I served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the early days of the Vietnam War. With Veterans Day just around the corner, I am proud to reflect on my commitment to serve our country. It is an ongoing commitment, which I take seriously to this day.
In and out of uniform, I have spent most of my life working with many brave and wonderful persons, women and men, who were also dedicated to protecting the exceptional natural values which cause me to call this place 'home.' Against all odds we, together, kept the last parts of the Snake River running wild and free. From Minnesota's iconic Boundary Waters to Washington's North Cascades, I have never stopped fighting to protect America the Beautiful.
I feel fortunate to have known other parts of our world, with their concrete and curated parks. But when my wife and I chose where we wanted to live, as our final home, we returned here — to this place, so blessed with so much natural beauty, wildness, and freedom.
That's why I support Sen. Ron Wyden's effort to protect more of our wild waters... awe-inspiring landscapes, possessing the freedom, solitude, and wildlife habitats that I have loved all my life. His proposed River Democracy Act can help us to better manage those precious places still around us: our lakes, rivers, creeks ... and the wetlands which sustain them.
If these become lost or severely damaged, much of the rest of the natural world still surrounding us can also become lost, irreparably and forever. Just gone, never to return. That's why I intend to do my best to help pass these precious places on, to our children and grandchildren.
Over the past several years, the senator has engaged with thousands of citizens and tribes, from Union and Wallowa counties to the coast and Cascades. The River Democracy Act can be a testament to what can be achieved when folks who love their special places aren't afraid to stand up for them.
Thank you, Senator, for listening. Thank you for your vision. Please pass the River Democracy Act, now.