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Readers write in about Washington County candidates, open primaries, Hispanic heritage and more.

County would benefit with Fai on board

We are now living with a pandemic, enduring wildfires, addressing racism, needing more housing, wondering what's next.

Here in Washington County, we can elect a strong leader for these challenged times as Washington County Commissioner, District 1. That leader is Nafisa Fai.

Nafisa Fai has decades of public health experience, first with the Red Cross, then local government, and now a nonprofit, which makes her who we need to work with county-level pandemic and wildfire concerns. Her leadership capabilities and experience, including leading county level team efforts during the outbreak of MERS, and her skills in community work to strengthen families and small businesses, plus her background as a refugee in childhood show that she understands complex situations, persists, organizes and leads.

That Nafisa is endorsed by a wide variety of organizations and individuals displays ability to work with many people and issues. For instance, she is endorsed by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, which lets us know she will work constructively on climate, clean water, and clean air. She'd be a real asset on the commission for working with different views on complex problems to effectively find ways to make our lives sounder and safer.

Donna Maebori, Beaverton

Hindley's qualifications would serve county well

As a District 1 resident and voter, I am casting my vote for Jeff Hindley to be our next Washington County Commissioner for District 1.

I've known Jeff for over 40 years, and he is one of the most kind, authentic, respectful, optimistic and intelligent people I have ever known. There are dozens more words I could list that describe Jeff's core values. In his heart, he wants to serve his community and to leave it better than where he started. His passion to solve our county's biggest issues — transportation, affordable housing and homelessness — is one reason why I support him.

I believe his 20 years' experience working within county government, educational background, and the diversity of his professional career make him uniquely qualified to be elected and serve Washington County. I am confident that Jeff's leadership will drive Washington County to solve these issues and create use case scenarios that other county governments can duplicate.

Lance Wilder, Hazeldale

Open up primaries to include all voters

Today, Oregon politicians draw the boundaries for their own state and congressional districts. The party in power in the Legislature controls the redistricting process, often in the political back room. In our view, politicians in power shouldn't be allowed to draw voting maps that benefit themselves or their party — a serious conflict of interest.

Unfortunately, the People Not Politicians initiative to reform the redistricting process didn't make the November ballot — but there is bright hope for another electoral reform in Oregon: opening up our primary system.

Oregon's primary system is closed to all but Democratic and Republican party candidates and voters. Non-affiliated and third party voters and candidates are barred from participating in primary partisan races. That's over 1 million — almost 40% — of registered voters that are shut out.

Our primary system is much like it was when it was adopted in 1904. Back then, just about everybody joined one of the two major parties — but that is hardly the case today. We're only one of nine remaining states with a closed primary system.

The solution? A fully open primary system. All voters should be entitled to vote in political office primaries, regardless of their party preference or non-preference. All candidates, regardless of party preference or non-preference, should be allowed to compete and broaden voter choice. Competition is good for business — and good for politics, too.

You shouldn't have to join one of the two major parties to be allowed to participate in primary races — let all voters vote.

Oregon Open Primaries is a non-partisan team of volunteers working to advance a ballot measure two years from now. The measure will replace our antiquated, preferential primary system with one that levels the playing field for candidates and gives all voters the chance to vote. See us at oregonopenprimaries.org or on Facebook: Oregon Open Primaries.

Ed Doyle, Hillsboro

Important to celebrate heritage, act in the here-and-now

Fifty-two years have passed since we began celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States.

Hispanics play a vital role in our society that is sometimes forgotten, overlooked, or ignored. Whether you identify as Hispanic, Latino, Chicano or Latinx, know that this is your month to celebrate the people who paved the way.

I come from a family of migrant workers, housekeepers, cooks, and factory workers — the jobs you say to yourself, "I'm glad that's not me." As a fourth-generation Chicana, I can't comprehend the struggle of leaving my homeland in search of a better life.

My great-grandparents, Ama and Apa, were migrant workers who worked everywhere from Minnesota to Arizona and picked everything from strawberries to cotton, eventually, settling in Oceano, California.

