Fearlessly brave

Historically and habitually, Wasco County only votes for one political faction, Republican. Regardless of this party’s local, regional, national, or international actions, a majority GOP vote has been unconditionally automatic. Our State House Representatives have always had a “shoe-in,” no matter how high the caliber of the opposition competitor. This election, our citizens have a choice.

The Democratic/Independent challenger to the incumbent Representative is Arlene Burns. Look her up at arleneburns.com. You will discover a fearlessly brave adventurer who has successfully explored the wildest places on earth, managed large complex organizations nationally and internationally, survived family tragedy and loss, and now is a successful local politician as the mayor of Mosier.

Arlene is an internationally acclaimed film and television director and producer whose life experiences more that qualify her to represent us all in House District 59. She understands how to protect people’s lives and interests, and has successfully survived and excelled at more than most people. Arlene has grabbed life by the horns and is well able to recognize and struggle to thwart the dangerous trends against life and liberty that currently engulf our society and politics.

Arlene Burns understands people’s problems and concerns. She has felt pain and struggled to overcome impossible difficulties. She knows how to make a plan, to organize to achieve goals, and to struggle to beat the odds. She focuses on others’ needs, and her achievements have always been service oriented. Arlene gets my vote, and I suggest you strongly consider giving her yours.

Stephen Jupe

The Dalles 

 

It's not how you feel

This election is not about Trump versus Biden. This year’s election is about capitalism versus socialism/Marxism. 

This election is not about Perkins versus Merkley. This year’s election is keeping the U.S. Constitution, We the People versus control of the American people. 

This election is not about pro-life versus abortion. This election is about life versus murder. 

Do not only base your vote on how you “feel” about the candidate, but what the candidate stands for. 

Darlien France

Dufur

 

Fact-check, please

I don’t understand why political ads on TV can promote lies about their opponent. For example, Jaime Herrera Beutler’s ads contain many statements that are untrue about her opponent and what she has supposedly said. I urge everyone to fact-check before making any decisions. Please vote early.

Deborah Olson

White Salmon

 

Memory, Barr none

Attorney General Bill Barr recently stated that virus lockdowns are the greatest intrusion on civil liberties since slavery. He’s either naive, ignorant or too young to remember the internment camps of World War II, where citizens of Japanese descent were confined against their will, or maybe it’s the First Nations people who had their lands stolen that Mr. Barr can’t seem to remember.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

 

NORCOR planning

On Aug. 20, NORCOR’s Board of Directors voted unanimously in support of ending the jail’s adult and juvenile contracts with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). It’s time to celebrate and appreciate the NORCOR Community Resources Coalition, Gorge ICE Resistance, and the peaceful protesters in our communities who have dedicated hard work and long hours over the past three-plus years organizing and advocating to make this victory a reality. These groups and individuals kept their “eye on the prize” to end immigrant detention in the state of Oregon.

Thanks, too, the NORCOR board who voted to end these contracts. What lies ahead for the NORCOR board and our counties is to develop and implement a realistic plan and budget for the future of NORCOR, recognizing that Oregon’s jail and prison system is overbuilt, the prison population is declining, costs are increasing, and there’s a pandemic going on. We need to rethink our juvenile and adult corrections system in ways that are humane, and in sync with the changing conditions of the 2020s. It’s time to stop contributing to expanding the prison-industrial complex in Oregon. 

Let’s put our heads and hearts together to free up tax-payer dollars for better investments in our local communities, and build economic development strategies that don’t rely on jails and prisons. 

