more immediate is its implication for District 2. The State of Oregon and several D2 towns, including Mr. Walden’s hometown of Hood River, have declared themselves sanctuary locales. Why would he and how could he betray his own community in good conscience?
Why would he work against us, increasing economic hardship for orchardists who need workers in their fields? Walden is responsible for threatening the stability of our ag-based regional economy, the people and workforce he supposedly says he represents and supports? Whose interests is he really working for?
It appears again that Walden’s marriage to Trump and party are more meaningful than doing well for his constituents, and it’s “mean” and damaging to our community. Let’s hold him accountable by all of us asking him to justify his decisions and letting him know we want him to protect the stability of our community and to start working for those he says he represents.
Clouds of War
Nuclear war looms closer than at any other time since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Even one American or North Korean bomb would release lethal radioactive fallout which would eventually drift over Hood River.
Do city, county, and state governments have disaster plans to mitigate the resulting panic and threats to our survival? Can plans make much of a difference in the face of such a disaster? Probably not. So what can we do? Prevention is the best cure, our best hope.
This is not the time for another gunfight at the OK Corral. We all must urge our elected officials to be patient, to try to better understand what North Korea really wants from the United States and the rest of the world, and to negotiate in good faith a peaceful compromise under which all parties can feel secure. If we survived the Cold War with the USSR through diplomacy, surely we can do it with North Korea. All our futures are at stake. Contact state and national representatives now to let them know you care and to demand of them that all diplomatic means be considered before taking military action. Seeking alternatives to a nuclear conflict is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of wisdom.
“Vaya con Dios,” or Go with God, we all tell folks when we wish them the best trip they can have! So here’s a wish for all who read to do so, but especially for Jill and Rick McBee who “brought home the hardware for worldwide Orienteering” (Hood River News on the Internet, July 10, 2017). If you want to win these cherished international prizes you must just about exhibit paranormal map-reading skill.
When I read that, it struck me that Jill and Rick literally “do.”
Christian teachers, they’ve been all over the world — a long and fascinating international story I wouldn’t dare try to summarize. Looks like their paranormal map-reading expertise comes with real practice!