Letters to the Editor for September 19

Accessible care needed

Recent polls have shown that the number one issue on most voters’ minds as we approach the midterm elections is healthcare. Last year, Congressman Greg Walden led the attack against accessible healthcare.

Under Walden’s ACA Repeal Plan, as many as 20 percent of the people in our Second Congressional District would have lost access to affordable healthcare, and many rural hospitals would have been in danger of closing. In our Hood River community alone, 2,650 people would have lost their healthcare coverage and Hood River Valley High School’s school-based health center would have been at risk for funding cuts.

And what was Congressman Walden’s response to all of this? He ducked community forums, where he could have been held accountable for his actions, while continuing to meet with big donors. We deserve better. We need someone like Jamie McLeod-Skinner who will work for affordable and accessible healthcare for all, rather than responding to the commands of DC politicos and corporate donors. Let’s send Jamie to D.C. We need a representative who understands that health and well-being are for everyone.

Elaine Castles

Mosier

Vote for Williams, Reitz

It is hard these days to know who to vote for when so many political ads are often filled with half-truths and misleading statements. We have heard both Anna Williams and Chrissy Reitz speak a number of times and have had the opportunity to question them both. We are in awe of their commitment to work for us to get things done.

Anna Williams is running to represent us in House District 52. She grew up fishing and hunting in Wyoming and Montana, knows the power of guns, and supports common sense gun safety laws. She believes that a strong public education is the foundation of a safe and healthy community.

Improving healthcare and affordable housing is high on her list. As a social worker, Anna has served veterans in a variety of ways. She hosts a monthly support group for veterans who are becoming social workers and has matched younger veterans with older veterans to provide mentorship, social connections and transportation to medical appointments.

Chrissy Reitz is running to represent us in Senate District 26. She is a former neonatal intensive care nurse with degrees in both biology and nursing. She is a mom of school-age children, an active community volunteer and chair of the Hood River School District Board. She knows education is the key to opportunity and to an informed citizenry.

Chrissy has championed policies to make sure school funding goes to the classroom and that public schools have the resources they need for student success and higher graduation rates.

We are voting for Anna Williams (HD52) and Chrissy Reitz (SD26) because they both support issues that benefit the common good for Oregonians.

In their work, they have firsthand knowledge of the needs of families and communities. They are passionate defenders of the environment that Oregonians hold dear. Living rurally, they are in touch with the consequences of diminishing water resources and the threat of wildfires. They will help our neighborhoods and Oregon ensure an educated and healthy populace and a safe and protected environment in which to live.

Please support these two amazing women in the November election.

Bob Gales and Gail O’Neill

Welches

Keep Helfrich

Our state and county are at a critical point in their history. We have really important issues that need to be addressed with effective solutions so that Oregon can remain completive as a state and a place where we can all afford to live.

PERS, transportation gridlock, the high cost of living and a poorly performing public education system are all real issues that need real solutions from our elected officials. For example, Veteran Services in Hood River County may go away by the end of the year because PERS is draining the county coffer.

As I look at the candidates for House District 52 and read their materials, I see two distinct choices: Anna Williams appears to be aligning herself with the “resistance” movement and focused on playing political games.

Jeff Helfrich is talking about working across party lines and seriously working on answers to the problems I outlined. Jeff has already demonstrated his legislative effectiveness by passing two important bills in the short February session this year.

Oregon need solutions, not resistance.

Please join me in supporting Jeff Helfrich for state representative so he can continue to be a positive influence in Salem.

Tom Yates

Hood River

Re-elect Thomsen

Oregon Sen. Chuck Thomsen has delivered on everything for which he campaigned. His two goals are to balance Oregon’s budget without raising taxes and to promote economic growth through a better job economy.

His number one priority is to enhance K-12 and higher education funding. He thinks that funding schools should be done early and robustly.