Cindy Allen

Hood River

 

Respect for veterans

Coming from a military family, I have the utmost respect for all branches of the service. An article recently appeared in The Atlantic stating that Mr. Trump repeatedly has disparaged members of the service, calling them losers and suckers. The report was corroborated by several other reliable sources. We heard him belittle John McCain for being captured as a POW, beaten, and tortured for five years, so it is easy to imagine that he has indeed denigrated servicemen and women. Despite playing sports in high school, he received five deferments for service during Vietnam because of alleged bone spurs. (Mr. Trump has claimed that these bone spurs were temporary and they now do not affect his ability to golf.) Mr. Trump declares that he has done more than anyone for the military, but according to recent reporting in the Military Times, an independent bimonthly newspaper for military personnel, Mr. Trump has on several occasions falsely claimed credit for aid packages to veterans that were passed during the previous administration (www.militarytimes.com/opinion/commentary/2020/09/14/trumps-misleading-claims-on-military-readiness-and-veteran-care).

I appreciate how much our men and women who serve have contributed to the greatness of our country. None of us will ever hear Joe Biden wonder aloud about the fallen,“I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” I hope we will elect a president this November who honors our military servicemen and women and gives them the respect they deserve.

Florence Harty

White Salmon

 

Voting for Corry

I am a local small business owner and I will be voting for Rep. Chris Corry because he has supported so many small businesses in the district during this COVID-19 pandemic. Specially, Rep. Corry has worked hard to make sure we have accurate information to both access small business funding and to get our business back up and going again. Rep. Corry cares about us, our businesses, and our community. He has earned our vote.

Kyle Galloway

Yakima

 

Biden has a plan

Like many of you, I haven’t really been able to go outside in days. Many family members have been evacuated on Oregon’s west side and communities I grew up with have been decimated. On the East Coast, Sally is ravaging entire states. Persistent drought has already created “climate refugees” and the ski areas I grew up at are rarely open for entire seasons. Science does not dispute that climate change is real AND that we have a window of opportunity to reverse it. We have to get over the idea that climate change is something only environmentalists hippies support. This impacts all of us. 

Meanwhile, we have a president who claims that “science doesn’t know” what caused all of this and has systematically reversed policies that would help. Yes, there has been mismanagement of forests, but the fact remains that the weather has changed and so must we. We need a president who can lead us towards a future that is more stable, resilient and sustainable for future generations. Joe Biden has a plan that will help us restabilize our climate and ensure economic resilience as we work towards a clean energy, air and water future that serves us all. 

Anne Medenbach

Husum

 

Long for Congress

It’s time for a change. Our leaders have forsaken us. Their incompetence has cost lives, jobs, our health, rising homelessness and hunger. During this pandemic, Jaime Herrera Beutler has once again voted against expanding access to healthcare, against expanding the WIC nutrition program, against expanding the SNAP program, against rent protection for those who have lost their jobs. I am so tired of hearing Buetler declare how she is working for the citizens of S.W. Washington. Let’s be very clear. Jamie works for her party, not for us.

Carolyn Long will put our interests first. She has a comprehensive plan to tackle the results of this horrible pandemic which includes increase funding for public health, expanded unemployment benefits and relief funding for schools. She has excellent recommendations for jump starting our economy, while investing in rural hospitals. She supports protecting and expanding the Affordable Care Act and insists on free COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccine regardless of insurance coverage. 

Jaime Herrera Beutler has no plan. Despite voting to give a $500 billion slush fund to corporations and the ultra rich she criticizes anyone who suggests investing in the health and welfare of the people and small businesses of southwest Washington. We must demand better. Carolyn will serve our community first and foremost.

Sandra Montag

White Salmon

 

Re-elect Sizemore

As a neighboring county commissioner, I would like to offer my honest praise for Jim Sizemore as he runs for re-election. A man of his character is a rare commodity in these times of division and uncertainty. When we find ourselves in Olympia working on county issues that affect both Skamania and Klickitat County, Jim is a great partner to have. He has been tireless in working to secure policy that benefits both of our counties citizens and makes certain that our part of the state is not forgotten. Jim understands the value of working across party lines, county lines and regional boundaries. I’ve seen Jim walk the halls of the capitol and secure for our region the type of visionary programs that will benefit our future generations. Knowing and working with Jim has made me a better and more balanced county commissioner for Skamania County. I hope that the citizens of Klickitat County recognize the asset they have in Jim Sizemore.

