Pamplin Media Group – Letters to the Editor: Oct. 29, 2020 – Pamplin Media Group

27October 2020

Our weekly mailbag is going up a little early with the last day of voting just a week away.

Neron has risen to challenges of our time

COVID-19 is a challenge no one expected, least of all myself during my senior year of high school. We talked about it in class, brushed it off, and continued our studies. Then the statewide lockdown occurred, and I found myself entering my first year of college during a pandemic.

I have seen the consequences of COVID-19 take a toll on my education in both settings. My anxiety has increased as the loss of classroom time has left me without an intellectual outlet. Remote learning just isn’t the same, and that is true for both students of K-12 and secondary education.

Students entering higher education are facing unique and difficult challenges, creating needs and issues that require strong action by our legislators. Rep. Courtney Neron has proven time again that she is the legislator for the job. As an educator and a parent, she understands what today’s students face and she supported the investments in K-12 from the Student Success Act in her very first term.

In a time of wide-ranging challenges, we all need Courtney’s values and leadership now more than ever.

Madison McDonald, Wilsonville

We should be able to express our political views with signs

In the past two weeks, four political signs of mine have been stolen or destroyed. I put one up, and in the night, someone steals or destroys it.

I am new to the neighborhood and I guess I don’t know or understand the rules. I believe the First Amendment gives me the right and privilege to say or post my preference for a particular candidate. I have reported the theft to the Sheriff’s Office.

I lived 65 years in Portland and never had any problem. What is it about the people in rural Oregon and freedom of speech?

Kenneth J. Kolb Sr., Sherwood

Pacific University student cheers mural plans

Recently, I was reading the Forest Grove News-Times and stumbled across the article titled, “Forest Grove OKs plans for social justice mural.”

Seeing the news from this article made my day. I feel that this project is definitely positive news for the community. I love the idea of having it located at Forest Glen Park, as I frequently walk by there during morning walks.

Read our Oct. 13, 2020, story on the social justice mural planned for Forest Glen Park.

I also love the idea that this mural is more than a piece of art. As the article mentioned, it is a statement to show the city’s commitment to being a friendly and welcoming community to all.

Quentin Gonzalez, Orange, California

Elections, like the one in House District 32, are job interviews

You have two candidates for a key position in your company. In her interview, Candidate One tells you what she’d do to address the important issues affecting the lives of your customers, your employees, and the conditions in your community that affect how your company can succeed or even exist. You’re impressed.

Candidate Two waves those issues asides. She startles you with boogiemen threats. “Outside forces are coming. They’re going to violently attack,” she says.


Candidate Two says these “outside forces” gave Opponent One money to buy a new dress to look good in her interview. She, however, doesn’t tell you that she has a whole closet full of clothing paid for by your competitors — Wall Street corporations whose primary interest is to ensure that threats listed by Candidate One come true.

When asked about issues raised by Candidate One, Candidate Two shows you a picture of a recent fire that threatened communities around your state and says, “See!”

You’re confused.

Candidate Two then proudly says, “If the job gets hard, I simply won’t show up for work.”

Tough choice? Who will you choose?

By the way, Candidate One is Debbie Boothe-Schmidt. Candidate Two — the one who, through fearmongering, lies and promises to simply walk out when the going gets tough, has proven herself totally unworthy of the job — is Suzanne Weber.

You are the boss. Who will you hire?

Fred Bassett, Cloverdale

County chair endorses Fai for commissioner

When I ran for commission chair two years ago, I knocked on doors all across Washington County. I saw up close the diversity that makes our communities such wonderful places to live and work. I met parents with young children and seniors living out their retirement years. I met farmers and teachers and software engineers. I met lifelong residents and immigrants new to our country.

Now in 2020, we have an opportunity to reflect some of that precious diversity we see in our neighborhoods and workplaces on the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

Nafisa Fai — who I am enthusiastically supporting in the District 1 race — is a mother with young children, a woman of color, a public health professional and an entrepreneur who started her own small business. I can already envision how her life experiences will benefit our work on so many issues, from COVID-19 recovery to affordable housing and so many things in between.

Nafisa is a smart, compassionate woman who wants Washington County to be a place where everyone has a chance to thrive. I can’t wait for her to get started.

Mark your ballot for Nafisa Fai.

Kathryn Harrington

Chair, Washington County Board of Commissioners

Forest Grove benefits from Uhing’s voice on council

I am writing to endorse Elena Uhing for re-election to the Forest Grove City Council.

We have been fortunate to have a person of such dedication, vision and ethics serve as councilwoman the past 16 years. Elena has provided a solid guiding hand during that time, and we can count on her to continue if re-elected.

