Letters to the Editor for Aug. 15 edition

Who gets Walden’s attention?

I appreciate Congressman Walden’s attention to the persistent problems related to Oregon’s lengthening fire season. In his most recent newsletter, he addresses the impact of smoke on air quality, forestry reforms and the impact on farmers and ranchers.

It puzzles me how these very issues are disconnected to the congressman’s support of Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven Hammond, who were convicted of arson on federal land after starting at least two fires.

Apparently, concern for their personal plight greatly outweighed the other issues that are now being supported by Mr. Walden in congress.

This continued hypocrisy on multiple issues is highly frustrating for his constituents, who do not wield the same financial influence that other supporters do. A presidential pardon and a private jet flight back to Burns clearly demonstrates who gets Mr. Walden’s attention.

Dana Hayden


Know the candidates

Who are Jamie McLeod-Skinner, Chrissy Reitz and Anna Williams?

Three REAL women who are dedicated to serving REAL people in Oregon.

Jamie is a civil engineer and lawyer, Chrissy is a neonatal intensive care nurse who spent years on the school board, and Anna is a social worker and teacher.

They have each fought for a better life for all people in their chosen profession. They will continue to do this for Oregon and the whole country when they are elected.

They are all running on the Democratic ticket. What does it mean to them to be a Democrat? It means working to strengthen our democracy, giving equal voice to all people by strengthening voting rights, not throwing REAL Americans off the voting rolls. It means reversing Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that gives foreign governments and corporations more power than people like you and me.

It means ensuring a healthy population where everyone has access to affordable healthcare. It means seeing immigrants as contributing to our society and finding compassionate ways to integrate them into our citizenry. It means fighting for decency and the rule of law. It means realizing that we are one earth and we must care for it regardless of the cost. It means free and open education for all.

Most of all, it means seeing our country as one and working to bring us back together as a nation by finding common ground. These three women will govern with compassion, clarity and strength.

They are the new America — actually the REAL America — where hate is not acceptable and not applauded. Help us bring sanity back to this country by truly draining the swamp and ridding our government of the old guard who has been bought and paid for by greedy corporations and consists of out of touch professional politicians.

Vote McLeod-Skinner, Reitz and Williams!

Susan Lannak

Hood River

Proud of Oregon

In his Aug. 8 letter, Russ Paddock blamed residents of the Willamette Valley and the Hood River spillovers for giving the state a “black eye” because a woman refused to take a brochure, stating she thought Oregon was “far too liberal.” This was a terrific opportunity for a discussion: Why does the person think that? What evidence do they have to support their opinion? Is the evidence they cite accurate or “fake”?

Is being “far too liberal” a bad thing? If so, why?

Interesting, a 2013 Gallup poll revealed only 27 percent of Oregonians consider themselves “liberal.” The remainder identified themselves as moderate or conservative — nearly three-quarters of our state. Clearly, our state does not think of itself as liberal, although compared to others states it ranks as the fifth most liberal state. Conflicting data for sure.

I have to wonder if she thinks of Oregon as liberal because we were the first state to require a bottle deposit and have worked hard to protect our natural beauty? Is it because a majority of our residents want good healthcare for all residents? Is it because we have a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum? Are we “liberal” because marijuana has been legalized, allowing law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes?

Or perhaps her opinion was based on watching “Portlandia”?

I am proud of my state and the people who care for those who live here. I am proud of people who want better wages and healthcare, stand against hate groups such as neo-Nazis and anti-immigrant organizations, protect our natural environment and believe that ALL people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or legal status should be treated with dignity and respect.

Black eye? I am happy to wear two of them if it means establishing justice and promoting the general welfare for ALL people in the U.S.A and not just Oregon.

In the meantime, I suggest residents who are promoting our state engage in civil informed conversations rather than call names.

Kim Vogel

Hood River

Life or death?

I just heard a politician (from Colombia) say something very profound about politics, which I think reframes the continuous harangue and “yelling past each other” of our political climate.

Gustavo Petro (former guerrilla fighter and recent unsuccessful candidate for president) said that he doesn’t feel “left vs. right” is a useful way of looking at politics anymore. In the 21st century, we should look at it as “life vs. death.”

