Lenon: Wes Williams is the only choice for judge

To the Editor:

I’m writing this letter in support of Wes Williams for Union County judge. He is a man that is very capable and knowledgeable of representing the people of La Grande. I had a court situation come up and hired Wes. In every court appearance, he was well-prepared and had done his homework. He has practiced law in Union County for more than 20 years. And he did win my court case.

People in Union County should think about this: Wes Williams already knows all personnel in Union County courts. This is a positive situation, guaranteeing communication.

There is only one choice for Union County judge. I fully support Wes Williams for the next Union County judge.

Anthony Lenon

La Grande

Stever: Citizens have a right to elect their own judge

To the Editor:

In Mr. Anderson’s letter, he stated “curiously, the largest contribution to Wes is $10,000 from an individual in Milwaukee, Oregon.” If you visit the webpage ORESTAR, anyone can see that the donation was from a woman named Hazel Mucken.

This woman is Wes’ mother. She was able to raise a total of $10,000 from his extended family members and then donated it to the campaign to show Wes that his family supported him. As Wes’ campaign manager, I encourage all voters who are concerned about this to look into it or call and ask questions.

The implication in this statement regarding campaign financing is that if you “follow the money” you will unearth some hidden sinister truth. In reality, Mr. Anderson, Wes grew up on a farm with a big family who believes in him and supports him.

Regarding your statement concerning Wes’ supposed lack of respect for the process, only by running a campaign for election can the citizens be heard. If no one runs against the governor’s appointment, then the people never have the opportunity to choose who they think should be judge.

The citizens have a constitutional right to elect their own judge, and Wes, myself and many others in our community feel it is a constitutional right that we would like to exercise. This does not show a lack of respect for the governor’s appointment process. It shows a respect for the citizens’ constitutional right to elect their own judge.

Anna Stever

Campaign Manager for Wes Williams

La Grande

Knapp: Elgin City Council doing well

To the Editor:

Your article on Mr. Rutherford was about as derogatory as I have read in a long time. I’ve been pleased with the job the Elgin City Council is doing, as an ex-council member (1970s-80s). Don’t judge unless you have walked in their shoes.

Betty Knapp


Tully: Enthusiasm, hard work will make Wes Williams a good judge

To the Editor:

I’m writing to endorse attorney Wes Williams for Union and Wallowa Counties Circuit Court Judge.

I’ve known Wes for the past 41 years. We met in high school. Both sons of working-class families. Wes, one of three boys, played an important part in the small construction company his family owned.

I worked alongside Wes and his family for years. His mom ran the office, his dad was the project management and the boys provided the hands-on labor, often times after school and most always on the weekends. When we weren’t working for his family, we were bucking hay or working on his uncle’s chicken farm. Sure we snuck out to the river when we could, but we never shied away from work that took grit.

I continued to witness Wes’ enthusiasm and work ethic in college and then as a high school history teacher. Every Sunday was dedicated to preparing lesson plans, without exception. His dedication to his students and his profession wouldn’t be satisfied unless he knew the subject thoroughly.

His students responded with respect and found high school history, dare I say, interesting. He earned the prestigious award Mentor Teacher for three years.

Wes has brought the same work ethic and enthusiasm to being an attorney. He continues to be driven by a dedication to fairness and respect. He and his wife, Jen, have lived in the same house since moving to La Grande, where they raised their two children, both products of the La Grande public school system.

Wes is your neighbor. I wish he was mine. I have no doubt he will be a fair and respectful judge that will make you proud.

Jim Tully


Clark: Wes Williams will work hard for you

To the Editor:

I taught agriculture/FFA at Union High School from 1983 to 2014. Agriculture teachers always encouraged students to find work experience projects that help with career choices. One student wanted to be a lawyer. I felt he should see what it would be like, before spending the time, energy, dedication and expense going to college and attempting this career choice. I emailed Wes Williams and asked if he would be interested in this student job shadowing him.

Wes had the student fill out a resume and conducted an interview. He was so impressed he actually paid the student while he was job shadowing. It was a lot of extra work training and giving the student a valuable experience.

The student ended up working for Wes for a couple of summers and college breaks and was helpful to his practice, and he received practical experience and compensation as a benefit. Wes is a person who is compassionate and willing to help people in need.

I have watched Wes work as an attorney and while supervising my student. He is knowledgeable and articulate and works hard to ensure that his clients have a fair defense. He treats the jury with respect and ensures they are comfortable in their role in the courtroom.

