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With just over a month to Election Day, this week's mailbag includes a number of web-exclusive political letters.

Neron is a legislator for our times

Now, as never before, affordable healthcare is on everyone's radar.

The coronavirus pandemic has dealt us a cruel one-two punch: throwing hundreds of thousands of Oregonians out of work, then depriving them of the work-provided healthcare they'll desperately need should COVID-19 — or another health crisis — hit their families.

State Rep. Courtney Neron has long recognized the need for affordable and accessible healthcare for all Oregonians.

Courtney understands this viscerally. She herself once endured the anxiety of health insurance denial. Since we elected her in 2018, Courtney has championed access to healthcare (including mental and reproductive) for everyone in our state — through lower drug prices and protecting the Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan) safety net for our most vulnerable citizens.

Impressively, she has managed — even during this contentious year in our state House — to get more mental health services and behavioral aid for Oregon schoolchildren. Moreover, she has gotten us America's most robust paid family and medical leave program — and expanded access to high-quality childcare for those struggling to make ends meet.

But there remains much to be done. So, let's make sure in November that she can continue her good work on behalf of all of us in Oregon.

Bruce Toien, Sherwood

Prusak knows importance of addressing climate change

My name is Claudia, and I have worked for 48 years as an environmental engineer, helping communities and states manage environmental resources.

Climate change increases the intensity and frequency of climate events like the unprecedented wildfires we are experiencing. The issue is not just wildfires and loss of beaches; once-in-a-century storms are happening more frequently and causing more damage.

Engineers like me are constantly redesigning infrastructure design manuals to accommodate these events. The destruction and redesigning of infrastructure is expensive — we have to constantly pay for new infrastructure to accommodate bigger and worse storms.

Good engineers think thirty years ahead, and so do good leaders. They do not walk out of their jobs to prevent scientifically minded, desperately needed action, like the Republicans in the Oregon Legislature have done. We cannot kick climate action down the road any longer, and we need to elect state leaders who understand that, like Rep. Rachel Prusak. She knows that climate change is an emergency, and we need to act now.

We need to reelect Rachel Prusak in November so we can get to work managing our climate emergency now.

Claudia L. Sterling, Tualatin

Unincorporated area has a stake in city elections too

To our Stafford-area city neighbors who will be selecting new mayors and councils in November — please be sure to educate yourselves and neighbors on who you support and will vote for. Your vote will have long-term consequences on everyone's health and checkbooks in the region.

One very important issue to consider is the future of the Stafford area.

Short and to the point, what are the candidates' views?

• Do they know about the Stafford Hamlet's Community Vision Plan? Rural-urban interface?

• How did/would they vote on the three-city IGA (intergovernmental agreement) on Stafford?

• What are their thoughts on the current appeal to the

Land Conservation and Development Commission of the IGA?

• What do they know about current infrastructure or expanding infrastructure to accommodate the tax base to help pay for development? (Huge future burden on current and future residents.)

• What are their thoughts on the $2.7 billion price tag for development of area (2018 cost estimate) increasing yearly?

• Are they aware of the 40% of costs being proposed by planners/developers to be paid for by cities

• Do they support "other" regional taxing situations, Interstate 205 tolling, Metro's 2040 transportation bond?

• Will they embrace the Stafford rural-urban interface through active agriculture, providing a "carbon sink" and a "safe and secure" food source along with open space and wildlife habitat?

• Do they view Stafford as the "developable land cash cow" for future expansion?

• Which candidates want to plan and then see development of Stafford?

These are just a few of the important issues in Stafford that should be answered before you select your choices for mayor and council in your cities.

Although residents in Stafford cannot vote in the surrounding elections, we are following very closely the outcome to see who will be engaging with us about our future — a future we take very seriously.

Information on Stafford's Community Vision Plan is available at staffordhamlet.com.

Thomas Jefferson often wrote about "the importance of a well-informed electorate." Do your part; be informed; vote and vote wisely.

RJ Cook, Stafford

Particulate pollution is not a new problem

Do you know that the small particulate matter that is in wildfire smoke (for which experts recommend that you wear a KN95 or N95 mask) is the same small particulate matter that Intel Corp. in Washington County emits on a regular basis?