Bob Hamlin

Skamania County Commissioner, District 3

 

Voting for Long

Jaime Herrera Butler is running an ad on TV where several people thank her for preserving their jobs and their healthcare which is tied to their jobs. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a $3 trillion relief package called the CARES Act on March 4, 2020, by a vote of 415-2. That bill preserved jobs, healthcare and so much more. 

Personally, I find it incredibly hypocritical of her to say she has done anything to provide healthcare for anyone. She has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) more than 40 times (she has said 80 times but who is counting?).  Remember the slogan “Repeal and Replace”? She and her Republican colleagues have had about 10 years to put forth the “REPLACE”!                          

Nada. Nothing. Zero. Zzzzzip!

Prior to COVID, Carolyn Long has come to our county numerous times and I like the fact that she meets the public in person. She has good ideas and proposals to move our communities forward which I have heard from her and read on her website, www.electlong.com. I am voting for Carolyn Long for Congress.

Bob Weisfield

White Salmon

 

Beutler has failed

We have resided in Longview for the past 49 years, where we have successfully raised our four children to adulthood. Throughout that time, we have voted in each local and national election. This year’s national election will be the most important one of them all.

We need representation that will show up for Southwest Washington, listen to our community, and fight for us. Jaime Herrera Beutler has failed our community by repeatedly voting against access to affordable healthcare and instead favoring her corporate donors. Carolyn Long is an accessible, pragmatic leader who will stand up for our access to affordable healthcare, improved broadband access, and family-wage jobs.

We ask you to join us in supporting Carolyn Long for Congress because she will fight hard for every single one of us.

Barry and Leslie Dahl

Longview

 

Sports’ power

“Sports has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does, It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.”

Nelson Mandela, the South African freedom fighter-turned-statesman, spoke these words in an effort to heal the country he came to lead after spending a quarter of a century incarcerated for opposing apartheid. He really had it right. But that kind of positive thinking has been torn apart by the pros in 2020.

Bill Davis

Hood River

 

Orange fire glow

I think that I’ve written at least a dozen different versions of this letter, with varying degrees of vitriol, but there simply isn’t a good way to say this:

According to Bob Woodward, the man who helped to take down the second most corrupt president in this country’s history, has revealed through interview recordings that the Bunker Inspector, the Great Violator, Agent Orange, knew as early as January that there was a novel coronavirus headed our way; he had the information, he had the experts advising him, and he choked. He alleges that he didn’t want to cause a panic, as if that somehow justifies what amounts to bald-faced lies about the severity of what we were facing. Had he listened to the experts and followed the guidelines that had been developed over several administrations, we would be enjoying our lives as we had before, blissfully unaware of what we had avoided. 

Thanks to Donald’s arrogance, his hubris, his ignorance, and his deceit, almost 200,000 people are dead and many more are struggling to breath. And we aren’t even talking about the toll of climate change or police officers fashioning themselves after the Marvel anti-hero “The Punisher.”

A more extreme version of me might suggest that Donald should be arrested, so that he can’t do any more damage, and held until a committee can be formed to get to the bottom of his corruption and decide what would be a fitting punishment.

I understand that many Christians support Donald, and though I am not a believer myself, I am a big fan of Jesus and his philosophy, especially his disdain for opulence, his turning the other cheek, and his rejection of authority figures who claim to speak for God. Those of you who call yourselves Christians, and continue to support Trump, know that when you are standing before the pearly gates, being judged by Saint Peter, not a one of you is getting in. Enjoy hell with your president. I hear that his hair dye makes the lake of fire glow the most amazing shade of orange.

Benjamin Sheppard

Hood River

Benjamin Sheppard is employed as a social worker.

 

Government the problem

It was Ronald Reagan who said that government was the problem. 

In the intervening years, we’ve gone down the road of less government, with both kinds of administrations, to a time of less government, not more. (That is, if you don’t count foreign wars and such).

As I sneeze and cough in the wildfire smoke and try to formulate some thoughts, I wonder if less really is more.