I met Elena in 2008 at Community Action, an agency that works with low-income people in Washington County. She displayed a keen understanding of the needs of families and seniors and a passion for telling their story. Elena built collaborations and developed programs there that continue there 12 years later.

Elena also has a vision for the community at large. As our city has grown, she has worked tirelessly to assure it remains a welcoming place for residents, businesses and visitors. She knows how to speak her mind, but her real strength is listening and understanding different points of view. This allows her to make connections that help our city prosper.

Elena Uhing’s experience, dedication and wisdom make Forest Grove a better place. I urge you to vote to re-elect Elena Uhing to the Forest Grove City Council.

Margaret Springer, Forest Grove

Washington County needs full-time leadership

If you live in Washington County, there are two important measures on your ballot that may be difficult to understand. I encourage you to learn more and to vote yes to approve both of them.

Measure 34-300 changes the way our Board of County Commissioners’ salaries are calculated. This will pave the way for full-time commissioners and will open up that job to more potential candidates.

Currently, only the chair, who represents all 610,000 county residents, receives “full-time” pay. The other commissioners only get half-time salaries, whether they work full-time at the job or not. Many of our current and past commissioners have a separate full-time job, which lets them afford to run for this office.

If passed, a salary commission will determine the appropriate pay.

Each of the four regional commissioners represents approximately one-fourth of the county’s population, or about 153,000 people. That isn’t a half-time job.

Measure 34-301 will eliminate “ordinance season.” The BCC can only consider land use ordinances — the laws that govern everything from how many chickens you can have to how many homes can be built and how nature is protected — between March and October. This leads to a rush to pass ordinances at the last minute. It was instituted in the horse-and-buggy days of the county, and it’s time for it to go.

I’ve been active in promoting community involvement in county government for nearly 20 years. As chair of Community Participation Organization 1 (CPO 1), I know we need a full-time board, and we need plenty of time to consider land use ordinances. Please join me in voting yes on these measures.

Virginia Bruce

Chair, Community Participation Organization 1

Vice Chair, Committee for Community Involvement

Let’s finally legalize campaign finance limits

Should people on the other side of the country be able to pour money into Oregon political races?

Voters, pass this one: Oregon Ballot Measure 107 would amend our constitution to allow laws limiting campaign contributions.

Oregon is just one of five states that don’t limit campaign money; that’s why we see big money from both in-state and out of state political groups and those with private agendas, driving state government races and ballot measures. Measure 107 would allow the state and local governments to put limits on campaign spending.

2018’s governor’s race chewed through nearly $40 million. Let’s fix this.

Sue Bliss, Hillsboro

Thatcher has proven ability to bridge partisan divide

I write this letter in support of Kim Thatcher for secretary of state. Although I am a registered Libertarian, I am crossing party lines and will vote for Kim Thatcher enthusiastically.

Throughout her political career, I have seen Kim Thatcher cross party lines to listen to different ideas, work with the people who hold them, and frequently accommodate their priorities (even when she does not share them) in the interests of good civics. These qualities are hallmarks of a great secretary of state and are especially important now because of the divisive nature of today’s politics.

As the late Dennis Richardson proved, a Republican can serve constructively in a Democratic state like Oregon for the good of us all. Party labels notwithstanding, Kim Thatcher’s brand of nonpartisan governance is what will bring Oregonians closer together, making it possible to resume building on the best of what we are. For these reasons, I urge everyone across all party lines to vote Kim Thatcher for secretary of state.

Richard P. Burke, Tigard

Witt stands for local businesses

I am a local business owner and I will be voting for state Rep. Brad Witt.

I appreciate that Brad takes a personal interest in the lives of his constituents and supports local businesses like mine. It’s been a challenging year, and it’s comforting to know that I have a representative in Salem who really gets what it takes to be effective for us at home.

When thousands of Oregonians were let down by the employment department, it was Brad who stood up and called for an investigation. It’s Brad who is drafting a bill to give businesses an avenue for pandemic interruption insurance. And it is Brad who I will be voting to re-elect as state representative.

Carol A. Cross

Owner, St. Helens Auto Body

Witt has earned constituent’s vote

In these days of divisive politics, where many politicians use misinformation to divide and polarize us, we are lucky to have a man of Brad Witt’s character, knowledge and skill as our representative in the Oregon Legislature.

I have found that Brad works extremely hard to understand the interest of all his constituents and works to develop consensus solutions, based on facts, that can best address those multiple interests. He works to bring us together for our success, not drive us apart towards failure and frustration. This is what good government is all about.

Brad demands governmental accountability, such as his insistence on a full audit of the Oregon Employment Department for their failure to get much-needed benefits to unemployed Oregonians out of work due to COVID-19.