This drive to sacrifice comfort and security in favor of working for a better future is shared by all our brothers and sisters. We must recognize this in ourselves and continue the push for a better future, whether or not we'll live to see it.

Amidst a global pandemic, the nation's most marginalized populations are being asked to work. Farmworkers already face one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation, with heat exhaustion, pesticide exposure, and the threat of wildfires.

César Chávez and Dolores Huerta paved the way with their commitment to non-violence and spirituality that changed a nation with the United Farm Workers of America. It's up to our generation to continue their legacy and fight for our ancestor's rights. Farmworkers deserve this prestigious recognition along with respect and appreciation for feeding us every day.

Support brown businesses, fill out your census and register to vote. Yo cuento!

Maritza Oropeza, Portland

Stevens understands need for no new taxes

I have lived in King City 25 years and have many friends here. When I study the candidates running to represent King City and surrounding areas in the Oregon State Legislature, I see that Peggy Stevens represents the values of my friends and myself.

Peggy supports families and local government. She has been employed as a bookkeeper and will work to reduce government waste. She will say no to new taxes.

Her opponent, Courtney Neron has voted for every single tax she could. Oregonians said no to a sales tax, Measure 97 in 2016. Courtney voted to overturn the will of the people by voting for the hidden sales tax. House Bill 3427. She also voted for other taxes and to take away part of our "kicker."

I encourage you to evaluate Peggy Stevens at stevensfororegon.com and join with me in voting for Peggy Stevens for our state representative.

Senior citizens are on fixed incomes and cannot afford constant tax increases. I am willing to pay my fair share, but these continual increases will tax senior citizens out of our homes.

Ramona Marchant, King City

This Republican is voting for Brad Witt

The situation with receiving unemployment benefits and the Federal PUA from the Oregon Department of Employment is a tragic mess. Tragic because it has delayed much needed money to Oregon citizens most in need of it, because they have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 epidemic, and a mess due to decades of mismanagement under Democratic control.

After two months and over 200 phone calls to the perpetually busy phone number for unemployment claims help, I was losing all hope of receiving the money due me.

I called the representative for my area, Brad Witt, to ask for help. My call was returned by his able assistant Caleb. I explained the frustration of my many attempts at getting help, and he said hat he was very familiar with the problem, and that Brad and other representatives were calling for an investigation into the department.

Caleb took my information and said he would try to help me. Two days later, I had a phone call from a wonderful woman named Brittany in Salem. She reviewed my file with me, and agreed that I was entitled to both state and federal payments, and that she would see that checks for both would be sent out immediately.

Two days later, I received my checks.

I am a rare (in Oregon) Republican who basically has no confidence in our local or state officials. I will now be casting my vote for Democrat Brad Witt. He is a hero and a legislator that can be trusted. He cares for his constituents.

Vote for Brad — he is one of the good guys.

Tim Larson, Sauvie Island

Former primary opponent hasn't forgiven Flores

Candidates for Hillsboro City Council Ward 3, hold on to your hats.

Alexander Flores is the same candidate that unethically set up a fake website with my name on it and had a Salem attorney conduct an unfounded last-minute smear campaign against me in the Republican primary for Oregon Senate District 15 in 2018.

He has no scruples, so expect anything.

Monte Akers, Hillsboro

Hindley offers better path forward for county

This letter is in support for Mr. Jeff Hindley in his bid for Washington County commissioner.

Jeff and his family have been known by my wife and I for some 20 years and all the platitudes apply viz, family man, common sense, conservative values, concern for the average family, and the need for representation by the average family in the presently disarrayed political climate.

Let's be frank. There has never been anything like this before in the disruption of the political system. The separation of the liberal and conservatives with violence in the streets, murders, and lack of the rule of law and the constitution with many people concerned about the political environment, arming themselves and the double standard in politics. People are fearful and rightfully so.

This is why Jeff has decided to help the common man in whatever way he can.

Forget about the politicians that only seek power and want more government/socialistic control. Jeff is not for that. He is for the people of America, and I have no doubt that he will do all in his power to do the responsibilities of commissioner in a fair and equitable manner adhering to the constitution.

Dr. Kenneth and Sharon K. Hermens, Beaverton


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