Some folks (mostly white) have more and some folks (mostly not) have gotten considerably less.

Where we used to build Citizens Conservation Corps monuments at Timberline Lodge, Anthony Lakes and Clackamas, we now fight wildfires.

Where we used to encourage higher education for young people, we now have predatory loans to students who never see the end of their payments.

Where we used to build housing and transportation, we now build walls.

Where we used to build community, we now have homelessness, violence and poverty.

Where we used to have a commitment to public health, we now have COVID.

Where we used to have affordable medical care, we now have bankruptcies.

Where we used to have the regulation of banks, we now have unbridled speculation.

Where we used to have pensions for retirement, we now have “yer on your own.”

Where we once had programs to alleviate discrimination, we now have white supremacy militias.

On Nov. 3, given that you even have the means to vote, you have to decide.

Is government really the problem? Or do we allow rampant corruption, lawlessness and greed to define America?

You choose.

Mark Reynolds

Odell

 

Health disparities

I remember my disbelief in medical school when we learned that black and indigenous mothers die in childbirth at two to four times the rate of white mothers. That their infants are also twice as likely to die. Given that mother and infant mortality are two of the core measures of a health system, part of my disbelief was the sheer number of lives lost. But a bigger part was that I’d never heard anybody talk about it. If white women in the U.S. were dying at two to four times the rate of other countries or ethnic groups, there would be justified outrage. There would be task forces. There would be both fundraising and dedicated federal research dollars.

The CDC defines the term “health inequity” as a “difference or disparity in outcomes that is systematic, avoidable, and unjust.” Perhaps it should not be shocking that COVID-19 rates of illness and death are also at least three to four times higher among Black, Latino and indigenous communities. Coronavirus has no bias of its own, but it shines a harsh light on our inequalities.

What would our pandemic response have been if well-off families were as affected as the working class? Would protective equipment have been a higher priority if essential workers looked more like our legislature? When it comes to patients or constituents, I believe that every life is valuable. As neighbors, I think that is something we all agree on. It is time for our legislature to ensure that our actions and our policies live up to our words. From my experience working with families on the frontlines of this crisis, I know what this response needs to look like and am ready to bring the same care and commitment to the legislature this fall. 

Tracy Rushing, MD

White Salmon

Rushing is a candidate for the Washington House Dist. 14 seat.

 

Stop smoke and mirrors

The 2014 National Climate Assessment predicted northwest wildfires up to six times larger by 2040, but we’re well ahead of that trajectory. Wildfires are natural phenomena in healthy ecosystems, but fire suppression and climate change have dramatically increased their size and intensity. 

The Republican propaganda: Climate change is a hoax, or climate change is not caused by humans. Ridiculous today, with the west coast on fire and a record hurricane season. 

In 2018 under oath, five major U.S. oil companies immediately agreed with climate scientists and deflected climate change blame to their customers! In 2019, under oath, scientists who worked at Exxon 40 years ago confirmed that they had exactly predicted today’s climate pollution; Exxon chose to hide that data and instead deny the dangers of their products. 

The Republican propaganda: No affordable alternatives for powering our economy. 

But today, the cheapest electricity generation is wind or solar. Coal is rapidly dying due to costs, and gas will also. In 2019, a mid-market electric car was cheaper to own than a comparable gasoline car. Before 2025, that will be true of electric pickups. (If you’re buying a new vehicle, either buy electric, buy used, or wait for the electric model you want.)

The opaque and aggressive Koch Network of billionaires from oil and other businesses spends hundreds of millions to elect Republicans. Thus the puppetry is crystal-clear when Republicans unite on atrocious environmental policies. 

You’ve heard of “giant, job-killing taxes.” But consider the giant, job-killing sums that Oregon sends out of the state to buy vehicle fuels — about $5 billion annually, or $1,200 per person. We can halve that cost by steering new purchases to electric vehicles. 

