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The Columbia County Spotlight also publishes reader letters regarding the upcoming Nov. 8 election.

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.

Vaccine shouldn't be required to serve country

Recruitment to join the six branches of military service is reported to be way down. Even so, the Biden administration is set to wash out thousands of qualified, in many cases battle-hardened, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.

The rule extends to the Coast Guard, where the service is set to lose 2,632 servicemen.

Among them is 18-year-veteran Aviation Survival Technician, Second Class, Zach Loesch. Zach is a rescue swimmer recently deployed in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

While this mission gained national attention when the president called to thank him, it by no means is the most dangerous mission that rescue swimmers experience on a daily basis off the coasts of Alaska, Hawaii and the continental United States.

Where the Columbia River meets the Pacific is well known as the most dangerous bar in the world. Hundreds of ships have been lost. Coast Guard rescue swimmers stationed out of Astoria, Oregon, have dropped into the frigid, often stormy waters regularly over the years to save fishermen, merchant sailors, even recreational swimmers swept out by riptides.

The intense training rescue swimmers go through guarantees they will risk their lives without a second thought.

To lose any of the 280 elite rescue swimmers (who survived the Coast Guard training with its 73% attrition rate) because they refuse to take the vaccine for COVID is a tragedy and a national loss.

Rescue swimmers don't have to be bullied to leave the choppers to save lives. Why should they be bullied to take a vaccine that they don't want that doesn't even stop the spread?

Is it really the principle of the thing?

Wayne Mayo, Scappoose

Former county election supervisor backs Klug for clerk

I wholeheartedly endorse the election of Debbie Klug as your Columbia County clerk.

I've known Debbie since 2006 and worked with her until my retirement in 2014. I know her to be very conscientious, hard working and willing to help the public navigate the Clerk's Office records and services.

She is working on bringing the Clerk's Office into the 21st century.

Since she was appointed to her position, she has made many changes to the Clerk's Office. She has implemented online marriage applications, instituted the processing of debit and credit cards, is working on digitizing old microfiche and deed records, and is placing a searchable index online.

She will continue to make sure our election system and voting methods remain secure, fair, honest and open to the public.

Please mark your ballot for Debbie Klug, Columbia County clerk.

Pam Benham, St. Helens

Pixley deserves reelection as county sheriff

I am not accustomed to making statements in support of election issues, but Sheriff Brian Pixley is worthy of making an exception. I have known Brian for 15-plus years through Boy Scouts that both our children participated in, local events and mutual friends.

I cannot put into words the gratitude my family has for all of our law enforcement personnel past and present.

I grew up in a family with my dad serving as a deputy sheriff and a Oregon state patrolman for over 36 years combined. It's a tough job. Brian has put his safety on the line for me, my family, neighbors, friends, my tenants and the whole community. He has shown up on regular calls and life and death calls, all the time staying calm, collected, ready to serve and protect.

I cannot think of an individual better suited to be our Columbia County sheriff than Brian Pixley. He has my full support, and I would urge you to take a close look at all he has accomplished in his career and who he is.

Bart Grabhorn, Scappoose

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