Baxter: McDaniel works in the courtroom and behind the scenes to support community

To the Editor:

Kelsie McDaniel has served Union County well in her role as district attorney, supporting our youth and community in this role and others.

It was Kelsie’s advocacy that brought Mock Trial back to La Grande High School — an effort that she continues to support with her time, effort and expertise. As a coach and mentor for our LHS Mock Trial teams, Kelsie has helped inspire dozens of students to improve their communication skills, to be critical thinkers and to consider others’ differing arguments even as they make their own. We need more people like her, willing to sacrifice their own time and give of their skills and talents to provide meaningful opportunities for our youth.

I’ve recently watched Kelsie serve her community as a Rotarian. In this role, I’ve never seen Kelsie crave the spotlight. She has quietly gone about doing good for those who need a lift, those who need a cheerleader, those who otherwise don’t have the means to provide for themselves. I admire her willingness to be part of such a wonderful service organization.

As our district attorney, Kelsie continues to be pragmatic in approaching cases and prosecution. She is tough when she needs to be tough. I’ve seen firsthand as Kelsie works in the courtroom and behind the scenes to protect victims, to take on crime and put criminal offenders behind bars, as well as getting them the help they may need. She also understands that we are a community. By protecting the innocent and focusing on victim-centered prosecution, I believe Kelsie has the best interest of the community at heart.

Please join me in supporting Kelsie McDaniel for re-election as Union County District Attorney.

Brett Baxter


Evans: Defense attorneys are well-qualified to be judge

To the Editor:

I write to take exception to Mona Williams’ claim that “a defense attorney is an advocate for their client, but a DA is required to seek justice…” This implies that defense attorneys do not seek justice. This is false and ingenuous. It also maligns the reputation of defense attorneys who champion our constitutional rights. All Oregon lawyers take an oath to uphold the United States Constitution and the Oregon Constitution. Indeed, all lawyers across our nation are considered to be officers of the court and are thus bound to present a true account of the facts and the law, in order to arrive at real justice.

Let’s not forget that many of America’s finest heroes were defense lawyers. Patrick Henry, patriot and former governor of Virginia, who is well known for his declaration to the Second Virginia Convention: “Give me liberty or give me death,” was a defense attorney. John Adams, patriot and second president of the United States, was a passionate criminal defense attorney. Abraham Lincoln was also a criminal defense attorney and hewed his passion for individual liberty while defending clients. And Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, often risked his life to defend his clients during the civil rights era.

Every day criminal defense attorneys enter courtrooms throughout the state of Oregon to defend our civil liberties as Americans and as Oregonians. Three criminal defense attorneys have also applied to be judge in Union and Wallowa counties. To diminish them and say they do not seek justice because they chose to be advocates for individual liberties over the demands of the state I find reprehensible. Any person who seeks the office of judge should realize this.

Brock Evans, Attorney at Law

La Grande

Hibbert: Anderes already has qualities required of a county commissioner

To the Editor:

We would like to say a few words about Paul Anderes, who is running for Union County Commissioner Position 1.

What we like about Paul is his commitment to his profession and his work ethic as his several awards can attest to. He also has experience serving on committees and working abroad on crop and livestock operations in Switzerland and Australia. He headed up the Oregon FFA State Convention held in La Grande in 1997 and 2010. All of which required organizational skills.

Paul is not only a full-time teacher but also runs a couple of businesses that allow him to work with our natural resources, our forests. Paul would like to create an environment to attract and keep businesses in our county.

In the voter’s pamphlet under “opportunities,” Paul lists several things he would strive to work toward — but he is already doing them. He shows his students how to formulate a plan, execute that plan and work to make it succeed. He already is respectful to all those around him, kids and adults alike, and listens to what they have to say. He already is giving his students the skills they need to succeed in everyday life: hard work, steadiness and a commitment to see the job completed. This also relates for students who choose some kind of technical skills or college. All are supported by Paul.

Paul teaches lifelong lessons to his students. The programs he teaches are for their future and in turn for our future. These kids will be our leaders someday. They need to have stable jobs and a safe community to raise their families. They will succeed because they learned it from the best.

Paul already supports our local law enforcement and has a deep respect for our elderly citizens. He would use these “opportunities” for all of Union County. Paul wants the local government to be a support to the citizens.

We urge you to vote for Paul Anderes because he will be our “champion,” “cheerleader” and “advocate” for all.

Dallas and Cheryl Hibbert

La Grande

Hawkins: Eckstein will provide law enforcement the support they need

To the Editor:

I am writing to show my support for Laura Eckstein for Union County District Attorney.

After being in law enforcement for approximately 30 years, I know the importance of having a district attorney who has confidence and is supportive, knowledgeable and willing to work for the citizens and law enforcement.

During the majority of my career I was a criminal investigator working on numerous homicide teams, several federal and state drug task forces, working major sex abuse cases, and many other lesser included criminal cases.

For most of my career I was privileged to work with many fine district attorneys and federal prosecutors. But unfortunately I had an experience working with a district attorney who didn’t always support law enforcement. Therefore on occasion if that DA gave advice on a criminal case and then if that decision became unpopular, the DA would deny all, make excuses or lay the blame on the investigator. If a case became the slightest bit complicated, the office would call upon the state Attorney General’s office to assign a special prosecutor to handle it.

It sounds as though the AG’s office has been asked to come to Union County more than normal to handle criminal cases. I’m not saying that the AG’s office shouldn’t be called upon to provide assistance on death penalty homicide cases or other extremely complicated cases where the DA may need another level of expertise. However, the local DA should have the confidence, experience and knowledge to handle most complicated cases without plea bargaining it away or calling on another prosecutor to do it for them.

I have listened to Eckstein present herself to several groups since she announced her candidacy for district attorney. I researched her experience in the criminal justice system and was impressed. I have talked to individuals who have watched her work in the Elgin court system, finding that they were impressed. I feel that Eckstein will provide the law enforcement community more support than what they are currently getting.

I feel Laura Eckstein has the confidence, knowledge and experience to be Union County District Attorney.

Fred Hawkins