Democrats want to cut climate and toxic emissions, but have generally offered ineffective policy alternatives. Instead of carbon fees making energy more expensive, legislators should accelerate energy savings by mandating or financing clean vehicles, buildings, and electricity.

The action of Oregon Republicans in 2020? They cluelessly walked out, killing most of the work of the whole 2020 session.

Your vote can clear the air!

Eric Strid

White Salmon

 

No panic

A good thing about the Trump COVID flap is that we’ve learned why Xi Jinping was slow to announce the growth of the virus in Wuhan: He didn’t want to cause a panic.

Frank Lauran

Hood River

 

Please don’t steal

To the people who so cowardly stole our Biden/Harris sign in the dark of night:

Why don’t you come knock on my door? We can have an adult political discussion and maybe even agree on some things. Stealing signs, stealing elections ...

Not the American way. In other words ... grow up.

John Hlavac

Hood River

 

Debate needs coach

The Hood River Valley High School Speech and Debate team is seeking applicants for this year’s coaching position. Previous experience in speech is preferred, but not required. Please email me at jacob.kaplan@embarqmail.com if you have any questions. The application for the position is posted on the Hood River County School District Website under employment; job vacancies; coaching vacancies. Help us make this year a great one!

Jacob Kaplan

HRV Speech Team co-captain

 

Choose Medicare

I am hoping to clarify for people some of the differences between Medicare and Medicare Advantage (MA). Medicare is a federal program and Medicare Advantage plans are owned by corporations. To start, corporations are out to make a profit and the federal government is there to serve the people, not share holders.

Medicare Advantage plans are HMOs or PPOs and you have to go to the doctors in their plans. A Medicare Advantage nurse can review your case and decide that the care is not medically necessary and stop payment which has occurred once the MA corporation has paid out what they consider their limit.

People who become seriously ill may find that medical costs can skyrocket under MA due to co-payments and out-of-pocket expenses. MA plans also often have a maximum yearly or lifetime pay out so you could end up with a huge bill due to a serious illness. Some MA plans are unstable and have suddenly cease coverage.

TV ads entice people with their “free hearing aides” and other extras but they are corporations interested in their profits, not your peace of mind if it effects their bottom line.

Almost one-third of new medicare eligible people have now chosen MA. This serves no one other than the corporations. Support of the federal plan helps sure it up for you and others in the future.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Susan Lannak

Hood River

 

Did you know?

According to The Center for American Women and Politics, in 2020, 127 (105 Democrats, 22 Republicans) women hold seats in the United States Congress, comprising 23.7 percent of the 535 members. 

Did you know that there has not been a female represented on the Klickitat County Board of Commissioners since 2006? How about the fact that a Democrat has not represented the board since 1996! I have not been able to find evidence of those representing Latinx or indigenous peoples on our board of commissioners or its committees. In a time of frustrating division among citizens in our country it is time for Klickitat County to step up and recognize that we represent a community of many and not a community of one. 

Joanna Turner, running for County Commissioner District 1, recognizes this adversity. Joanna understands that not all of our citizens needs are either being heard or represented. A group or community can only evolve when all its constituents are equitably heard and supported. For too long, Klickitat County has operated with an agenda that benefits only a small portion of its citizens and has no diverse representation on its board. I feel that Joanna Turner has taken the time to listen to our diverse citizens’ concerns, make sure they are heard and build community. Her experience as a self-employed entrepreneur, and advocate and a community council member make her uniquely qualified to understand and support our community.

Joanna has listened to the concerns about Broadband and the frustration the lack of it has caused, especially during this pandemic. She has listened to the concerns regarding the lack of affordable housing, she has listened to those advocating for at risk youth and their need for more programming. She has listened to the concerns of citizens whose environment is at stake with the Under Canvas proposal. I urge you to think about what building a community means and support Joanna Turner for Klickitat County Commissioner District 1.

