Letters to the Editor: November 2020
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
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
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
Garland has earned another term on council
I'm proud to support Sean Garland for re-election to Sherwood City Council.
During his time on council, Sean has demonstrated the leadership needed for councilman. He's approachable to all citizens and listens to their concerns.
I feel that Sean keeps an open mind when debating issues with his fellow council members. The thing that I admire the most about him is his kindness and compassion. I've never met a more friendlier guy than Sean. He's a good man and a very devoted family man. He's served Sherwood well and I'm proud to support his re-election bid.
John Meissinger, Sherwood
Stevens is propped up by special interests
Peggy Stevens has a ton of campaign money, so be careful when reading her campaign information. She is able to pay top dollar to spin a fancy political narrative.
But, she is taking money from the very people who brought the Portland problems to small towns in Oregon like Sherwood.
I recommend that you pull up her ORESTAR page, either using the donations name of Friends of Peggy Stevens or her ID 20446. So far $135,000-plus has been taken in, and you should ask why?
A list of her donors spells it out. Big construction and development needs a new fresh voice dressed up to look like your demure grandmother. Don't be fooled. The donors are hardly small money donors who are trying to send their neighbor to the Oregon House to represent them, so they want something.
Stevens' bio states that she works for PK Property LLC, but she is more than an employee, she is a partner. And as you are looking at where she is spending the donor money, it is with campaign consultants that excel at nothing speak and empty promises. Haven't we the taxpayers had enough of that?
At the same time, I encourage you to review Courtney Neron's ORESTAR account 19466. I think you will find that Courtney is more in line with you. Small donation from people who are looking for someone honest to represent them.
Do the research yourself. Look at who is trying to buy a seat in the Oregon House. Then look at Neron's record of finding the dollars to help with the road project around the new Sherwood High School as one small example of good works, and I am sure the difference will be clear: Neron, who works for you, making sure your tax dollars benefit your community; or Stevens, who will be obligated to the big donors?
Nancy Taylor, Sherwood
Measure 110 offers a better way to address addiction
My name is Harold Bray, and I'm an Air Force vet. I'm writing because Oregon is in the midst of an addiction crisis, and I see its impact all around me. People I know and love have lost their lives to addiction. For me, this crisis is real, and it hits very close to home.
One to two Oregonians die of drug overdoses every day, sometimes while they are waiting to get treatment. This is a crisis.
Our current approach to drug addiction is not working. Current drug laws can ruin lives based on a single mistake, saddling someone with a lifelong criminal record that prevents them from getting a job, getting housing or even a credit card. And jailing people for their addiction does not help them find recovery.
Criminalizing addiction only makes it harder to ask for help, and many return to using once released from jail because they are not offered treatment or recovery services while in jail.
This November, we can vote for a more effective, humane approach to drug addiction.
Using funds from Oregon's existing marijuana tax, Measure 110 will greatly expand access to drug treatment and recovery services throughout the state. Anyone who wants services will be able to get them, not just those who have the funds or the "right" insurance plan.
Measure 110 doesn't legalize any drugs. It removes criminal penalties for small amounts of personal possession of drugs and connects people with drug treatment and recovery services.
I am voting yes on Measure 110 and I hope you will join me. You can learn more about Measure 110 by visiting voteyeson110.org.
Harold D. Bray, Sherwood
Neron is the candidate of civility
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said: "Fight for the things that you care about but do it in way that will lead others to join you." We in Sherwood, Wilsonville, King City and the rest of House District 26 are represented in Salem by a former teacher who lives by both parts of this sentiment, Rep. Courtney Neron.
She works tirelessly for students and teachers, working families, our environment and wildlife, and more, and does so persuasively and with civility. You may see social media posts and mailers attacking her as she runs for re-election. But you will see nothing from her or her campaign about her opponent that is uncivil or baseless. As was true of Justice Ginsburg, this is a sign of her strength and maturity.
If we the voters reward Courtney's passion and civility this election, we'll all benefit from her continued work for us in Salem.
Jane Bicquette, Sherwood
Business group opposes Metro measure
The Tualatin Chamber of Commerce has long supported improving mobility, investing in infrastructure, and reducing our carbon footprint. For these reasons, we are urging a no vote on Metro's payroll tax proposal.
Working families, nonprofits and small businesses are facing a time of unprecedented economic anxiety and fear. Extracting billions from a contracting economy will lead to lost wages, lost jobs, fewer services, and, ultimately, fewer small businesses. And Metro's wage tax is not just a recession tax, it's an unfair and regressive tax.
Our region's employer groups worked with Metro for nearly two years to negotiate a funding package that could work. Metro had the buy-in for a practical proposal, but it instead chose this divisive, political proposal that punishes employers and employees, forcing them to fund a system everyone uses.
Now is the time to unite around how to make the right investments to move our region forward together, not drive wedges, play politics and cut paychecks.