Brad’s commitment to the middle class, working families, improving schools and honoring our veterans reflects his personal values developed by someone who has worked shoulder-to-shoulder in our sawmills with working Americans and fighting for their benefit.

Brad has been a proven leader in Salem, working with multiple stakeholders to address job creation, healthcare affordability, homelessness, opioid treatment, education, and protecting wildlife and natural resources.

Like our senator, Betsy Johnson, Brad has proven that he is willing to work tirelessly for his constituents.

We need to learn to work together to solve our problems. We have more in common than what divides us. We need a uniter, not a divider.

Greg Pettit, Warren

Neron restored reader’s faith in politics

Courtney Neron is the kind of person we need to keep in Salem. She grew up in Tigard and cares deeply about the issues facing her community in District 26. She knows and understands what is facing us today and is committed to working for our best interests.

We are truly fortunate to have her as our representative and we need to return her to office. She is a genuinely good person who works hard, digs into issues to seek solutions, and gives of herself to make things better for all Oregonians.

Rep. Neron is a thoughtful, innovative, creative and smart legislator. She actively approaches tough issues and gathers information to seek a fair and balanced path forward. She takes the time to understand all sides, gather the facts and work together with all parties to get things done.

I have seen her put significant time into an issue to fully understand it and then talk to opposing sides to find the right path forward. She restored my faith in politics.

Courtney Neron has my vote for state representative, and I urge everyone to re-elect her to Oregon’s State Legislature for District 26.

Darby Collins, Wilsonville

This doctor’s vote is for Witt

As a practicing physician, I am voting for Brad Witt this November.

We need more advocates in Salem who understand that science, rather than politics, should be the driving force behind medicine.

Brad is a staunch defender of vaccines in the battle against preventative disease. He has also worked to cut the cost of prescription drugs and voted to protect healthcare coverage for millions.

Since the start of the pandemic, Brad and his staff have placed thousands of well check calls to constituents, me included. Brad and his staff helped me get a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for my medical office when no one else would.

I am so thankful to have a representative who sincerely cares about the health and well-being of his district. I hope you’ll join me in supporting state Rep. Brad Witt.

Dr. Maureen E. Mays, Northwest Portland

Port of Columbia County commissioner and wife back Witt

Government functions best when local leadership is in tune with the challenges and opportunities we face.

State Rep. Brad Witt has helped our citizens navigate the intricacies of the state agencies to resolve concerns that they have. He and his staff always respond quickly to constituent concerns. This has been particularly important for residents and businesses struggling in the pandemic economy. He understands how healthcare insurance suddenly vanished for people and wants affordable high-quality medical insurance options available.

Rep. Witt deeply values the quality of life we have in Columbia County. His advocacy for well-paid jobs that build a strong, talented, and future-focused workforce is crystal clear.

Finally, Rep. Witt has become a significant statewide player in resolving the natural resource issues that come before the House committee that he has chaired.

Rep. Brad Witt is, in our view, the kind of hard-working, thoughtful, and responsive ally that we need in Salem.

Chip and Nancy Bubl, Warren

Fai is right for Washington County, right now

During a time when public health and the resiliency of our communities matter the most, we need to elect Nafisa Fai for Washington County commissioner.

Educators in Beaverton know that we cannot do our work alone — we need partnerships with leaders at the city and county level to help students and families thrive. Nafisa’s public health background and experience managing contact tracing in Washington County will help us get the COVID-19 pandemic under control so that students can safely return to schools for in-person learning.

As we continue to address the inequities in our communities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, we will need leaders who feel the urgency, identify solutions, build consensus and make positive change.

Join Beaverton educators in voting for Nafisa Fai.

Sara Schmitt

President, Beaverton Education Association

A vote for Fai is a vote for the future

Equity and inclusion are words we hear from so many candidates these days, it can be difficult to distinguish between rhetoric and real commitment.

With Nafisa Fai, candidate for Washington County Commission District 1, I know that these are more than just buzzwords. Nafisa doesn’t just talk about the importance of equity and inclusion, she demonstrates her commitment through her actions.

Nafisa believes that everyone should have a voice in how our county government provides for their health and safety. She believes that together we can build a future where housing is affordable, services are provided equitably, and our legal system functions well for everyone. She wants to create a future where every child can succeed in school and where small, local businesses can get help in troubled times.

That’s a future I want too.

I am confident that Nafisa Fai is the best candidate, with the best credentials, to elevate Washington County to a leader in equity and inclusion; to make Washington County a government for all the people. Make the right choice; vote for Nafisa Fai for District 1.

Christina Stephenson, Hillsboro

Fai has innovative, inclusive approach

In times of change, we need leaders who appreciate and understand adversity as a growth opportunity rather than a reason to double down on the old way of doing things. This is why I enthusiastically support Nafisa Fai to be the next Washington County commissioner for District 1.