Jennifer Harty

White Salmon

 

Beutler ‘lockstep’

I am grateful that I have been able to stay safely inside and out of the smoke that has blanketed the area. I have not lost my job due to COVID-19, and I do not have to worry about being evicted because I can’t pay rent. Many people in Southwest Washington are not so fortunate. While millions of Americans are still struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table, Congress is at a stalemate in terms of passing a second round of COVID-19 emergency funding. The House approved a COVID-19 aid package in May. Congresswoman Herrera Beutler voted against it. The Senate has failed to either consider the House bill or pass one of its own. Representative Herrera Beutler has been in Congress for 10 years. Most of that time, she has voted in lockstep with Republican Party leadership. Surely that loyalty has earned her some influence. The Congresswoman could use that earned power to urge fellow Republicans in the House and Senate to swiftly pass bi-partisan COVID-19 funding that would help keep her constituents housed and fed. The question to her is: Will she?

Tonnie Cummings

Vancouver

 

Equal protection asked

The First Amendment guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” We are witnessing this throughout our country, even in defiance of COVID-19 safety protocol. 

Many officials are allowing these people to assemble despite unsafe conditions and imposes restrictions on the rest of us. The Klickitat County Republican Party has used a series of outreaches to ensure that people can be an informed voter. The challenge in our county is that many residents do not have access to stream videos of a candidate forum. In effort to reach out, we are planning two assembling forums following safety protocol, providing a dialogue with elected officials/candidates. 

Letters were sent to state and local officials urging them to not participate in any assembly forums with KCRP, citing non-compliance of safety protocol. Under the 14th Amendment, we are guaranteed “equal protection of the laws.” Why are we are witnessing the allowance of protesters and rioters to assemble? The enforcement of these rights have to be equal or we have a government that is tyrannical, “arbitrary use of power or control” and letters sent to officials urging them to not engage with citizens is intimidation.

Susan Kelsey

Goldendale

 

Long will lead

Once the pandemic passes, we will need to refocus on the long-term issues that confront our country. In my opinion, the largest of these are climate change, access to healthcare, the widening wealth gap, and social justice. Throughout her time in Congress, Jaime Herrera Beutler has not been a leader in addressing any of these vital issues. Instead, she has consistently supported President Trump, who has tried to undo any progress that has been made in the past. For new leadership, please vote for Carolyn Long for Congress and Joe Biden for president.

Michael Woods

Longview

 

Rushing for Ag

Agriculture is the bedrock of the economy in much of the 14th Legislative District. Our prosperity rides on the backs of the men and women who work in our fields, orchards and packing houses. Neglecting the health and well-being of these workers is problematic both ethically and fiscally.

Yet that is precisely what occurred this spring and summer, when Yakima’s agricultural workers bore the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 23 packing-houses experienced outbreaks, as the community became a national hotspot of cases and deaths. The severity of the outbreak was intensified by the lack of adequate protection and safe working conditions at several local packing houses. Strikes and lawsuits eventually resulted in improved safety measures, such as providing PPE to all workers, but one has to ask why such simple protections weren’t in place from the very beginning.

Too often, vulnerable populations who do our most essential work are left unprotected and unrepresented by those elected to serve them. Too often their safety and well-being is seen as less important than corporate profits and political grandstanding.

If Tracy Rushing is elected as legislative representative of the 14th District, this practice will change. As a local doctor who has seen and understands the lives of our essential workers, she pledges on her website to provide “adequate workplace protections, living wages and humane immigration policies” for those men, women and families who drive the agricultural economy of our region. A vote for Rushing is a vote for much-needed change. 

Leigh Hancock

White Salmon

 

Veterans and Trump

This month, an article by the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic reported a series of blatant uncaring and disloyal comments that President Trump made towards all members of the U.S. armed services. After the article appeared, reporters for other publications, including the national security correspondent for Fox News, Jennifer Griffin, confirmed many of Trump’s criticisms.

As a Wasco County disabled combat veteran and a counselor of veteran counselor for the last 30 years, Trump’s comments make me furious. His comments are disgusting, disgraceful, and disrespectful. We veterans serve under the Commander in Chief, the president of the United States. A true and honorable Commander in Chief never belittles and demeans veterans. Trump has scorned us veterans for our service, sacrifice, and patriotism.