Do you know that when Intel emits 2.5 and 10.0 micrometer particles, they are odorless and cannot be seen as wildfire smoke can be seen and smelled?

Do you know that Intel is allowed by DEQ to emit 35 tons of 2.5 and 31 tons of 10.0 micrometer particles per year?

Do you know that EPA says that "Small particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest problems, because they can get deep into your lungs, and some may even get into your bloodstream? Exposure to such particles can affect both your lungs and your heart. Numerous scientific studies have linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems, including: premature death in people with heart or lung disease, nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing. People with heart or lung diseases, children, and older adults are the most likely to be affected by particle pollution exposure."

Do you know that Washington County Department of Health has been issuing KN95 masks to the most vulnerable populations (people who cannot stay indoors) to protect them? Only the KN95 or N95 mask can filter out the 2.5 micrometer particles. Cloth masks and most other masks do not effectively filter out 2.5 micrometer particles. So, for COVID 19 virus particles and 2.5 micrometer particles, try to get a KN95 or N95 mask.

Dale Feik, Forest Grove

Hindley brings lived experience to county race

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in regards to the character of Jeff Hindley, our District 1 Washington County commissioner candidate.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Jeff for about 27 years, and cannot think of a better person to represent and advocate for Washington County residents in these difficult times. I know Jeff to be an honest, caring, and compassionate husband, father, and friend, as well as a committed and active member of our community. He has demonstrated this over the years in many ways including working with at-risk youth for the past 20 years.

Jeff has also shown great strength and compassion by providing direct care and support for his elderly mother-in-law, who suffered from Alzheimer's for many years in their home. Jeff serves on the Washington County Homeless Plan Advisory Committee and is dedicated to finding solutions for homelessness in our communities. Jeff is very passionate about this cause, as he currently cares for his brother-in-law in their home who would otherwise be part of the homeless community.

I am confident that Jeff has the integrity, experience and dedication needed to best represent the citizens of Washington County.

Nancy Van Horne, Beaverton

Stevens knows needs of HD 26

Do you want to pay less in taxes? Do you want your local and state government to spend your tax dollars wisely? Do you want to feel like your opinion and voice matters? If your answer is yes to these questions, you will want to vote for Peggy Stevens for Oregon House of Representatives, District 26.

Peggy Stevens has served in our local community for decades and is in tune with the needs of the people in her district. Peggy Stevens is an advocate of family values. Integrity and hard work are at the core of who she is. Peggy Stevens will work diligently to balance the budget responsibly and she will effectively represent the will of the people in her district.

We need a representative who will stand up for us and make decisions based on what is best for our community. Our current state representative has voted for every tax increase. Peggy Stevens will put a stop to the tax-and-spend policies adopted by her opponent and be a true representative for our community.

Please join me in electing Peggy Stevens to House District 26.

Evi Huffman, Sherwood

Protests exist within the framework of law and order

William Allen's Sept. 10, 2020, column was an interesting history lesson about the difference between protesters and petitioners. I didn't see what that had to do with rioters that do violent crimes in the midst of the crowds.

The powerful politicians he refers to do not care that a crowd of peaceful people assemble to air their grievances. They do respond when furniture stores are broken into, the goods are stolen then are made into a bonfire in the street. Then, a Molotov cocktail is thrown into the building.

The police, who are doing the job we need them to do, are then attacked with green lasers, frozen eggs and water bottles, rocks, ball bearings shot from slingshots, and chunks of concrete.

How can that possibly be characterized as a peaceful petitioning?

Refer to William Allen's column, first published online Sept. 9, 2020.

The weak leadership of Portland and the state of Oregon apparently doesn't care that these crimes against us truly peaceful citizens have been allowed to proliferate for over three months.

I hope that we citizens rise up to elect politicians who understand that free speech, petitioning, protesting or whatever you want to call it, must exist within the framework of law and order.

Steve Wozniak, Newberg

Rachel Prusak cares for our community

I'm Susie Walters, and I graduated from West Linn High School this spring.