Some bills that have been sponsored by Chuck are these:

HB 4068: Gave Oregon Food Bank more options to put food on tables using “recatch” from commercial fishers.

SB960: Promotes economic growth by allowing agri-tourism businesses on exclusive farm use land.

SB219: Targets unnecessary “feasibility studies” that cities and counties are forced to pay.

SB121: Removes restrictions hampering hydroelectric power.

SB1034: Creates tax credit for student debt interest.

2018 Package: Secured $500,000 for Cascade Locks economic development project.

HVB 4044: Directs educational study to address student achievement gap.

He has sponsored other useful bills, too. He gets my vote for re-election!

Donald Rose

Hood River

Libraries will endure

Thanks so much to Peggy Dills-Kelter for her article on libraries, childhood and Viola Davis (Sept. 12)!

I didn’t have the luxury of a library in my hometown, but my mother was an avid reader and a former teacher, so my sisters and I were encouraged to read. My favorite book was Peter Rabbit and I, like Peggy, memorized it at an early age and passed it on to my children and my grandchildren.

It is being said now that books are obsolete. I don’t think so! I love to hold a book in my hands and to feel the pages. Being blessed with a family that read books, I have books that belonged to my grandfather.

They never get old!

Barbara Cadwell

The Dalles

‘Vote is voice’

When Jamie McLeod-Skinner, Democrat candidate for the Oregon District 2 Congressional Seat, challenged incumbent Greg Walden to three debates, he agreed by saying, “I look forward to debating you.” This verbal exchange was followed up with a letter hand-delivered by McLeod-Skinner to Walden’s office in Bend. The first “debate” was held in Medford on Aug. 31; however, Walden was absent.

Meanwhile, two Indivisible groups in the Gorge had also decided to invite the two candidates to a debate in The Dalles. Indivisible Columbia Gorge in Hood River and Protect Oregon’s Progress in The Dalles decided that a debate would be preferable to the “empty seat” town hall format that the two groups sponsored in April of 2017.

Both candidates have been invited to debate on Oct. 17 at The Dalles Middle School from 6:30-8 p.m. The McLeod-Skinner campaign has confirmed she will be in attendance. The Walden office has not responded.

With the Nov. 6 midterm election fast approaching, the groups felt it was important to offer residents the opportunity to make an informed decision on who should represent us in Washington, D.C. McLeod-Skinner has stated, “I believe the voters of our district deserve to hear us debate the important issues affecting their lives — including healthcare, education, public land management and economic development.”

Our representatives work for us and it is important that they show up, listen, and answer questions. Congressman Greg Walden hasn’t held a town hall in the district for over 500 days. Meanwhile, McLeod-Skinner has been meeting constituents in all corners of the vast district, already putting over 40,000 miles on her Jeep. McLeod-Skinner will show up on Oct. 17, but will Walden?

The upcoming election will decide federal, state and local representation as well as five ballot measures. The Congressional seat is just one of the important decisions we the people will vote on. Register by Oct. 16, attend the debate Oct. 17, read the Voters’ Pamphlet and, when your ballot arrives in the mail, fill it out and put it in the mail or take it to the courthouse by 8 p.m. on Nov. 6. Your vote is your voice.

Beverly Sherrill

The Dalles

Vote for Jamie

Jamie McLeod-Skinner is a champion for working families. Congressman Greg Walden does not represent our values, and it’s time for him to retire. We need someone in congress who will protect and expand affordable healthcare for all, not lead the effort to dismantle healthcare access.

If you don’t know if you are registered to vote, go to sos.oregon.gov, verify your registration and make a plan to vote for Jamie this November. Let’s stand together for the change we need in Washington.

Linda Densmore

The Dalles

Keep VSO funding

I find it asinine that the closure of the Veterans Affairs office is even being considered. Veterans are what made this country great and now the county administrator wants to close the only help we get for our sacrifice. This is a slap in the face of every veteran living in Hood River County and should NEVER happen.

