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This is the last reader mailbag in The Times before Election Day this year, and the vote is clearly on readers' minds.

Editor's note: Have a letter to share? Email your thoughts to Editor-in-Chief Mark Miller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Letters should be no more than 400 words. All submissions must include the name and hometown of the author. Submissions should not include profane or defamatory language. We may lightly edit submissions for style and clarity. We encourage writers to suggest their own headline when submitting a letter; otherwise, a headline may be generated based on the contents of the letter.

In support of Aaron Woods

As a retired schoolteacher, grandmother and concerned citizen, I am delighted to see someone like Aaron Woods running for state Senate for Washington County.

I've met Aaron a couple of times and am very impressed with his genuine concern for small businesses, the environment, and the quality of life for Oregonians.

Now, as a retired businessman, he could easily rest on his laurels from a very successful career with places like IBM. Yet, Aaron chooses to serve the public in a most unselfish way. He really listens and considers all views.

Aaron has a family and knows the challenges of raising children in our complicated world.

Intelligent, witty and dedicated, Aaron Woods has my vote in November!

Marianne Bickett, Sherwood

Only Kotek supports common-sense gun laws

As ballots begin to appear in our mailboxes for what may be the most competitive Oregon gubernatorial election in nearly 50 years, I want to point out Betsy Johnson's right-wing voting record in response to the Portland Tribune Editorial Board's disappointing endorsement on Oct. 7.

The argument that Sen. Johnson can "unite all Oregonians' is out-of-touch with anyone who cares about gun violence prevention.

I find Betsy Johnson's and Christine Drazan's statements on "crime" to be the most disingenuous of the entire election. They both claim to be concerned about violence in Oregon, yet both Drazan and Johnson have taken every chance to vote against common-sense gun safety legislation.

If you take away just one thing from my words as we choose the next person to lead our state, let it be this: while elected, both Betsy Johnson and Christine Drazan voted against every single gun safety measure the Oregon Legislature has made law. These are laws that are proven to save lives and reduce gun violence — which is the key driver of violent crime.

I simply cannot remain silent while watching those who want to lead our state pretend as if they care about keeping Oregon safe. The choice is crystal-clear — Tina Kotek not only voted to pass every common-sense gun safety bill; Kotek was House speaker for each effort. She led the way.

There has rarely been a starker contrast in an Oregon gubernatorial race. For Oregonians who care about public safety, and especially reducing gun violence, there is only one choice for a safer Oregon: Tina Kotek.

Rachel Prusak

State Representative, House District 37

Kotek too radical for governorship

Tina Kotek has not mentioned her radicalism for obvious reasons.

Since 2013, she has planned to end the mortgage interest deduction for homeowners if possible. If elected, expect our property taxes to soar.

More recently, she wanted to defund the police before she backpedaled slightly by suggesting new police standards instead. But she still won't condemn the burning of a police station during the 2020 riots.

At that time, her legislative director was charged with interfering with a police officer during an antifa/BLM riot. Kotek reacted by framing riots as "free speech" and accused the Portland police of "escalating" tensions. She then sponsored HB 3164 at the prompting of the ACLU, adding a clause allowing people to escape charges when they ignore lawful police orders unless the police are acting unlawfully themselves or are busy arresting someone.

Peaceful protests are lawful, but Kotek's bill gives protesters a virtual license to make chaotic situations worse. Kotek's amendment seems tailor-made for her staffer, but it ignores riot-weary Oregonians.

I wouldn't feel safe with Kotek's indifference to our tax burdens or public safety. Her ideological extremism is out-of-touch with average citizens outside of Multnomah County.

Lyneil Vandermolen, Tualatin

Former House candidate backs Estep in HD 37

Aeric Estep is running for House seat 37.

I listened to the Stafford Hamlet candidate forum and it was clear Aeric is the right choice for our community. Aeric has developed strong bond with members in the community and understands our concerns through his career, his involvement in the community and personally walking neighborhoods since last spring!

Aeric is insightful and has clear, reasonable solutions to both local and state issues. It is clear he is not beholden to any political special interest groups, and has the skill set to amicably work with fellow legislators across the aisle.

Aeric's stewardship will help change the course we are headed.

Kelly Sloop, West Linn

Jason Fields holds extreme views

Voters should know the views of those asking for our vote, and be given the source for any assertion that the candidate holds those views.

Jason Fields, the Republican candidate for state representative for Wilsonville, Sherwood and King City, enthusiastically supported Donald Trump, as evidenced in his fall 2020 comments on his LinkedIn page: "I support Trump too!!!"

Mr. Fields' responses to the 2022 Oregon Family Council Voter's Guide are enlightening. He reportedly supports banning abortions in almost all cases. He supports reallocating taxpayer dollars away from public schools to private schools. He also believes in religious exemptions, possibly empowering employers to discriminate against LGBTQ employees.

Mr. Fields considers mandating COVID-19 masks to protect seniors and other at-risk Oregonians, and the possibility of vaccination passports, as "appalling." He objects to crimes committed with a gun to be called "gun violence." He claims that Oregon public schools teach critical race theory, thereby intensifying common misconceptions.

Mr. Fields has every right to his views. Voters, though, have a right to know those views and to ascertain if they are compatible with their own values.

Cornelia Gibson, Wilsonville

Measure 114 won't make Oregon safer

Measure 114 requires a purchaser to pay a permit fee to purchase a firearm. A criminal won't.