When homophobic and transphobic incidents escalated last October, Rep. Rachel Prusak reached out to me and my family, listened to my story, and helped make change. She helped us connect with Basic Rights Oregon, which represented West Linn's LGBTQ+ students, and introduced strategies to change the culture of hate at WLHS.

I coordinated a walkout, met with administration, and testified to our school board. I was proud to advocate on behalf of myself and my peers, but without the support of Rep. Rachel Prusak, I would not have succeeded.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it was for me to have an adult and a community leader who listened, immediately affirmed my work and armed me with the tools to advocate for my peers. I feel so thankful to have a state representative who deeply cares about all the people in our community, and works hard to advocate for the most vulnerable among us.

Without Rachel, my voice would not have been heard. That's why I am proud to cast my vote for Rep. Prusak.

Susie Walters, West Linn

Neron is a unifier, and that's what HD 26 needs

As a Sherwood native of 31 years, I feel compelled to write this letter in support of Rep. Courtney Neron and her campaign for re-election, because I know that she works hard for all of us, not just some of us.

Ever since she became a representative two years ago, she has worked tirelessly to advance policies and champion legislation that would not only benefit her constituents, but the entire state of Oregon. By helping to pass some of the only successful legislation to come out of the 2020 short session, Neron was able to protect and improve the lives of all Oregonians, not just the ones who voted for her. Promoting policies to protect people from COVID-19, working to address systemic racism, and keeping students safe and educated are just a few of her achievements.

That's the job of a representative. To bring people together, and to make decisions based on the outcomes for the entire state, not spread division and use nativist rhetoric. Politicians must understand the weight and responsibility that comes with office, and when they do, their actions will prove it. Neron has proven it, and I can't wait to see what she does next.

Alexander Graham, Sherwood

Stevens listens and will represent community well

The first time I met Peggy Stevens was at a Sherwood School Board meeting over 15 years ago. Many parents were in attendance that night, as we were given the opportunity to explain why we wanted the option of a charter school in Sherwood.

I remember standing before the board and explaining my perspective, and looking across the room at Peggy, who was smiling at me. I do not remember exactly what she said in response to my words, but I do remember having the distinct impression that she was not only listening, but cared deeply about my concerns and opinion. I was confident that she was listening to all of us and she cared.

Since then, Peggy and I have had many opportunities to work and serve together in volunteer capacities. On all of these occasions, I have found Peggy to be a kind and honest person, trustworthy and genuine. She is generous with her time and means, not only with her closest friends, but with those she barely knows.

When Peggy decided to run for state representative of the 26th District, I researched her platform and was impressed with where she stands on issues that are important to me; taxes, budgeting and education. She does not want taxes to increase, and will fight to make sure they do not. Instead, she is committed to responsibly allocating our tax dollars, balancing the budget, and protecting the resources of families and small businesses. She has the experience needed to do this, as she spent her professional career working in the financial field. She is concerned about the education of our children, and giving schools and teachers the support they need.

I am confident that Peggy will do what she says she will do. I am voting for Peggy Stevens and hope that you will too!

Heidi Cluff, Sherwood

Neron is forward-thinking and understands community needs

As a parent in Sherwood, Oregon, the obstacles that we are dealing with as a community and a state concern me: ravaging wildfires, a global pandemic and social injustices that are on the news every day. More than ever, we need representatives in Salem who care about everyone's future.

Education is one of the most essential things that we can give our children. With a school year that we have never seen before, we need to be supporting our educators more than ever as parents and a community. The impacts are different for each household, and we're all trying to navigate what that looks like for each of us.

As we push forward as a community, state and country, we need to vote leaders into office who are strong advocates for our children and families. That is why Rep. Courtney Neron has my vote.

In observing her work and support for schools, specifically around equity and mental health, I truly believe Courtney is working hard for Oregonians. She understands that the areas she represents aren't like urban Portland and include rural. She is advocating for issues that speak to me and many Oregonians.

Cory McLennan, Sherwood

Neron and Garland need to go

Hey, neighbors. Remember when we voted in 2011 and again in 2013 against the development of Brookman, slated to add over 1000 housing units to the city, further straining services and budgets, and then the state annexed the land anyway? Did you know Rep. Courtney Neron voted for the high-density housing which will affect (read: increase) the number of homes that can be built on a lot in Sherwood? (Ref. House Bill 2001)

And guess who is up for re-election and endorsed Neron? You guessed it, Sherwood City Councilor Sean Garland. These two are something else.

