No headline.

Election season 2018 is drawing to a close. Ballots are out; ads, signs and calls will soon be disappear; life can return to normal.

For many who just ignore the political fervor until time to cast their ballot, now is the time to investigate candidates and measures.

Looking at the big picture before marking your ballot is revealing. In most cases the candidate contests are between Republicans and Democrats, measures between liberals and conservatives. It’s important to keep in mind what each group offers.

Since 2016, voters can thank Republicans for a great economy –– higher wages and the lowest unemployment in 18 years –– tax cuts, ISIS threats downgraded, better trade deals, increased Veterans choices and giving terminally ill patients the “right to try” exploratory treatment.

Voters can thank Democrats for expensive and unfriendly healthcare, air polluted by wildfires and Oregon’s foster care kids abuse, Oregon’s education is 49th in the nation, cities trashed and unsafe, PERS problems unaddressed and free speech bullying.

Your choice can be reduced to those who support jobs or mobs, freedom or big brother control, Second Amendment rights’ or promised gun control from Salem.

Intimidation, threats and violence are now daily events but the good news is that the mob strategy can be stopped.

Voting as citizens is our right and privilege. I encourage a vote for rule of law, supporting our law enforcement officers, and a return to sanity. Please join me in voting for Greg Walden, Knute Buehler and Greg Barreto.

Vote to push back on the liberal agenda by voting yes on 104 — curbing Salem’s ability to raise taxes and fees at will, Yes on 105 — repealing Sanctuary State Status, and yes on 106 — stopping state tax monies from paying for abortion.

Don’t put it off, vote early.

Annette Lathrop

Joseph

Lathrop is Wallowa County Republican Party Chair.

CLIFF WALTERS

Walters has lots to say on issues

I am writing to you regarding the coverage of the Wallowa County Chamber Forum Oct. 10 and published in your paper Oct. 17.

As a citizen, property owner, taxpayer and a voter of this county, I would expect accurate coverage on all candidates in an election.

For you to eliminate Cliff Walters from the article because in your opinion he did not have any “wings” to add is not right. He was asked five different questions, which would mean that there would have been five different answers given.

I will agree that Cliff does not talk excessively and that he is not a polished politician. He has been a citizen of this county for more than 25 years. He loves this county, loves the people in this county, cares deeply about logging and grazing, looking for ways to increase employment and affordable housing.

He has an open mind and is a problem-solver. He will listen to anyone who wants to talk to him. If they have a good idea, he will try to figure out how it can be implemented.

He did not use his three minutes for the introduction nor did he use his two minutes to reply to each question. He did not use his three minute closing.

He used the time necessary to answer the question. Cliff has a lot of experience in management, so he will learn quickly.

He is the only candidate who has entered this race with no conflict of interest. He can dedicate himself to learning this position immediately if elected. I urge you to vote for Cliff Walters on Nov. 6.

Christine Walters

Joseph

The writer is a member of Committee to elect Cliff Walters.

VELDA BALES

She takes pride in doing her best

I have known Velda Bales for more than 30 years, and during this time, I have acquired a great deal of respect and admiration for her intelligence, honesty and dedication.

She has worked hard to become the best wife, mom, family member, friend, business owner and employee.

Her life-long residency in Wallowa County has truly shown these qualities to the residents of our community.

Velda’s education in accounting and many years of accounting experience has gained her the respect of employers, co-workers and all who have had the pleasure of working with her.

She understands the importance of good record keeping and takes pride in doing her best.

Velda is honest, reliable, very knowledgeable in accounting and willing to work the long hours needed for the county treasurer position.

I believe she is best qualified to serve as our next treasurer.

Kim Stoffel

Enterprise

MEASURE 104

Three-fifths better than a majority

I am writing to strongly urge Wallowa County voters to vote yes on Measure 104. When approved, this measure will protect Oregonians from the steady increasing of our state taxes and fees by requiring a 3/5 majority vote of the legislature.

Currently a simple majority vote in Salem increases Oregonians’ tax burden.

The constant raising of taxes and fees hurt family farms and small business, to say nothing of individuals.

Rowena Patton

Enterprise

WALDEN

Offend by anti Walden column

How convenient to have the owner of the Chieftain (Oct. 10) be a guest columnist during election season so that he could give his opinion on Greg Walden’s service in Congress.

I found the piece to be a low and cowardly way to hide an endorsement for Walden’s opponent. But then again, it seems to be the way that the Democrat Party has taken.

If they would actually take the energy being used for all the negative, uncivilized, slanderous, lying attacks and turned it into useful objectives, the world might be a better place.

When there are Democrats such as Maxine Waters and hillary Clinton calling for violence against anyone who does not think like them that is not very useful to society,

And Merkley, who staged that whole “visiting detention center children who were ripped from the arms of their illegal parents” to promote his face for a possible 2020 presidential run ...

With opinion pieces like those mentioned above, no wonder the Fourth Estate is no longer a reliable, fair, balanced and subjective source of news.