If the administration can’t balance its budget, cut funding for those who are overpaid and sit around making these ridiculous decisions that affect so many. Cut your only avenue locally for help and see how that sits with you.

Hood River County administration is out of touch with reality on this issue forcing veterans to travel to a different facility when they have given so much. Is the best decision to take away the only venue they have for support? It’s selfish to make a decision based on a dollar amounts due to uncontrolled spending in other county departments.

Will the next threat be to cut police and fire departments’ funding so people will cringe in fear and allow this closure?

I know from experience, being a caretaker of a disabled veteran, that the drive to The Dalles or Portland will be devastating to these fine men and women who served with so much pride.

Alan Bailey

Hood River

Plan for disaster

Reports out of the Carolinas show extreme flooding. Much of the area, particularly in North Carolina, is home to huge pits of toxic coal ash often sited near rivers. The Carolinas are also home to huge hog/pig farms that fill lagoons with pig feces and urine, these also are in the path of Florence and often sited in low lying areas along water ways.

The farmers are moving their pigs, but the lagoons, quite difficult to move, are left in place to flood and spread pig waste and toxic coal ash wherever the flood waters run off to.

This happens here also. Maybe no pig farms, but we do have feed lots. We do have super fund sites — Bradford Island at Bonneville Dam either did or still has one, and the Willamette River through Portland is one big one.

You can see how effective the clean-up in Portland has been — just cap it and look the other way. Do they exist in Hood River? What happens to the pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers applied to the fields in the upper valley and elsewhere? Where does the exhaust from the diesels running on the railroads, rivers and highways go?

It points out the lack of effective planning by our planning commissions both on the local and county level.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Vote matters

Your voice and vote count. There are ballot measures and candidates on the ballot in November that will impact the future of our families and friends. The November ballot measures include issues such as affordable housing, women’s right to choose, a marijuana tax, other tax questions and racial profiling. We will have a chance to vote for candidates for Hood River mayor, Hood River city council, our state representatives and our District 2 House representation in Washington, D.C. Now is the time to be sure your voter registration is up to date and accurate. If you have moved, you will need to change your address.

If you have turned 16, you can register to vote so when you turn 18, you will be mailed a ballot. Go to sos.oregon.gov, select the Voting and Elections tab and make sure you are ready. You will also see voter registration tables around the community on Voter Registration Day, Sept. 25.

Oct. 16 is the deadline for the election office to receive your voter registration information. Be a voter and encourage everyone in the county to register and vote.

Your vote matters!

Fran Finney

Hood River

Walden blowing smoke

Congressman Greg Walden posted a press release this summer on his website about creating a “hearing to examine air quality impacts of wildfire smoke,” and offering a list of his actions to reduce wildfire risk. The related legislation that he cites in his press release as a “great accomplishment” is really a massive giveaway to the timber industry by allowing clear cutting as a means of “fuel reduction.”

Given that one of his top four campaign contributors is the timber industry, are we surprised? Once again, Walden is catering to industry under the guise of helping his constituents. His “hearing” is simply a smoke screen to appear proactive while exploiting our forests.

Maybe this sounds familiar? His top two campaign contributors are the health care and pharmaceutical industries, so is it any surprise that he chaired the House Committee to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act? Is your health insurance any cheaper now? Does it even cover anything anymore? Once again, Walden is blowing smoke in our eyes in hopes that we won’t see him paying back his corporate campaign contributors at our expense.

Walden’s Democratic challenger, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, endorses selective thinning that reduces the potential for wildfires while preserving forests for ourselves and future generations. She understands the role of climate change in current wildfire catastrophes and supports regional forest cooperatives that provide crucial input on federal forest management.

Unlike Walden, she is not beholden to the timber industry or any corporation. I’m voting for Jamie McLeod-Skinner this fall, and so should anyone who hopes to have a representative of the people rather than a proponent of big money.

