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home : opinions : opinions December 15, 2018


10/16/2018 1:28:00 PM
Voting for strength and heart
By T. Lee Brown


It's easy to vote in Oregon. We just fill in the little bubbles on our ballots, which show up conveniently in our mailboxes, and send 'em back. But who should we be voting for?

Ideally, I'm looking for a saint with excellent leadership qualities, one who'll cut through red tape and bureaucratic nonsense while standing up for the poor and middle class. A saint who can cure cancer with one hand while roping a steer with the other, then whip up 100,000 family-wage jobs- small-business jobs that make our state more beautiful and self-reliant. A saint who's never made a wrong move or an inappropriate comment.

Failing that, I'd settle for a real human being with integrity, compassion, and honesty. One with a big heart, a good brain, and a pair of ears that really listen. They should listen to everybody in District 2, not just people who happen to be in their party. Nearly a third of Oregon voters aren't Democrats or Republicans, including non-affiliated voters like me.

My candidate would respect Oregon's rural traditions and encourage their supporters to do the same - even their liberal, urban, and college-town voters. Urging citizens to get off their phones, turn off the news, and meet up in real life, they'd hold frequent town halls and public debates. Providing an example of common decency and trying to bridge divides would come naturally to them.

This person ought to have enough government and organizational experience to do their job. On the other hand, they shouldn't be yoked to the political establishment - much less a bunch of mega-corporations and their lobbying lackeys.

You've probably guessed that my fantasy candidate ain't Greg Walden, the current Oregon District 2 Representative to Congress in Washington, DC. I've heard enough from him to last a lifetime.

He accepts big money from the pharmaceutical industry, for example, then starts making a big show of caring about the opioid crisis. For those of us whose families have been torn up by prescription drug addiction, this is way too little, way too late.

Walden chairs the House committee that's supposed to oversee the healthcare industry. He could've taken action long before this election year. But he had good reason not to.

As John Lamoreau, formerly a Republican Commissioner of Union County, puts it: "No member of Congress received more political action committee money from the pharmaceutical/health products industry than Walden during the current election cycle." The Mail-Tribune in Medford wrote up a thorough explanation of funding details in "Since You Asked," June 2018, available online.

Well, that was a depressing digression. Let's get back to my fantasy candidate, the one who might actually stand up for real Oregonians in Washington DC. The one who'd come back often to chat with us. The one with both strength and heart.

I think I've found her. Her name is Jamie McLeod-Skinner, and she's running against Walden on the Democratic ticket.

McLeod-Skinner is a hard worker and a big listener. Experienced but humble, she has the courage to stand up for what's fair. She's not perfect-but, for a refreshing change, she doesn't pretend to be. She's just trying to make things better for everyday people in Oregon.

People who are struggling with rising healthcare and housing costs. People searching for the best in themselves and others, even if we don't all agree on everything. People who are willing to take on the serious work of rebuilding our democracy. People who still believe in America.

I'm one of those people. I'm voting for Jamie McLeod-Skinner.









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