Letters to the Editor for Sept. 22

Mother Nature not happy

Mother Nature is not happy with Oregon. We’re getting stifling heat, drought, smoky haze from Canada and California wildfires, and our rivers are warming up from climate change.

We’re fortunate that Jamie McLeod-Skinner is running to be our U.S. representative in Congress. She keeps up with science and technology in ways that will help us strengthen our area’s independence and traditions. She knows it’s essential to respond effectively to climate change with American technological and economic innovations. That means good jobs for now and for our children as we prepare for a changing planet. She has practical, common-sense proposals to benefit Oregon and our country.

Unfortunately, our current U.S. Representative in Congress is too busy pushing his own pet projects to pay attention to science and reality.

Even when our part of the state could benefit from smart legislation, he’s more concerned about pleasing his corporate donors from around the country.

We need someone who will truly represent ordinary Oregonians in Congress. Please vote for Jamie McLeod-Skinner for U.S. Congressional District 2 on Nov. 6.

Nikki Paulson

Hood River

Questions raised

In a recent letter to the editor, Kenneth Ebi suggests that Jamie McLeod-Skinner cannot represent the people of Oregon’s Congressional Dist. 2 because she only registered to vote in the district in 2017 (Our Readers Write, Sept. 8).

I agree with what I assume are Mr. Ebi’s assumptions: That someone who seeks to represent the district should really know the district in all its economic and cultural variety and, most importantly, the values and concerns of the people who live here. Jamie McLeod-Skinner more than meets that test.

Jamie graduated from high school in Dist. 2, in Ashland. (Her track record there in the 800 meter still stands.) Like many people in Dist. 2, she spent time away for both her education and for career-building jobs. Mr. Ebi cites Jamie’s time in Eugene (2013-2016) to imply she is not of this district. In fact, at that time she was attending law school at the University of Oregon (as Greg Walden once did), and records there show her permanent address was listed as Terrebone, where she and her family have continued to live since graduation.

Her earlier public service career included senior jobs in planning and city government. Specializing in such work — indeed, almost any specialized work — entails having to move where the job openings are.

Out-of-region stints are the norm rather than the exception for many vocations.

Over the last 14 months, Jamie McLeod-Skinner has logged over 35,000 miles in her Jeep, crisscrossing District 2, meeting with Republicans, Democrats, local leaders and the rest of us, listening to what we like and dislike about federal programs, what we need from our federal government and what we don’t. That’s probably more time in the district than Mr. Walden has spent in the 20 years since he moved to Washington, D.C. Indeed, the real question Mr. Ebi’s letter raises is whether Greg Walden has lived so long in Washington and the rarified atmosphere of GOP fundraising that he is no longer capable of representing the people of this district.

Vawter (Buck) Parker

Odell

Follow the money

Who will our next elected state representative for HD 52 respond to? Let’s follow the money.

Sharp contrasts divide Anna Williams and Jeff Helfrich’s campaign contributions, according to Oregon state financial records. Helfrich has raised $240,000 to Williams’ $104,300 in cash contributions through Sept. 15.

Where does their money come from?

Private donations make up less than 2 percent of Helfrich’s cash compared to over 45 percent of Williams’ campaign cash. Individual donors have given Helfrich $4,630 while Williams received $47,078.

Business and Political Action Committee money makes up over 98 percent of Helfrich’s cash, of which $25,400 comes from out of state, while business and PACs makes up less than 54 percent of Williams’ cash, of which $732 comes from out of state.

Forty-three PACs have contributed to Helfrich, led by $56,000 from Oregon Business and Industry PAC and $30,000 from a GOP PAC. Helfrich’s biggest corporate sponsor is Anheuser-Busch with $10,000.

Sixteen PACs have contributed to Williams, led by $10,000 each from Oregon Climate PAC and AFT-Oregon. Williams’ biggest corporate sponsor with $732 is The Sandbar Cafe, a food cart on the Hood River waterfront with an owner in Underwood, Wash.

Both candidates say they stand for improving health care, education and the environment. But when they must choose between wealthy corporate interests and the best interest of the public, between funding cuts and corporate tax changes, which citizen groups or lobbyists do you think our next HD 52 representative will listen to?

A campaign finance review of Oregon Secretary of State’s website (sos.oregon.gov) makes the answer quite clear. Jeff Helfrich will represent national and local corporate business interests or he risks compromising his financial support. Anna Williams will represent our best interests for our health, our children and our environment.

With ongoing state funding problems, we need real solutions. Helfrich will block any real discussion including corporate taxation as part of those solutions.

It’s up to you, please VOTE for Anna Williams to represent us.

Steve Smithsted

Sandy

‘Crumble’

Rape is an essential form of patriarchy maintenance. If we become rape intolerant, our patriarchy will crumble. Who could possibly want that?

David Warnock

Hood River

Weary of Walden

As an Oregon Second District voter who has supported Greg Walden, I ponder the following about our Representative seven weeks before the 2018 election.

First, recent polling cites two key reasons national voters from across the political spectrum appear ready to reject the current majority in Congress come November: The 2017 tax bill, which permanently robs trillions from the middle class and gives it to the 1 percent, and the cold-hearted, failed healthcare “reform” legislation which would have eliminated coverage for nearly one quarter of Greg’s constituents. Greg is proud of his support for both laws.