In 2015, for example, he mocked Republican Senator John McCain by saying “He’s not a war hero. I like people that weren’t captured.” Later that year, he called McCain “a loser.”

During a presidential visit to Arlington National Cemetery and standing next to retired Marine Gen. John Kelly at the grave of Kelly’s son, who was killed in Afghanistan, Trump reportedly said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” 

In 2018, Trump canceled a visit to the American military cemetery in France, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of Word War I. Trump allegedly asked senior staff members, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.”

In 2018, Trump called for a military parade but insisted on excluding wounded veterans because “nobody wants to see amputees.” This is a shocking, coming from a person who avoided serving in the American Vietnam War, first with four student deferments, then a doctor’s letter stating he had “bone spurs.”

Trump’s comments dishonor the United States military. We need a Commander in Chief who with a proud and full heart honors all the United States veterans and who maintains our morale and unity. 

Trump is incapable of serving in this capacity.

I do not recognize Trump as my Commander in Chief. He’s the loser.

Michael Stevens

Mosier

 

Support Rushing

When activists responded once again to police violence this past summer, some may have assumed that a place like Yakima was immune to such violence. After all, most of the cities in which Black people died at the hands of police officers — Minneapolis, Baltimore, Dallas, Fort Worth, Louisville, Los Angeles, Atlanta, etc. — have populations of 500,000 or more. That assumption shifted when Kenosha, Wisc. — a town of 100,000 with an agricultural past, like Yakima’s — became another point on the map of police violence. Yakima and Kenosha have quite a few demographic similarities, which magnifies the shared impact of police violence, regardless of municipality size. I’m proud to see that candidates like Tracy Rushing are running for state representative election because, as a community health provider, she realizes that police violence impacts our community’s perception of care professionals. I’m hopeful that others will join me in supporting candidates like Tracy who support balancing local dollars spent on restorative services (like substance use treatment diversion, embedded designated crisis responders, supported employment, and housing) with local dollars spent to fund law enforcement.

Wyatt Kanyer

Yakima

 

Fire Trump

Sunday, I received an email from an acquaintance whose family was evacuated from their farm in Clackamas County:

“Our farm has been on mandatory evacuation since Tuesday, Sept. 8 ... Shortly after midnight on Tuesday, we saw an orange glow outside. What we saw made our hearts race. A wide swath of woods were afire and huge flames were shooting up the trees. We called 911 and rushed to the neighbors’ houses, then waited for a long half-hour for Clackamas Fire and Rescue to arrive. 

“Later that day, we saw smoke from a fire on Eagle Creek and watched that plume grow most of the morning ... The Dowty and the Riverside Fires were heading our way. We were notified that afternoon to ‘evacuate now.’ 

“We said goodbye to the houses we had spent years building ... Each day since, we have returned for a short visit and tried to assess where the fires were, how much we should worry…. We still wait, hoping for the best ... The limited resources of our county are stretched as thin as possible and the focus is on saving lives, not answering individual citizens’ questions. It has been immeasurably worse for many others.”

Reading the email made me think: What do people facing the loss their homes to fire need —  besides brave firefighters and accurate information?

When fires have turned into a full-blown disaster, people need more. When a state’s resources have been stretched to their limits, it’s time for the federal government to step in with assistance.

Fires, hurricanes, and pandemic viruses do not discriminate based on peoples’ or states’ party affiliations. The current President of the United States, however, does discriminate. In a recent 24 hours, he tweeted only once about the increasingly catastrophic wildfires in California and Oregon, but he used Twitter nearly a dozen times to mention law and order and attack Democrats and racial injustice protesters. 

The recent fires have displaced over 500,000 people, but it was not until Thursday that Trump finally approved Gov. Kate Brown’s request for an emergency declaration. Yet earlier this summer, without any request from state officials, he dispatched federal troops to protect a single federal building in Portland. 