It’s time we had a government by the people and for the people. Not for the corporation.

Allan Rodrick

Hood River

Supports paid parking

Downtown parking meters are a necessary evil.

If it wasn’t for the meters — people who live and work downtown would park their cars in all the prime parking spots and leave their cars there for eight hours.

If you can’t manage your time and quarters or don’t believe in meters, park a few blocks away where parking is free and walk a few blocks. Good luck because all the close-in free parking is occupied by downtown residents and employees.

Until such time as we have driverless cars that can park themselves 10 blocks away while you go shopping — it’s either paid parking or no parking.

I choose to support paid parking.

Laird Davis

Hood River

Reitz for Senate

I had never heard of Chrissy Reitz until I met her at a “meet and greet” house party in Parkdale. She is running against incumbent Chuck Thomsen to become our representative for state senate. She certainly impressed the dickens out of me with her clear and reasonable goals, intelligent speech and youthful enthusiasm.

We need people like her in our state and national government.

Chrissy has been a member of the Hood River School Board for several years and is now chair. As a neonatal nurse, she cares deeply about health care. As a mother, she intends to work diligently for public education, with a declared purpose of improving our state’s public schools and bringing them back up to national standards. As a good citizen, she wants affordable housing for all.

What's not to like?

Chuck Thomsen has been in the state senate long enough. His campaign is largely funded by big business, whereas Chrissy is appealing to the grassroots and receiving personal donations.

Let’s not let corporate money decide our leadership in November. If you want positive and much-needed change, vote for Chrissy Reitz for Oregon State Senate.

Wendy Best

Parkdale

Enabling corruption

The brazen corruption of Trump and his administration is an embarrassment to our country and a serious injury to our democracy. That this is being enabled by Congressman Walden and his Republican colleagues is utterly incomprehensible.

Many Trump aides have left in disgrace. Several Cabinet members have resigned over allegations of corruption; others are being investigated for ethics transgressions. Manafort, Cohen, Flynn, Gates and Papadopoulos, all close Trump associates, are now convicted felons, and others like Collins and Hunter are linked to criminal wrongdoings, although not yet convicted.

Trump himself has been implicated in illegal business dealings and campaign financing, bribery, tax fraud, conspiring with a hostile foreign power, and obstruction of justice. He uses his position to punish adversaries and to advance personal business dealings, and actively discourages the system of checks and balances created by our constitution.

Mr. Walden and his Congressional allies have chosen to enable this corruption by their continuing to support Trump and his administration, and remaining silent as each successive chapter of illegal activity unfolds.

We in the U.S. clearly need wide-ranging anti-corruption legislation such as S.3357, introduced recently in the senate by Senator Elizabeth Warren. We in Oregon District 2 also need a new congressperson, one with integrity and backbone, one who will take both her oath of office and her duty to her constituents seriously. Jamie McLeod-Skinner has my vote for U.S. Congress in November.

Cindy Allen

Hood River

Forward payments

And on a positive note ...

When Sunday dawned with refreshing rain, my husband said it felt like a soup day and requested Chicken Velvet Soup. After a day playing with grandchildren and doing house projects, I realized I needed to jet to the grocery store.

It was jammed. The check-out lines went back to the aisles.

Even though I’d gone for just a few things, I had a cartful. How does that always happen? A woman joined the queue behind me with three items. I said, “You should go before me.” She said I’d be there forever but at my urging ultimately went ahead.

As the cashier began ringing up my order, the woman returned and placed a $20 bill on the counter. I protested. She said pointedly, “Thank you!” and left. Wow.

I’ve not been the beneficiary of a random act of kindness. The cashier expressed that some visitors to our town are awesome.

What a lovely surprise. I will pay this kindness forward. Her act did leave me smiling, shaking my head and feeling warm about my fellow human beings.

My Sunday is ending on a markedly positive note.

Deborah Jaques-Whiting

Hood River



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