Our Representative Walden is on the wrong side of the two legislative issues which voters nationally have complained most about, in numbers which even Republican leaders are now saying will add up to a humiliating “blue wave,” at least in the House and, increasingly possible, if not likely, in the Senate.

Greg has done little, if anything, locally in response other than stay out of sight and spend lots of money from distant donors on billboards, radio ads and social media plugging his name and bland, worrying promises of “more of the same.”

Second, if there is a “blue wave” putting Democrats in control of one or both houses of Congress, what can we expect from another Walden term?

Based on his recent record of complete party loyalty, Walden’s role will be to oppose everything reflexively, without regard to how his position represents his constituents.

This tells me that voting for Greg Walden is a losing proposition, even for rock-solid Republicans.

In contrast, voting in his opponent, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, means Oregon’s Second District will benefit from representation which brings our vital concerns to the forefront.

Jamie’s outlook is clearly broader than Greg’s. She is committed to improving the lives of all rural Americans, in part by finding and working toward common-sense agreement with like- minded Republicans.

When push comes to shove, Jamie will represent the interests of the Second District, not party ideology.

It pains me that a good man now reliably sides with unpopular, harmful ideology.

It’s time for a change. Jamie has my vote.

Jim Appleton

Mosier

Protect coverage

Republicans are trying once again to take away our healthcare insurance.

Last year, our own Rep. Greg Walden was the chief architect of a plan to kill the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and gut Medicaid and the Oregon Health Plan. Twenty percent of adults in Walden’s district — Southern, Central and Eastern Oregon — rely on Medicaid for healthcare coverage.

I am no fan of the Republicans’ repeated assaults on the ACA. If not for the ACA, millions would be unable to afford health insurance, let alone have coverage at all.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner, Walden’s opponent, has said that everyone deserves a full range of healthcare choices, and that care must be universally accessible and universally affordable.

When Walden’s plan to exterminate the ACA failed, his party turned to their massive tax cuts for corporations and for the 1 percent. Despite every independent analysis saying this giveaway would cause future deficits, Walden voted “yes.” Now comes the Republican budget proposal, and party leaders say America will face future deficits if we don’t cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These deficits didn’t materialize overnight — Walden and other Republican leaders knew all along the deficits they created would give them the excuse to cut coverage for working families. Well, Oregonians like you and me are tired of making sacrifices for big corporations that won’t pay their share.

President Trump has pledged over and over that there will be no cuts to Medicare or Social Security — will Rep. Walden agree to take that pledge? Voters in Oregon’s Second District should protect and improve their healthcare coverage by supporting Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

Daniel Fritz

Mosier

Cowardly Walden

On July 29, Congressman Greg Walden agreed to a series of debates with his Democratic challenger, Jamie McLeod-Skinner. Unfortunately, Walden will not commit to scheduling the debates. Walden has been in our area to attend private fundraisers, but he refuses to provide his constituents with the opportunity to see him debate his challenger.

Why is that? Is he a coward, or does he simply view his constituents with contempt?

We pay Walden’s salary. We subsidize 72 percent of his and his family’s health insurance. Why should we have to pay to attend a private fundraiser in order to have any form of contact with our U.S. House Representative?

If Greg Walden does not have the courage to debate his challenger or if he believes that the people in his district do not merit the opportunity to hear him debate, then Walden simply does not deserve our votes.

Jessica Berty

Hood River

What cost?

Since at least the time of Watergate, we’ve seen our democratic norms gradually eaten away by a “win at any cost” mentality that leaves us with an electorate, Congress and now Judiciary driven by tribal partisanship rather that common sense or the common good.

Republicans have often been first to undermine our political norms, but Democrats have too often been willing to follow suit. We are left with a Congress unable to reach bipartisan solutions favored by most Americans to the nation’s pressing problems — immigration, health care, deficits, drug addiction, gun safety, etc.

We now are faced with a Senate pushing through a Supreme Court nominee with a credible accusation of sexual assault. Being rushed through at all costs and without an adequate independent investigation.

Does it really make sense for Senate Republicans to abuse their powers to push through another tainted appointee who confirms the belief that the Court is no longer a fair and impartial arbiter of justice? Failing to pause now threatens to further undermine the legitimacy of the Court, Senate and president.

We need to do better!

Richard Davis

The Dalles

Failed platform

There is no environmental protection in the Oregon Republican 2017-2018 platform. Check it out. None. The Republicans simply remove all regulations and protections. Also, the Oregon Republican platform transfers Federal lands, i.e. United States Forest Service (USFUS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to the State of Oregon. This is a euphemism for privatization. Check the Republican platform out!

If you care one iota for clean air, water, standing forests and animals that call these places home, as well as public access, recreation and our local economies, vote Democrat. Vote for Chrissy Reitz and Anna Williams. Jeff Helfrich and Chuck Thomsen will vote the party line, which means no environmental protections. Washington, D.C., Republicans and Trump are the Oregon Republicans’ operational blueprint.

Bad for Oregon.

Mitch Williams

Brightwood



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