If we support life, we should support climate health, an end to fossil fuels and other extractive industries, pollution controls and serious attention to what is very plainly a climate emergency. On a more human scale, we should support sustainable jobs, a living wage, universal health care, access to birth control, defunding the war machine, and, I would add, zero population growth.

With elections looming, I think we should ask every candidate (be they demopublican or republicrat) where they stand.

Are you on the side of life or death? Unfortunately, climate change, militarism, and “health care for all” are all “third rails” of our political and media establishment.

Case in point, during the 2016 campaign, in the three presidential debates, I don’t recall a single question or mention of climate change from our learned politicians or our much vaunted “free press.” If the people really want to survive the coming climate crisis, financial crisis, world war crisis, “fill in the blank crisis,” I’m pretty sure we will have to drag the politicians and the media kicking and screaming in to the light of sanity.

Rod Krehbiel

Hood River

Vote for McLeod-Skinner

I don’t know about you, but I for one am sick of having to choose candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives who primarily represent special interests like industrial logging, ranching, insurance, pharmaceuticals, major corporations — anyone, in fact, with pockets deep enough to finance a campaign for public office. And I see no benefit in supporting those who would betray the public interest by selling off or leasing to such interests the mountain and forest lands that belong to all of us — actions that deprive us of our environmental heritage for the advantage of a few.

The next election for Oregon’s Second Congressional District will give us the chance, at last, to support someone who represents the interests of the general public — universal health care, free tuition at public colleges, renewable energy resources — redirection, in short, of taxpayer money toward the overall infrastructure of our society.

That candidate is Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

Cindy L. Allen

Hood River

Oversight, not complicity

As of this writing, President Trump has made 4,229 false or misleading statements in the first 558 days of his presidency.

Talk about fake news.

You can see for yourself in the Washington Post’s Aug. 1 online Fact Checker column.

Yet, Mr. Trump says repeatedly, “Believe me.” Why? Why should we believe someone so divorced from the truth? Meanwhile, our nation is under daily cyberattack from Russia. They successfully attacked our last election, and they are attacking our next election as this is written. Mr. Trump met in secret for two hours with the Russian president recently in Helsinki. What do we know about that meeting? According to Mr. Trump at his pep rally, “Everything is fine. Putin likes me.”

Why, as a nation, do we find any of this acceptable? If you want Congress to provide oversight rather than complicity with this administration, re-peal and replace Republicans in Congress.

Elect Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

Debbie Zoe Kelly

Hood River

Thankful for Walden

We may not be the ones yelling, but we are the ones that are thankful for all the work Greg Walden is doing for us. Most recently, he has worked to fix some of the forest management at Crooked River Ranch, passed legislation to end the opioid crisis, worked to expand rural broadband and obtained a pardon for Dwight and Steven Hammond — and all of this happened in just a little bit over a month.

He spends all his time working for us in D.C., then spends his weekends back here in the district to talk to people he is representing.

Thank you for your hard work, Greg. Please know that it doesn’t go unnoticed.

For all of you out there, Greg covers about two-thirds of the state.

Bobbi Reisner

Hood River

Supports health care

Health care for its citizens is a highly important part of public infrastructure that every civilized government commits resources to support — except in the United States.

Here, we have Congressional representatives like Oregon’s Greg Walden energetically fighting every governmental effort, like the Affordable Care Act, to provide medical care for all. Walden’s crusade against the ACA has been carried on in our Second Congressional District despite the outstanding and well-documented benefits that Obamacare has conferred on citizens of that district. (For more info see the March 3, 2017, issue of Willamette Week.)

On the right side of this issue, and now running against Walden for the Second District seat in Congress, is Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who has come out loud and clear in favor of universal health coverage for all.

Which one are you voting for?

As a health care provider and educator, I have seen firsthand the benefits of the ACA. Many more kids are now getting the therapy they need. Adults are getting basic screening and diagnostic services that prevent serious medical problems, and families are getting home- and community-based supports that allow people to live at home and with their families.

Repealing the ACA will result in deep losses for many of our neighbors and increased costs for all of us. The choice is clear.

Let’s get out the vote for McLeod-Skinner!

Mike Collins

Hood River

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