Nancy Rencken

Joseph

Support Walden; he aids Trump

We are writing in support of Greg Walden for Congressional Dist. 2 because of his support for President Trump’s agenda on tax cuts for all taxpayers and making permanent the individual tax reductions, encouraging new business creation through incentives, lowering the unemployment rate through job creation, reducing health care costs, limiting illegal immigration, choosing Supreme Court Justices that interpret the Constitution as our founders intended and renegotiating unfair trade deals with other countries.

Walden has voted for or introduced bills in Congress that support healthy forests, provide comprehensive legislation to combat the nationwide opioid crisis, allow for lower drug costs, assist our veterans with their medical and mental health care and support the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE).

As the incumbent, Walden is the sole conservative vote for Oregon in Washington, D.C. His is the largest district in Oregon (it covers roughly two-thirds of the state and is the seventh largest district in the nation).

Data from the Fivethirtyeight.com reports that Oregon’s two senators (both democrats) combined voted with President Trump’s agenda only 13.3 percent of the time, and Oregon’s other four representatives (also all democrats) combined voted with President Trump’s agenda only 22.4 percent of the time.

However, the good news is that Walden votes with President Trump’s agenda 98.9 percent of the time. Vote for Walden if you want your conservative voice to continue to be heard in Washington, D.C.

Rodney and Linda Botts

Joseph

McCLEOD-SKINNER

Problems at VA on Walden’s tab

It is long past time for a new congressman. Having served as a U.S. Navy pilot, my interest is more than casual when it comes to Greg Walden’s approach to war.

Walden’s votes have sanctioned and approved our undeclared wars. After those wars have been fought, we have a large group of veterans whohave serious and long-lasting injuries.

His attending PR events and making efforts for certain veterans is laudable; however, 20 years of complaining about a broken VA and then voting for military conflict has moved our country in the wrong direction.

Walden refers to the VA as if it is a foreign body. The Congress that he has been a part of for almost 20 years administers the VA. They are to blame for its failures.

If you really want to support your troops, vote for someone who will stand up to not only the present administration but future administrations when they continue to wage undeclared wars. A vote for Jamie McLeod Skinner is a vote for that change.

John Pollard

Lostine

Boosting deficit is not going to help

We strongly believe that this is a critical time in our country. Every vote will count. Jamie McLeod-Skinner has driven over 40,000 miles in her attempt to convey her message of hope and change.

Her energy and desire to listen to the people of District 2 is exceptional. The present congressman has for a very long time not been responsive to the needs of the people. The latest attempt in leading the charge to do away with the Affordable Care Act, and especially coverage for preexisting conditions, is a case in point.

In a district with more than 50 percent of the families living at or under the poverty level, that is dangerous.

Thousands of Oregonians in the 2nd Congressional District are covered by the Affordable Care Act. So many have the prospect of incredibly tough financial times if they are not covered with health insurance.

There is no new viable legislation to replace this healthcare lifeline that so many families depend on.

We have been watching the country’s debt rise some 30 percent since Trump was elected. His tax plan, which Walden supports, is growing by around $57 billion a month.

How are we going to pay for that big $1.5 trillion tax cut? Walden wants to cut programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. He has voted five times against allowing prescription drug reimportation (at lower prices). Walden voted 14 times to reopen the Medicare “donut hole,”, which would cost seniors thousands more in out-of-pocket prescription costs.

Yes, there are things that need to change. Yes, it’s a time of divisiveness and partisanship, and still we believe we can all live with respect for each other’s ideals and values and work to make our county and our country a place that fosters those ideals and values and that considers every person’s needs.

Chris and Christina Geyer

Joseph

Work to be done on health care

We attended a seminar at Wallowa Memorial Hospital Oct. 17 on health insurance for Oregonians. We learned that the United States is 11th among wealthy nations in quality of health care, yet we pay nearly twice as much for it.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one-third of Americans can’t pay their medical bills, even with insurance. According to a 2015 report from the Oregon Center of Public Policy, most of the Oregonians living in poverty live east of the Cascades (532,000 out of 607,000), so this is a major problem in Congressional District 2.

This from ontheissues.org: “The American Public Health Association is the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world, representing more than 50,000 members from over 50 occupations of public health. APHA is concerned with a broad set of issues affecting personal and environmental health ... Greg Walden is rated 25 percent by APHA, indicating an anti-public health voting record.”

He was co-sponsor of the bill to repeal the ACA. It definitely needs fixing, but repeal would leave us back at zero. He voted no on expanding the Children’s Health Care Program. Walden is also the No. 1 House recipient of money from pharmaceutical companies.

We need an independent representative who will push for better, cheaper coverage for all Oregonians. We believe Jamie McLeod-Skinner is that person.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has just called for cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid. It’s what we have to look forward to if the Republicans retain control of both houses in the 2018 election.

