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Mark Gamba: Kurt Schrader has always been at the beck and call of big pharma, the fossil-fuel giants

Congressman Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon, is the worst kind of cynical, privileged, lying, sold-out political hack there is, and that's putting it nicely.

Schrader and his big-pharma corporate masters have been blanketing his district with ads extolling his virtues for keeping drug prices low. In reality, he and his ilk have gutted the ability for the federal government to do what every other country in the world already does for their citizens: negotiate drug prices so that big pharma doesn't drive people into bankruptcy just trying to survive. Common, critical drugs like insulin currently cost Americans 10 times what most other countries pay for the same drug. Mark Gamba

He has always been at the beck and call of big pharma, the fossil-fuel giants, Wall Street timber companies and more. He happily votes to expand the military industrial complex at every turn and give tax breaks to himself and his fellow millionaires. Yet he has the unmitigated audacity to hold up President Biden's Build Back Better Act on the pretense of being concerned about increasing the national debt! A debt that could easily be solved just by taxing the income of corporations, millionaires and billionaires at the same rate we did in the 1960s and '70s. Instead, he seeks to deny hard working Oregonians affordable health care, childcare and college. Even worse, he wants to stop America from doing even a little bit to avert climate chaos.

In mailers to constituents, he pretends to be a climate champion while co-sponsoring bills that give even more taxpayer dollars to the fossil-fuel industry for the next 10 years and then requires some nominal reduction in greenhouse gases thereafter. 10 years? At that point it won't matter. He knows that. His fossil-fuel masters know that. They just don't care. They assume that their wealth and privilege will protect them from the coming chaos.

Even his persona is a lie. He wears the big belt buckle and the cowboy boots and touts his good-ole, country-vet background. But those are not his roots. He grew up in a mansion in Connecticut, the heir to a pharmaceutical fortune.

Fortunately for voters in the newly drawn 5th Congressional District, we have a far, far better choice.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner has spent her whole adult life working to make things better for people. She has a raft of impressive degrees but instead of cashing in on that education, she has worked to help people suffering in war torn countries and immigrants escaping intolerable lives.

Jamie is an honest-to-God climate champion that recognizes that frontline people, including rural farmers and ranchers, will be hit first and hardest by the coming climate chaos. She is working to help those that have already had their lives destroyed by climate catastrophes, like she did when she worked in southern Oregon very recently, helping folks rebuild housing after they lost everything in unprecedented, climate-driven wildfires. Her understanding of how bad it could get is visceral, which will make her an uncompromising champion.

She is well aware that America is the only industrialized nation on the planet without universal health care and a national health care system. One of the many reasons we failed so badly to protect our people during the pandemic. She understands that the Medicare for All bill is an outstanding solution and will join others in Congress fighting for it.

She is well aware of the destructive nexus of low wages and skyrocketing housing costs. She will work to solve that issue from both ends. She is clear that $15 an hour isn't even high enough in many parts of this country.

She knows that we must engage in good governance and fix the campaign finance laws, voters rights and gerrymandering that are destroying our democracy.

It's time for the hardworking people in the 5th Congressional District of Oregon to be truly represented in Congress. Please join me in making Jamie Mcleod-Skinner the next congresswoman from Oregon's CD5.

Mark Gamba is the mayor of Milwaukie.


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