Printed in the Courier 11-12-17
Rep. Greg Walden is at it again. First, he complimented President Trump on his financially impotent “step in the right direction” when he declared opioid abuse a “national public health emergency.” It provided only $57,000 of Health and Human Services re-allocated money toward a just-say-no ad campaign. Walden said “more people died in Oregon last year from overdoses than from car accidents,” enabling Trump’s paltry declaration. Thanks a lot — we already know opioid abuse is a huge problem — people are dying. We need funding, not empty words to fight the problem.
Next, he supported for the fifth time a forest management bill that is disguised as “reducing the risk of forest fires.” In fact, it just cuts regulations to benefit the timber industry that supports his campaigns. Rep. Peter DeFazio voted against it because it doubles the amount of land exempt from environmental review and doesn’t provide a way to pay for forest thinning. There’s good reason it failed four times before.
And finally, Walden voted to fund CHIP, the effective program that lapsed which provides health care for 9 million children. It’s a great program, but this time it’s being partially paid for by a $10 billion cut to public health funds and shortening the grace period for Obamacare enrollees who can’t pay their premiums. About 700,000 people would lose their health insurance as a result. Another sneaky way to continue sabotaging the ACA.
We need to replace Walden with better representation from Oregon to stand up for our state’s real needs.
Printed in Courier on 11/8/2017
Don’t believe the hype. The GOP’s proposed “tax reform” is not going to help small business owners like me. I’ve owned and operated a motel in Grants Pass for more than 17 years. It’s a good business, but the Republican plan to cut the tax rate for “pass-through” corporations to 25 percent won’t affect most businesses like mine. It’s not going to affect my local grocer or my local mechanic. That’s because most small business owners like me aren’t making enough of a profit to even pay a 25 percent tax rate.
The proposed corporate tax cuts will benefit hedge fund managers, Wall Street lawyers and real estate investors. The Trump administration plans to cut $5.8 trillion from Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, education, employment and training, food and housing assistance, and infrastructure programs, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. In short, this “tax reform” is a giveaway to the largest and most profitable corporations and the wealthiest of Americans.
Oregon and Grants Pass can’t afford these cuts. Our transportation and telecommunications infrastructures need an upgrade. Many of our residents rely on programs like Medicaid for health care. We need to better train and educate our workforce to attract more companies to the area. My small business can only survive and thrive if we invest in the local community.
This “tax reform” is bad news for our community and for Oregon’s small businesses.
Printed in Courier on 11/9/2017
I just received an e-mail from Congressman Greg Walden brimming with good news about “tax reform.” Walden explains that, “While reform is never easy, and always subject to partisan hyperbole, we do know two important facts about this draft plan courtesy of the nonpartisan Tax Foundation analysis: (1) Annual, after-tax income for the middle class will rise in every state; (2) the U.S. economy will grow by 4 percent and create 975,000 new jobs as a result.” Not a speck of partisan hyperbole there. Although, curiously, this is the first time I have realized that economic prognostications based on hypothetical models, formulated by a foundation known for its pro-business, anti-tax bias for 80 years, have magically become “facts.”
In spite of these misgivings, I’m planning to spend all of that extra after-tax income soon — in supporting a qualified, intelligent candidate not prone to misrepresentation, misinformation and outright lies to replace Walden. The fact is, it can’t happen soon enough.
Letter to the Editor, published in the Mail Tribune (9/27/17). Courier did not print.
There is no equivalence between hate groups and those who oppose them. I, along with other Americans condemn the recent racist and violent events in Charlottesville. These hateful actions contradict our democratic values of equality and Rights for All.
We are stronger because of our diversity of race, culture and ideas.
Locally, Democrats and progressives are working together to improve our community in the areas of education, health care, jobs and the environment. We ask others to work with us and contribute their ideas and energy.
Congressman Walden gave a generic response when he condemned the hateful groups at Charlottesville. But this is not enough. His actions over the past months have caused us harm and division. He voted for special interests when he voted to defund health care and is not representing citizens well in Oregon’s second district.
Southern Oregon Democrats ask you to join with them in working on local, state and national issues that impact our daily lives. Join us at our next meeting.
— Jean Mount