Lisa Robertson

Daniel Ousley

Enterprise

Walden needs to do more for veterans

It is long past time for a new congressman! Having served as a U.S. Navy pilot, my interest is more than casual when it comes to Greg Walden’s approach to war.

Walden’s votes have sanctioned and approved our undeclared wars. After those wars have been fought, we have a large group of veterans whohave serious and long-lasting injuries.

His attending PR events and making efforts for certain veterans is laudable; however, 20 years of complaining about a broken VA and then voting for military conflict has moved our country in the wrong direction.

Walden refers to the VA as if it is a foreign body. The congress that he has been a part of for almost 20 years administers the VA. They are to blame for its failures.

If you really want to support your troops, vote for someone who will stand up to not only the present administration but future administrations when they continue to wage undeclared wars.

A vote for Jamie McLeod- Skinner is a vote for that change.

John Pollard

Lostine

MONA WILLIAMS

Former sheriff endorses Mona

I am writing this letter in support of Mona Williams for the Circuit Court Judge position. I have known Mona for several years and have found her to always be professional and compassionate working within the judicial system.

She has proven herself to be more than qualified to be elected to the position she was first appointed to when Judge Tom West retired.

I have worked in Law Enforcement for 40 years, and during that time I have worked with many judges from across the state. Mona has the qualities and demeanor to make an excellent judge.

Mitch Southwick

Baker City

Southwick is the retired Baker County Sheriff.

Law enforcement supports Mona

The Union County Law Enforcement Association is proud to support Judge Mona K. Williams for Oregon’s 10th Judicial District Court. The Oregon Tenth Judicial District Court encompasses Union and Wallowa Counties.

Many of the Union County sheriff’s deputies have worked with and alongside her since 2007 in Union and Wallowa counties. During Mona’s time as District Attorney for Wallowa County she has shown she is ethically and morally responsible, dedicated and passionate. Mona was appointed by the Governor as the replacement for Judge Russell West in the 10th Judicial District Court of Oregon on June 1.

Since her appointment, she has displayed the same ethical and moral standards, which we deputies seek and similarly expect for the citizens of Union and Wallowa counties. One of the most important qualities that Mona possesses is her ability to have a working relationship and the trust of the law enforcement community that is unsurpassed by any other candidate.

Having a former defense attorney (Judge Thomas Powers) and a former prosecutor (Judge Mona Williams) on the bench together gives a balanced approach that our local government needs.

We have observed Mona’s tough stance against offenders found guilty of crimes committed against citizens. She is not afraid to hold the offenders fully accountable, including prison time if necessary.

On more minor cases, she is willing to give second chances when and where they are appropriate. In our opinion she is the most morally sound, firm and fair-minded candidate.

We as a whole believe she will best serve Union and Wallowa counties and the citizens

Cody Bowen

La Grande

Bowen is president of Union County Law Enforcement Association.

I urge the citizens of Union and Wallowa counties to vote for Judge Mona K. Williams. I have worked with her in her capacity as Wallowa County District Attorney for nearly 10 years and have tried many cases against her opponent. It is with these experiences in mind that I endorse Mona.

I have had the pleasure of appearing in front of her now that she has taken the bench. I can attest that she is fair, thorough and compassionate to both sides of every issue.

She treats defendants with respect, and it is clear that she wants every party to have an opportunity to be heard. She is an honest person with outstanding character and integrity. Good people make great judges, and Mona is a good person.

She is the only candidate with prosecution experience. She is the only candidate who has worked with law enforcement to build a case to take to trial and keep a victim safe.

I know that when my office puts a victim on the stand, she will make sure that the courtroom is a safe place for them to testify, while making sure that the defendant’s rights are protected. She takes her commitments seriously, and is the hardest working lawyer I have ever known.

She respects law enforcement, believes in holding offenders accountable and is a champion for victims and children.

Kelsie McDaniel

La Grande

McDaniel is Union County District Attorney.

As a sportsman, gun owner and life-long resident of Northeast Oregon, I join retired Judge Eric Valentine and many, if not most, of the legal and law enforcement community, in supporting Mona K. Williams for circuit court judge of the 10th Judicial District.

I have known Mona for more than 50 years, and she has always displayed the highest level of integrity, honesty, fairness and understanding.

Having grown up and lived in Wallowa County for most of her life, She understands and appreciates the unique challenges of life in rural communities. She has and will continue to apply the law fairly to both the victims and defendants in a way that strives to create equitable solutions.

It has been suggested that Mona is not strong on the Second Amendment, which protects gun ownership rights. I can assure that nothing is farther from the truth.

She is surrounded by a family of responsible hunters and gun owners, including her own sons, and will continue to protect Second Amendment rights for all responsible gun owners.

Mona was strongly encouraged to apply to fulfill the term of retiring Judge West and was found to be the most experienced, most qualified and best choice overall. I believed it then and I continue to believe it now.

I am voting for Mona, and I encourage everyone and particularly sportsmen to consider giving her your support also.

Chuck Sarrett

La Grande

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