Chief Executive Officer, Tualatin Chamber of Commerce
City councilor endorses Hindley for commission
As council president in Sherwood, I understand the critical importance that Washington County plays in the region. Regardless of where you live in the county, it is crucial that an atmosphere of partnership and mutual understanding exists between the county and the incorporated cities of Washington County.
Washington County is not Metro; it is not Portland. It is the most diverse county in Oregon and the economic engine of the state.
We need commissioners that will advocate for and produce results for Washington County, its cities and its residents.
Jeff Hindley has shown his independence and commitment to our businesses and communities. With 20 years of experience working in county government, he knows how things work and, more importantly, how to get things done. He approaches his work with enormous integrity and a genuine concern for all citizens.
I have endorsed Jeff and hope the voters in District 1 will endorse him on the ballot.
President, Sherwood City Council
Neron is a problem-solver, not a problem-causer
The last few years have been marked by once-in-a-lifetime climate events, from wildfires to hurricanes, causing untold misery and the displacement to people worldwide.
This must serve as a wakeup call to all of us; these are not singular events, the results of freak occurrences and happenstance. These are the dire and immediate consequences of global climate change, the results of hundreds of years of man-made pollution. Anyone who still denies this is either willfully ignorant, or financially motivated.
And just as it has become clear that climate change has caused members of our own communities to become refugees, fleeing ahead of destruction, so too has it also become clear that there are only a few politicians willing to stand up and do something about it.
Rep. Courtney Neron of House District 26 is one of those lawmakers. But while Neron and her fellow Democratic lawmakers were working to address this existential crisis facing our planet, Republicans decided they needed to stage a walkout rather than help solve the problem.
We need leaders like Neron in our state House, now more than ever. Because if this last year has proved anything, we can't wait any longer. We need action now.
Alexander Graham, Sherwood
Keep Neron in the House
Courtney Neron is an exceptional representative for House District 26.
She has a heart and compassion for the people, especially honed by her career as an educator. She patiently listens to everyone, both sides, and is judicious in seeing that the taxes raised go to the most essential and needed places, like schools and infrastructure. Our children are our future. She works to secure a better future for all Oregonians.
Let us assure that she remains to finish the great work she started in Salem.
Nan Fendley, Sherwood
Neron a bridge-builder for our growing divide
I live in a rural area where most of my neighbors lean red, while I lean blue. Some of these folks I've known for nearly 40 years. But increasingly, we're on opposite sides of a yawning political chasm that affects everything from foreign policy to mask-wearing.
While there's much that we can do individually to reach across the chasm and build bridges, many significant issues that affect our lives are worked out in statehouses and the U.S. Congress. It's imperative that we have bridge-builders in our political spheres.
That's why I'm voting to re-elect state Rep. Courtney Neron. Courtney has demonstrated a willingness to reach across the proverbial aisle and work with Republican colleagues to hold accountable those that would threaten schools or places of worship (House Bill 4145) and ensure that students who experience concussions receive better care (House Bill 4140). She realizes that it's more important than ever to dialog with those of a different political stripe.
Please join me in voting for Courtney Neron. She's working to make sure that urban and rural, red and blue, and rich and poor Oregonians move into the future with a greater sense of unity — with no one left behind.
Jane Glasser, Sherwood
And what about Neron's liberal donors?
Peggy Stevens' campaign donations come from people in the area who know her and trust her. As Nancy Taylor suggests, I did my own research. I wanted to offer a different point of view.
Rep. Courtney Neron has raised over $152,000 in donations. From June to September, she received over $111,000 in donations from various PACs. The largest donations came from Oregon Trial Lawyers PAC, $15,100, and Citizen Action for Political Education, $25,200, and Future House Builders, approximately $21,000. She received over $4,000 from House Speaker Tina Kotek.
The really interesting part of these last donations is that Tina Kotek controls the funds of the Future House Builders, she lives in the city of Portland and supports the efforts to tie the hands of police. These are the very things Nancy Taylor accused Peggy Stevens of bringing to our rural towns like Sherwood. She also worked hard to pass the very sneaky sales tax called the CAT tax. For those of you who do not understand the tax, it goes like this: A manufacturer sells something to a store. It is taxed on the sale amount. The store sells it and it is once again taxed on the sale amount. If used in the building of a house, it is taxed again by the builder. One item taxed three times, and each time on a larger amount. Worse than a sales tax, and all paid for by the consumer, not a corporation.
We believe in Peggy Stevens' values and her support for the community. She has donated countless hours of service to our community and surrounding areas. She will be a responsible caretaker of the funds we contribute through taxation. She is the owner of rural property, PK Property LLC. A Christmas tree farm on her property.
Nancy Taylor has made a considerable effort to distort the truth about Peggy Stevens, and this gross error needs to be corrected.