As a woman of color, a wife, a mother, a refugee, and a small businesswoman with a background in public health policy, Nafisa understands what it means to address adversity through listening to multiple perspectives.

Having worked with Nafisa in my role as a research manager, I know her capacity to develop collaborative approaches that take into account the needs of those who are most impacted by hardship.

f you agree that change requires flexibility and new ideas, please join me in supporting Nafisa Fai by voting for her as the next Washington County commissioner for District 1. She is the right person for right now, which is why she’s been endorsed by so many labor unions, business and industry groups, progressive organizations and elected officials.

Dr. Tia H. Ho, Portland

Fai has broad support and deserves your vote

The general election is fast approaching, and we would like to respectfully ask your readers to vote for our friend Nafisa Fai for District 1 Washington County commissioner.

Nafisa is a hardworking, community-minded healthcare professional and small business owner who has a strong sense of wanting to give back to her community.

Her work with the American Red Cross, education, water conservation, and support of the arts are all testaments to her ideals and vision for a better Washington County moving forward.

Nafisa’s endorsers speak volumes. Among them are Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle, Washington County Sheriff Pat Gerritt, Lacey Beaty and a majority of the Beaverton City Council.

Some of the many organizations that support Nafisa are the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors, Beaverton Education Association, Tualatin Valley Firefighters Union and Oregon League of Conservation Voters.

We’ve known Nafisa for a long time and know that she is a caring and honorable person who will fairly and objectively focus on the needs of all Washington County citizens. Nafisa Fai will make a great District 1 commissioner who will work for you.

Ronnie Wise, Beaverton

This teacher is voting for Boothe-Schmidt

I taught in House District 32 for nine years. I helped students build skills to be successful wherever life takes them. I know the value of education, and I want legislators in Salem who will continue to strengthen education. Debbie Boothe-Schmidt is that person.

The first thing I noticed about Debbie is that she is endorsed by the union I belong to, Oregon Education Association (OEA). More than 48,000 Oregon educators belong to OEA. Her challenger, Weber, despite being a former teacher, was unable to earn an endorsement from OEA.

Why did this large group of educators choose Debbie Boothe-Schmidt over Weber?

Debbie pledges to fully fund Oregon education. Weber is part of a group trying to take over $1 billion a year away from education.

Debbie will work to get more apprenticeships and technical training in schools, take on the childcare crisis, and funding for early childhood education. Debbie will push for health care for families and livable working wages.

Debbie has personal qualities we teach our children. Debbie is honest, transparent, and open. Her challenger, Weber, makes false negative attack ads about Debbie. Join me in voting for Debbie Boothe-Schmidt.

Mary McGinnis, Rockaway Beach

County commissioner endorses Fai for his seat

I’m proud to have represented Aloha, Beaverton and Cooper Mountain (District 1) on the Washington County Board of Commissioners for the past two decades.

Our community is a great place to live, and I care deeply about the future of our county. That’s why I believe voters in my district should choose Nafisa Fai as their next county commissioner for District 1.

I’ve known Nafisa for years. She’s a longtime resident of Aloha and active community leader. Nafisa serves on the Clean Water Services Advisory Commission as my appointment; was one of the founders of the Pan-African Festival; and serves on the board of directors for the Five Oaks Museum (formerly the Washington County Museum) and community-based dental services nonprofit Dental3. She was as well appointed by Gov. Kate Brown to the Oregon Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee. She has truly been an advocate for her community and her passion for the work she does is inspiring.

She has done an excellent job serving her community in this role, and I’m looking forward to seeing the work she will do as our next county commissioner. Voters should select Nafisa Fai this Nov. 3.

Dick Schouten

Commissioner, Washington County

4-H support an example of why Witt deserves re-election

I am voting to re-elect Brad Witt for state representative.

There is no comparison between the candidates; Brad has the experience, the education, and the empathy to do the job. He teaches civic involvement to children and teens in Columbia County by being both a role model and a human being truly interested in keeping youth programs like 4-H alive.

He values the country lifestyle. Year after year I have seen Brad at the Columbia County Fair walking the barns, talking to the 4-H kids, and spending money at the auction. I personally remember Brad Witt taking the time to ask me about my 4-H dairy goat project and I have seen him support 4-Hers by purchasing their animals at the Columbia County Fair auction.

Brad is a staunch supporter of 4-H. He understands how life-changing this program can be for our youth because he was a 4-H member himself.

Brad understands that being a representative is like having a 4-H project. It’s more than flag-waving — it’s hard work and requires dedication.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting our most dedicated representative: Brad Witt.

Chava Wolin, St. Helens

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