Garland recently supported the effort by the owner of the local marijuana distribution facilities to overturn the ban on recreational sales of marijuana within the city limits. Apparently, he thinks he knows what is best for Sherwood and does not need to consult the citizens. Or is it because he knows it will be defeated, a third time? Yes, we voted it down at 56% in November 2016 and then again by an overwhelming 63.2% a year later. And yet he was willing to ignore those votes. Ignore our voices. Aren't our elected leaders supposed to be our voices?

Then there's the pedestrian bridge Neron promised that would span Highway 99W, ensuring a safe crossing for our kids to get to/from school? Well, it's not going to happen, but she got her trade-off endorsements anyway.

Neron and Garland need to go!

Please join me in voting for Peggy Stevens. She has lived in Sherwood for 37 years, her kids attended Sherwood schools, she served on our school board (11 years) and has volunteered in our community for over 30 years. Most of all, she will respect us, our voice, our vote. Not try to overturn it or ignore it.

Vote Peggy Stevens.

Gail Cutsforth, Sherwood

Prusak knows healthcare and fights for people who need it

I raised my child and nephews in West Linn. I love this community and feel lucky to live here. But for so long, we weren't represented by a leader who fought for our health, or cared what can happen when people can't afford healthcare.

I understand it well. My mother and brother both died young. They worked hard, but they had no consistent healthcare insurance. It will always be hard to know that if they had had access to healthcare, they would have been with us longer.

As a nurse, Rep. Rachel Prusak sees firsthand the poor health outcomes we create when our community members don't have access to healthcare. She understands that it doesn't have to be this way. She has worked as a medical provider for over 20 years, so she understands the complicated system we have created, and she's committed to ensuring that we make it work for every Oregonian.

We finally have a representative who fights for everyone to have the healthcare they need. Rachel Prusak is caring, diligent, and shares my values. I am proud that she is part of our community, and I can't wait to vote for her.

Ellen "Mama D" Deeks Dimm, West Linn

Neron is looking out for people in need

My daughter owns a restaurant that has been severely battered by COVID-19. Thanks to a modest federal PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) grant and COVID-related unemployment benefits for her staff, Kelsey's small business is still hanging on and hanging in there. But who knows how long she and thousands of others can go on without more government assistance?

That's why I'm voting to re-elect state Rep. Courtney Neron. Courtney has demonstrated a willingness to advocate for small business and working folk in the form of equitable healthcare, housing, education, and pay. She understands that small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they are being hit especially hard by this crisis. She'll continue fighting for:

• Targeted relief for small businesses shut down during the pandemic.

• Better access to unemployment benefits for laid off individuals.

• Connecting businesses to the resources they need such as PPE and workforce assistance.

• Increased access to sick leave and childcare for families impacted by COVID-19.

Please exercise the most important right we all have to influence the direction of our state and country: vote. And vote for Courtney Neron. She's working to get Oregon safely back on its feet — with no one left behind.

Jane Glasser, Sherwood

Hindley is experienced, knowledgeable choice for county

Washington County is consistently ranked among Oregon's best counties to live in. Picking the right candidate for the District 1 vacancy of our county's Board of Commissioners is one step in the right direction towards keeping it that way — and I feel strongly that Jeff Hindley is the right person for the job.

With more than 20 years of professional experience in county government, and a lifetime of residency in the county, Jeff not only understands the critical issues facing our community, such as affordable housing, transportation infrastructure and homelessness, but he knows what county government needs to do to fix them.

As a youth, I also want to express how important Jeff's experience working with at-risk youth struggling with legal and mental health issues is. Having also served on Washington County's Homeless Plan Advisory Committee, I feel confident that Jeff sees the severity of the problems facing Washington County youth and will be a strong advocate for us on the board.

If you want to see someone who won't just be a politician, but a public servant, serve as our next county commissioner, I encourage you to consider voting for Jeff Hindley.

Scott Sloop, West Haven-Sylvan


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