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Letters to the Editor

The Observer welcomes letters to the editor. Letters are limited to 350 words and must be signed and carry the author’s address and phone number (for verification purposes only).

We edit letters for brevity, grammar, taste and legal reasons. We will not publish poetry, consumer complaints against businesses or personal attacks against private individuals. Thank-you letters are discouraged.

Letter writers are limited to one letter every two weeks.

Email your letters to news@lagrandeobserver.com or mail them to La Grande Observer, 1406 5th St., La Grande, Ore., 97850.

My Voice

My Voice columns should be 500 words. Submissions should include a portrait-type photograph of the author. Authors also should include their full name, age, occupation and relevant organizational memberships.

We edit submissions for brevity, grammar, taste and legal reasons. We reject those published elsewhere.

Send columns to La Grande Observer, 1406 5th St., La Grande, Ore., 97850, fax them to 541-963-7804 or email them to acutler@lagrandeobserver.com .

Pryce: Health care needed for all Oregonians

To the Editor:

Our members of Congress have sold themselves as champions of ordinary working people, but some are gearing up to attack the very programs that help their constituents get health care.

A staggering one in seven Americans lives below the poverty line, and the situation would be far worse without effective federal programs like Medicaid. The majority of individuals living below the poverty line in our region are the elderly, who cannot afford to lose Medicaid benefits. Cuts to this program would have a direct, negative impact on rural Oregonians, as nearly half of rural Union County has enrolled in Medicaid and has insurance coverage through the Oregon Health Plan.

Some members of Congress are talking about cuts or “structural changes” to these programs, but that is simply code for gutting them. Recently, I traveled to Washington, D.C., and spoke with Sen. Ron Wyden regarding my concerns. The senator shared that he too is concerned what the repeal to the ACA would mean for rural Oregonians.

I’m counting on our district representative, Sen. Bill Hansell, as well as Wyden and Sen. Jeff Merkley to reject the recent repeal to the ACA, which will make life more difficult for hard working, rural Oregonians.

I would like to remind our elected officials that, historically, when our needs aren’t met, Oregonians tend to elect new representatives that serve the people and our concerns.

Brittany Pryce

La Grande

Meis: Americans need health care, not insurance

To the Editor:

I am forced to write to Rep. Greg Walden through a letter to the editor because he doesn’t acknowledge receipt of constituents letters and his staff doesn’t answer phones. I’ve received no replies.

Obamacare has serious flaws. Conceptually, repeal and replace is the way to go. You’ve completely failed to fix the real problems. The greatest hindrance is blatant partisanship overshadowing the real needs of Americans: a good health care system.

Obamacare wasn’t health care reform, but insurance reform. It failed its two primary goals: not providing access for all to health care, and not bringing down costs of health care. Let’s do that.

You stated your bill will “provide the American people with what they’ve asked for: greater choice, lower cost, and flexibility.” Your bill fails at that, as did Obamacare. You also said subsidies and Medicaid are “not sustainable.” Of course not.

Insurance is not health care. Insurance creates roadblocks to the working poor and keeps many from getting access to health care. That’s where Obamacare failed. The Health Insurance Marketplace is an unaccountable bureaucracy impeding America’s working poor. I sent you a substantive letter explaining what happened to me — it took half a year to fix, even with a senator’s help — and other problems I found while struggling to straighten it out. Please look at it

Rick Meis


Cooper: Protesting is not the same as rioting

To the Editor:

The Observer’s March 6 issue toots the same old tired horn: “GOP: Future looks bright” and “Nonpartisan group rallies to support Trump.”

Mike Burton, the “local Republican” who organized the “nonpartisan” rally, says of people who don’t like Trump as president: “These people aren’t protesting, but rioting.”

Mr. Burton might note that the distinction between riot and protest is not in which party you support, or whose opinion you represent. Both Mr. Burton’s “Spirit of America” rally organized by self-styled “Main Street Patriots” and the many post-inaugural Women’s Marches represent peaceful protest — not rioting.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines riot as “a violent disturbance of the peace by an assembly or body of persons; an outbreak of active lawlessness or disorder among the populace; a hostile attack or encounter.” To protest, however, is “to give formal expression to objection, dissent or disapproval.”

If Mr. Burton is truly concerned about First Amendment rights, he should be more concerned about President Trump’s statements about the free press being the “enemy of the people” (a phrase borrowed from Lenin and Stalin). After all, it is The Observer, an ostensibly independent newspaper, which gave him an opportunity to voice his statements. I shudder to think what would happen if such an opportunity no longer existed.

Matt Cooper

La Grande

Montgomery-Jones: Time for some peace and quiet

To the Editor:

Hey, neighbors, those who enjoy the nostalgia of train whistles blowing through La Grande a couple of times an hour, 24/7. Can we compromise here a bit? You can enjoy the rumbling of the train over the tracks while I get a good night’s sleep. If you enjoy the noise so much, why don’t you set up your lawn chairs at the old train station for a relaxing Sunday afternoon listen? I bet you’d even feel the rumble, not just a couple of times a day, but a couple of times an hour.

Train whistles make about as much sense as being required to honk your car horn whenever you drive through an intersection, even where you have the right of way, to make sure everyone around knows you’re coming through. Can you imagine the acoustic chaos that would result in our otherwise peaceful community?

The era of train whistles is past, like the horse and buggy and the phone booth. Most of us have enough stress in our lives that we don’t need to add to it with disruptive sleep and interrupted conversation.

I will wait for road repairs until next year. I’ll probably find the cracks and potholes more tolerable if I’ve had a good night’s sleep.

Emelie Montgomery-Jones

La Grande