Our state and our country need a leader who cares about all of us and responds quickly and with compassion when there are disasters. Donald Trump is not that leader. We must vote him out of office.

Will White

Mosier

 

Retain Chris Corry

I am writing in support of retaining Chris Corry as the representative for Washington’s 14th district.

During his last term, he worked hard to get 911 communications centers in Washington State recognition they deserve, getting these professionals added to legislation that covers police and fire personnel who suffer from PTSD as a worker’s injury. He worked with me to understand our industry and advocate for 911 telecommunicators and to help protect their mental wellness. This was a huge endeavor, helping to bring awareness statewide to the critical job 911 call takers and dispatchers perform day in and day out. I see a great value in those who follow through on their promises, and even higher regard for those who go above and beyond to meet the needs of their friends, family, and community members. He is truly someone that has a great passion and care for the health of our communities, economy, and our way of life.

Please join me in supporting Chris Corry for another term as 14th District representative!

Brynn Sides

Yakima

 

Fires and climate change

Catastrophic wildfires are reducing our beautiful state to ashes, and most are nowhere near containment. Almost a million acres have burned, 10 people have died, many are missing, 500,000 have evacuated, hundreds of homes and businesses have burned down, and several entire towns have been lost (so far). This is climate change writ large. Yes, we commonly have fires in the summer. But now our fires are more numerous and more intense than in the past, and are occurring in places where fires have not commonly occurred. We’ve had months of high temperatures and precious little moisture, so the landscape is a tinderbox. These changes are related to climate change, by the assessments of experts and by common sense.

It’s wake-up time. Climate change is no longer abstract or in the future. It is real —  these devastating wildfires are all too real —  and it is right now. The 10 dead Oregonians are climate fatalities. The 500,000 Oregonians fleeing the fires are climate refugees. The incinerated homes and businesses and property are climate losses. Science experts have been ringing the alarm bell for 20 years, and the U.S., long the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (now second, after China), has been slow to respond. The current administration flatly denies the problem and has moved us farther and farther away from the needed policy changes. Some progress is occurring at the level of individual states, fortunately, but a “some states” approach can’t replace coordinated, high-priority federal leadership and action.

We as voters absolutely must choose action. The choice is between two polar extremes in this presidential election, on every imaginable scale. We have got to jump on climate change like the right-here-right-now catastrophe that it is. Make your plan. Register to vote. Vote. Get rid of Trump and every politician standing in the way of fixing the climate. We must act now.

Bonnie New

Hood River

 

Vote Climate 

To address the growing challenge of Global Warming, we need representatives in Salem who understand the issue and are ready to take action. Mosier Mayor Arlene Burns, running for Oregon House Dist. 59, is a proven leader on climate and governance. 

Arlene is a member of Climate Mayors, a bipartisan network of U.S. mayors working to advance action on climate. She is an excellent communicator and trained presenter with the Climate Reality Project, led by Al Gore. Arlene is also a member of the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance, a coalition of leaders from across the Northwest working together to raise awareness for the safety risks of oil and coal transportation.

Following the 2016 Union Pacific oil train fire and spill in Mosier, Arlene helped pull the town back together and led the successful negotiations with Union Pacific to cover damages. To prevent future derailments and improve railroad safety, Arlene wrote editorials and took many trips to Salem to testify before the Oregon legislature in support of new oil train safety legislation. When Arlene speaks publicly, she does so with eloquence and wisdom, her words carry weight and people listen. After several attempts the oil train safety legislation was finally passed last year. 

Arlene’s other credentials for the job include stints as an international expedition kayaker, guide and trip leader, film director and producer, film festival director, outdoor industry consultant and photojournalist. She has experience in the for-profit, non-profit and government sectors. 

Leadership on climate is urgently needed, Oregon and the West Coast need to set an example for the rest of the country. Electing Arlene Burns to the Oregon House will help make that happen. Please vote Arlene Burns for HD 59! 

Peter Cornelison

Hood River

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