Letters from the Chair
Photo courtesy Gary Halvorson Oregon State Archives
Oregon’s lone vote against the newly passed “Infrastructure and Jobs Act”, was Republican Congressman Cliff Bentz. That really says something loud and clear. Even with a bill that is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Oregonians to rebuild our roads and bridges and expand our broadband for improved rural access, his political and corporate affiliations are more important to him than vastly improving the lives of his constituents (hmmm, makes me so glad that Oregon has a great voting system … a place for people to address the actions of their representatives.)
A hearty thank you goes to Congressman Peter DeFazio for working so hard to bring so many improvements to our State. Along with the support of Senators Merkley and Wyden, Congressman DeFazio was a major player in this bill, including the things that Oregon folks needed and had asked for. This Act will improve the lives of our regular friends and neighbors: the rural family with faltering internet access that wasn’t able to effectively attend online school classes or work their jobs at home, due to irregular and faltering internet access; the homes struggling with access to clean drinking water (think Rockaway Beach or Corbett or known effects of clear cutting); people devastated by the wildfires; and every Oregonian that drives our rough roads or needs improved public transport.
What is it that Oregon actually receives in the new Infrastructure bill, that Republicans seemed so dead set against? Our state will receive $529 million over five years to improve water infrastructure across Oregon and ensure clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities. What else, you ask? $3.4 billion to improve our highways and $268 million for bridge replacement and repairs over five years, along with $529 million over five years to protect against wildfires. Wildfires have affected thousands of people in our state … lost homes, lives and livelihoods, health issues due to smoke inhalation and so much more. Residents in Douglas County know this scenario all too well.
President Biden’s signing of this historic law ushers in a new day for Oregon and our nation. Along with creating millions of jobs modernizing our infrastructure, this bill addresses the climate crisis (not enough, but it is a start). There is money to strengthen clean energy and transportation and measures to increase climate resilience. This bill is not an end-all solution for the Climate Crisis but it is a step forward. I think it is important to ask ‘how’, while not saying ‘no’ to ideas and actions that will improve our nation. That is why I cannot understand the constant negative response to progressive ideas from our conservative groups. We have to take steps forward, we cannot continue their path of standing still or, worse yet, regressing.
I am an enthusiastic outdoors person. We love to hike, walk, bike, walk at night to let the evening sky amaze us, sit along the river letting nature teach us her lessons. Douglas County is such a rare gem of natural space. Let’s treat her as such. Let’s move forward together … all constituents of one of the most beautiful counties in Oregon. We all want what is best for our county, our friends and neighbors, and our America.
With Biden’s groundbreaking new “Infrastructure and Jobs Act”, we can improve the lives of Oregonians in every county and honor the hard work and dedication of our elected representatives that support it: Congressman DeFazio, Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden. If you were one of those Oregonians looking for better roads, safer bridges, better broadband, cleaner water and more jobs, then make sure to take a look into this bill. Democrats heard you, and Democrats delivered - and not just for the wealthy few. I certainly know where my vote is going.
Letter from the Chair
Dear Douglas County Democrats,
What a crazy time we are living through. Covid and all its accompanying upheaval, (especially in light of the recent passionate spouting about an individual’s freedom of choice concerning vaccinations and masks),fires, climate crisis, assaults on womens’ rights, Afghanistan, blatant racism and more. This is the time when we show what we are made of. Make every day count, in kindness, with compassion and generosity of spirit … and determination to work toward a better tomorrow.
To that end, I am repeating a LTE that I wrote 27 years ago to the Post Bulletin in Rochester, MN. In 2014 I sent it to the News Miner in Fairbanks, AK. And today I repeat it, as it is still relevant. The original letter is posted here:
"Republicans in this country have me baffled. Claiming to be intent on saving potential lives, they don't seem concerned with that life once it arrives. They spend their time, energy and money in ways that take us backward instead of forward. As long as this world is an imperfect place, there will be abortion. Therefore, I would like to suggest resources are used to work toward a healthier world for those already here.
1. Teach parents to nurture and provide unconditional love.
2. Work against physical, mental, sexual abuse of children (all people).
3. Encourage parents/educators to teach children respect for themselves and others.
4. Protest the violences and unrealistic depiction of sex in media.
5. Increase access to family planning information/supplies.
6. Work toward economic equality.
7. Promote understanding/respect/equity/justice for all people.
8. Support Planned Parenthood. Through education, information, contraception and counseling they are working toward the same goal."
This is not the exact letter I would write today but it reminds me again how much money, time and effort has been wasted throughout the past 27 years. We all want the same thing: healthy, joyous children living in a loving and safe world. We need to work together. Limiting access to contraception and reproductive health care is the path backward.
If Republicans truly wanted to make a difference they would focus on the male gender and the part they play in this scenario. Talk to men about responsibility, nurturing, anger management, kindness. Educate men and boys in what real love and caring looks like. Focus on the part they play in sexual abuse, date rape, family violence. Teach sons about their responsibility before and after a pregnancy occurs and when a child is born.
Then maybe we can believe you really want to make a positive difference. I look forward to it.
And on a more local note! The Democratic Party of Douglas County is virtually hosting our annual fundraiser, Flegel Event and Auction, on Oct. 9. We will have the auction up on or near September 15 so you can check out the available items and make bids on things you just cannot live without! Look for more information forthcoming. We have many outstanding items this year!
Along with this, Joe Yetter is championing a drive to increase our monthly donors so we have a steady income we can count on to keep our office open and do the things that need to be done to make Douglas County a more welcoming place and elect Democrats into leadership positions. We know you don’t like being asked for money, and we don’t like asking. All the people working hard in our local party, including myself, Executive Committee, office persons … we are unpaid volunteers. You are not putting money in our pockets but aiding us in the hard work we are doing in this very conservative county. Thank you so much for your generosity!