GOP reaches out to conservatives

<I>Brian Addison/Chieftain</I><BR>State Rep. Greg Smith, right, candidate for Oregon House District 57 talks with Wallowa County commissioer candidate Marc Stauffer during a lunch stop at the Republican headquarters in Enterprise Friday, Sept. 24.

Local Republican leader Susan Roberts isn't looking to confuse anyone by calling the local GOP headquarters, the Conservative Connection Headquarters. She and a group of like-minds just don't want to leave anyone out and believe that you don't have to be a Republican to share conservative values.

Republican party leaders are using the title Conservative Connection Headquarters to draw conservative voters whether they are Democrat, Independent, unaffiliated or bona fide Republicans. And, the strategy has worked, according to Roberts.

"We've hosted some classes on how to write effective letters to the editor and to help people make their point better understood when speaking in public," she said.

The local Republican leaders have continued the practice of keeping their dollars in the community. Instead of sending their money to the national Republican Party, they've kept funds here to help with costs such as renting Cloverleaf Hall to host candidates and to pay rent for several months on the downtown Enterprise building housing the Republican Headquarters, aka the Conservative Connection Headquarters.

Incumbent candidate for the Oregon House of Representatives district 57, Greg Smith (R-Heppner) stopped in Enterprise and spent lunchtime with several county residents on Friday, Sept. 24, including unaffiliated candidate for Wallowa County commissioner Marc Stauffer, who were on hand to chat and ask questions of Smith.

Smith told the small group that he is currently working with former Oregon gubernatorial candidate Allen Alley to create a transparent state budget process. The plan for transparency involves posting the state's budget summary online so that citizens can watch the general fund and track the shrinking of government, said Smith.

Smith spoke some about the wolf plan and said that he is working on getting USDA Wildlife Services more involved with the wolf predation on livestock.

He and a group of Wallowa County ranchers are working on legislation that would bring Wildlife Services in as lead agency during investigations into wolf attacks on livestock. Ranchers also propose legislation that would allow them to protect private property, including the lives of their pets against wolf attack.

"I'm working with Rod Childers on the legislation. My top priority is to tackle this issue," said Smith. Smith added that he is going to make an effort to shift from the state's Ways and Means subcommittee on Public safety to the committee on Natural Resources.

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