Measure 114 requires a background check. We already have the Oregon Firearms Safety Act signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown in 2015 that requires a background check for all firearm transfers in the state even among private parties. A criminal won't.

We have a red flag law in Oregon that states, "If a person appears to be in imminent danger of hurting themselves or another person, a police officer or a member of the person's family or household may petition the court for a one-year order that would prohibit the person from possessing a deadly weapon." A criminal won't reveal ill intent.

All Measure 114 will do is force law-abiding, responsible firearm owners to pay money for a permit every five years, complete an approved safety course requiring yet another fee, submit an application to the state police, etc.

Further, the people who petitioned for this measure want you to believe there's a gun show background check loophole. But as mentioned above, there is already a law in place to require a background check.

Measure 114 is a poor piece of legislation that will do nothing to keep a criminal from getting a gun. Chicago is one of many perfect examples.

Ridge Taylor, Lake Oswego

Kotek best choice for Oregon governor

My opinion on choice for governor works like this: If we intend to keep humans alive on Earth, there is only one choice for Oregon governor, and that is Tina Kotek. She is the one of the three candidates that has significant understanding of climate.

Being strong in switching from the old poisonous fossil fuels to the new much cheaper and cleaner green energy will pay off quickly. Resent research said payback in years. Homelessness is not a police issue, it is a policy issue around social services.

Much history has shown that helping people is less expensive than when we use police to kick people down the road. I think Tina Kotek understands that best.

I think neither the Democratic nor the Republican party is good at organizing our society any more, and we need to find a new way. That's more strongly true at the national level than the local level.

Tina Kotek seems to me to be our best choice for Oregon's contribution to our nation and planet.

Edward Averill, Beaverton

Wilsonville official backing Woods for Senate

As a past Clackamas County commissioner and Wilsonville mayor, and current city councilor, I understand the challenges of expanding access to affordable housing, and the importance of creating pathways to good jobs. A priority of mine is to maintain the livability of our cities while preserving our rural lands.

Achieving those objectives requires collaboration between state and local government. Aaron Woods is the right person for Senate District 13. As a City of Wilsonville planning commissioner who previously served on the Development Review Board, Aaron is experienced balancing land use goals like agriculture, natural resources, and housing while emphasizing citizen participation. He is committed to careful planning, housing affordability, and preserving our livability.

Aaron also serves on the Clackamas Community College Board and on state and national community college committees. He has expertise in workforce development and career and technical education. He knows the importance of creating pathways to family-wage careers.

After an outstanding career in IT, another one of Aaron's legislative priorities is to provide high-speed internet access for every Oregonian.

Aaron has the expertise and collaborative skills to address the challenges we face in Senate District 13. Please join me in voting for Aaron Woods.

Charlotte Lehan

City Councilor, Wilsonville

We need Neron in Salem

Rep. Courtney 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.

We are truly fortunate to have her as our representative.

She works hard, digs into the issues facing our district to find the right answer — not just an easy answer. She gives of herself to make things better for all of us in her district and we owe her a debt of gratitude.

We need to reelect Courtney Neron to House District 26. She is the kind of person we need in Salem — someone who seeks solutions and gets things done.

Darby Collins, Wilsonville

Neron gets reader's vote in HD 26

Rep. Courtney Neron is dedicated to families, education and healthcare access and funding. Her positions are clear and consistent. She knows how to show up to craft legislation and to vote for bills that are brought to the state House floor. As an educator, she knows how to investigate concerns and gather information from constituents and organizations. As a representative in Salem, she epitomizes a rare combination of compassion, curiosity and strength of character. Courtney is "all in" for identifying the best policies, processes and practices to enhance the prosperity of each of us. We must be in this together and reelect Rep. Courtney Neron.

Maripat Hensel, Wilsonville

Aaron Woods will serve SD 13 well

Aaron Woods has the knowledge, skills, abilities, and values to serve SD 13, and all of Oregon very effectively.

He has business-savvy: he's retired from a career in information technology and has an MBA. He serves on the Wilsonville Planning Commission, and understands the policy issues facing the district, the need for balanced growth and livability, and solutions to housing affordability and safety.

As past president of Oregon School Boards Association, I appreciate Aaron's leadership on local, state, and national community college boards and committees. He values education as a primary through college continuum; he's committed to affordable pathways to family wage careers that fulfill the needs of the community.

Please vote for Aaron Woods for Senate District 13.

Betty Reynolds, West Linn

Aaron Woods has the experience we need

If you pander to someone, or to their wishes, you promise to do what they want, often to get some advantage for yourself. That seems to be what's happening in several of our local elections.

Take, for example, the race for Senate District 13, which covers much of Clackamas and some of Washington County. It pits Aaron Woods against John Velez.

The choice should be easy. Do we want as our state senator someone who has been engaged in numerous and diverse ways, who has served on many boards, commissions and committees and is seen as a problem solver? That's Aaron Woods.

Or do we want someone with limited experience working with others who promises no tolls but provides no other solution to funding our roads? Someone who promises better law enforcement, as if the solution to our rising crime rates is that simple? As for the homeless, he just says we should separate them. What does that mean?

To me, the answer is easy — it is Aaron Woods. He is a real collaborator with a proven track record of successes. Look at what each candidate has done, not just what they say.

Bob Harland, Wilsonville

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