Matt Cooper

My Voice

Matt Cooper lives in La Grande.

My Voice columns reflect the views of the author only. My Voice columns should be 500-700 words or as space allows. 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 do not fact check. 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 .

Rep. Greg Walden, who hasn’t held a town hall in La Grande for years, once again crept into town and as usual, we learned about it the next day in The Observer (“Walden: Tax cuts stoking economic boom,” July 14). This time, it was a photo op with fellow Republican Greg Barreto during a visit to the “Republican echo chamber” at Barreto’s factory. Typically, Walden made no effort to meet with other voters in his district.

Walden, who backs President Trump 99 percent of the time, says the Republican tax plan has created so many new jobs that “companies cannot fill positions with workers.” Nonetheless, Walden voted for the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, which would seem to make it difficult to fill all these new jobs.

When I asked Walden if the act included funding for a border wall with Mexico and for how much, he didn’t answer, so I went online and found that the “$16,625,000,000 shall be for a border wall system” ( That’s more than 16 billion dollars. So much for Republicans being fiscal conservatives.

This same bill is condemned by the American Academy of Pediatrics, as it “strips children of protections designed for their safety and well-being and exposes more children, not fewer, to detention, including long-term detention” ( These pediatricians point out that in addition to separating terrified children from their families, “forcing children to sleep on cement floors, (using) open toilets, constant light exposure, insufficient food and water, no bathing facilities, and extremely cold temperatures are traumatizing for children.” So much for Republicans being pro-family.

Obviously Walden is afraid to meet with the voters of his district. How could he defend his efforts to remove health care for 20 percent of his constituents? When I attempted to engage Barreto online with discussion about affordable health care, he also abruptly quit talking. Why are these Republicans so hesitant to discuss issues such as health care, immigration or tax reform with residents of their district? Could it be because they represent the “1 percent” and the lobbyists from big business?

Walden has more than $3 million of cash in hand in his campaign chest (,) $367,000 of which came from the pharmaceutical industry. His billboard says “I’m working for you.” The “you” is obviously drug companies, not us.

Walden has been in Washington for too long. He rubber-stamps Trump while he ignores Oregonians. What single important thing has he done for the people of rural Oregon?

I’m voting for Walden’s opponent, Jamie McLeod-Skinner (“McLeod-Skinner looks for common ground,” The Observer July 4).