Tama King, Sherwood
Not everyone sees the issues Neron sees
Our country is facing what feels like a never-ending amount of civil unrest, perpetuated by police violence. It has boiled over into all parts of Oregon. In fact, I can't think of a county in all of Oregon that hasn't marched in the streets in support of George Floyd.
Here in Sherwood, I was able to attend one BLM march. Most of the speakers I listened to were young Black students. It was truly heart-wrenching to hear their stories of how other students treat them — the endless name-calling from people that they thought were friends; and the normalizing of verbiage used to break them down, to make them feel like they are less than their white counterparts.
When the schools are not willing to hold students accountable or invest in professional development for the staff to learn how to address racism, I am thankful for people like Rep. Courtney Neron. She is willing to not only stand up for Black lives, but as a teacher, she understands how valuable education can be in the fight against racism, especially in the places in our community that lack diversity.
Cory McLennan, Sherwood
Stevens is best choice for House
I am supporting Peggy Stevens for state representative for House District 26 because she is committed to representing the people, us, her constituents and not her party. She cares about our families and our pocketbooks.
Peggy and her husband Ken own a small 10-acre Christmas tree farm on their property, PK Property. They grow trees to help with reducing their carbon footprint. They also drive a hybrid car and have a geothermal heating/cooling system for their home because they care about clean air and our environment.
Peggy's campaign is funded by grassroots individuals who trust her, not unions. She believes in local control for schools and cities.
Please consider voting for Peggy. I truly believe she is the best candidate for the future of Oregonians.
Susan Marchant, Hillsboro
Neron listens — and in Salem, that's important
We have been part of the Wilsonville community since 1975 and consider ourselves politically active and informed. Over the years, we have carefully followed a number of issues that affect the livability and economic strength of our community.
During the past legislative session, Rep. Courtney Neron demonstrated her ability to listen, weigh opposing views, dig deep into facts and science, and work for a positive outcome on issues. Her ability to work with folks with diverse views is critical to getting important work done in Salem.
We need Rep. Neron's intelligent, positive approach to issues now more than ever.
Tom and Kit Whittaker, Wilsonville
Stevens stands up for school choice
I am a newer voter and am excited to exercise this privilege.
As I began my research of candidates, I was impressed to see that Peggy Stevens has proven her advocacy for me and all kids to go back to school. I'm in my last year of college and am completing courses via distance learning. I have moved back home and see that another family member is having to complete her high school courses in the same manner.
While distance learning gives us more freedom with our schedule, it's very frustrating to try and build community with other classmates and difficult to engage with the teacher.
After listening to Peggy talk about school choice, it is clear she wants to work with Salem to get us back to school in a safe and efficient manner. She wants to offer school choice for kids and families who acknowledge the value of, and depend on, live-person instruction, while offering a comparable plan for students and families who don't feel it's safe to return. Her message resonates with me and my frustration with our current schools.
I'm thankful we have a candidate who listens to her community and is determined to help us get back to school. Peggy Stevens has earned my vote for state representative from House District 26 on Nov. 3.
Carter Moody, Wilsonville
Thatcher, a good legislator, would be good secretary of state too
We moved to Sherwood from Brooks about two years ago and love it here.
In Brooks, we had the good fortune to have Kim Thatcher as our representative for many, many years. Shortly after moving to Sherwood, a friend and I took the opportunity to visit some of our Oregon legislators. Kim was one. [Ed.: Thatcher is now state senator from Senate District 13, which includes Sherwood.] She was just returning from the floor, and before she even settled back into her office, she welcomed us and made time for a conversation covering multiple topics.
Kim is open to discussion, knowledgeable on Oregon and national issues, understands and can articulate the complexities of how our state and national government works, and is open and honest.
I continue to follow and support Kim because she is dedicated to the citizens of Oregon and in serving us on a good and honorable manner — even when the going is beyond tough. She is the type of person we need as secretary of state.
Carol Jackson, Scholls
Let's get the facts right on Neron vs. Stevens
A recent letter misses the truth mark about Sherwood's plans for the Highway 99W pedestrian bridge to allay road dangers around the new Sherwood High School.
Funding was slated to move through the legislature in February but was derailed by the Republicans' walkout — an action Rep. Courtney Neron's opponent Peggy Stevens supported — which killed all legislation, including this important safety project the city had worked so hard to achieve.
Mrs. Stevens strikes me as out of touch with what our city needs. She opposes the Student Success Act, which directly supports kids and has been a vocal opponent of rural broadband improvements, both issues championed by Rep. Neron. I have seen the representative in action in town halls and one-on-ones with tough challengers and watched her work in partnership with local leaders to move Sherwood's priorities forward. She listens and makes a focused effort to take every perspective to heart, knowing there is wisdom and progress to be found in the integration of different ideas and opinions.
The best leaders are those who welcome opposing viewpoints and are open to collaboration. This is what healthy democracy looks like and what we should expect from our leaders in Salem.
Maddie Gavel-Briggs, Sherwood
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