Students form their work ethic while growing up and it stays with them into adulthood. It’s not something you can turn on and off as the need arises. My hardworking students have gone on to be hardworking adults.

Wes is a sponsor at the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show and works hard for his family and legal clients, and he has worked hard to be your circuit court judge. He has gone door to door, focused his time and resources, and attended many functions and events to answer your questions on his qualifications for this position. He will bring this hardworking and knowledgeable experience with him if elected. Vote Wes Williams for circuit court judge.

Dennis Clark

Yreka, California

White: Wes Williams will make a great circuit court judge

To the Editor:

About 20 years ago, I moved into a new house here in La Grande. Amid the swarm of helpful friends and the typical moving chaos, there was this upbeat guy that nobody knew who was happily carrying boxes into my new home.

He introduced himself as Wes Williams, my new neighbor. I was impressed by his warmth, his genuine kindness and his outgoing personality. Since that day, Wes has been a good friend who has also earned my respect as a genuinely good person.

In my subsequent discussions with Wes over the years I have found that this congenial approachable guy also has an incredible knowledge of the law. Fortunately, I have never needed Wes as my representation in court, but if misfortune or tragedy ever necessitated that, Wes would have been the man I would want at my side.

I will be voting for Wes Williams for circuit court judge because I believe he has the broad experience, the knowledge of law and the perfect temperament to be a great judge. Visit his website, his Facebook page, or meet him in person and I think you will agree that Wes Williams will make a great judge.

Dan White

La Grande

Larvik: Mona Williams is independent and not beholden to anyone

To the Editor:

In the name of transparency and full disclosure, the voters for judge should be aware of Wes Williams’ associations.

Wes Williams’ wife is Jennifer Williams. She is an attorney in his firm. She also uses the name
Jennifer Schemm. She is on the Board of Directors of Hells Canyon Preservation Council. Jennifer Schemm regularly represents HPCP in litigation. Her current lawsuit for HCPC is to halt a forest thinning project in the Lostine Corridor, a project that is meant to reduce wildfire danger and produce a harvest of four million board feet of lumber.

A review of Wes Williams’ fundraising disclosures shows, in rough numbers, he has raised $29,000 so far for his campaign and has spent $28,000. On his list of donors, I recognize several defense attorneys and several HCPC board members. Why would such an extraordinary amount of money be raised and spent on a local judge race?

In contrast, Mona Williams has raised $12,000 and spent $8,000. She is transparent and has no reason to conceal her associations. She has proven herself to be a judge that is independent and not beholden to anyone. Mona Williams is the best choice for judge.

Cory Larvik

La Grande Oregon

Jones: Wes Williams knows how to be tough when needed

To the Editor:

As a resident of Union County, I feel the need to share with other members of our community what I know about Wes Williams, why I will be voting for him, and why I encourage you to vote for him as well.

Shortly before marrying seven years ago, my husband introduced me to Wes. My husband is now a retired high school science teacher, having taught at La Grande high school. Wes also taught high school before getting his law degree. The two often discussed education and law. Over the years, I have noticed several things about Wes and many others that devote their time to teaching children. Wes is patient, he listens, he loves to learn, and he knows how to be tough when needed.

I had an experience about 30 years ago when someone filed a suit against me. I was a young, single mother of three at the time. As such, I could not afford an attorney. While in court, the judge presiding over the case was kind and patient with me. However, he was also firm and let both sides have a fair chance to voice their case. I believe Wes will be that same kind of judge. I have witnessed his patience and his excellent listening skills. Wes has experience in all types of law, he has a judicial temperament and he will be able to make tough decisions fairly. My family and I will be voting Wes Williams for judge.

Emelie Jones

La Grande

Hayes: Vote your conscience, vote with your heart

To the Editor:

I am a veteran, a believer in everyone’s right to the American dream and a proponent of protecting all Oregonians.

I am voting for Jamie McLeod-Skinner because she has demonstrated an ability to tackle large and complicated projects while still coming in under budget, has an empathetic heart that crosses party lines and isn’t beholden to large donors like Greg Walden is. Jamie will spend her time in our congressional district and already has plans for her first day in office. Contrast this with Walden, who seems to spend more time in other states courting large donors. It really shows who cares about Oregonians in CD2, and who cares about their own upward movement.

If you can’t fathom voting for a Democrat (at one point, I couldn’t either), think of voting for other Oregonians and their children. When my daughter was born with a rare genetic condition, and I was between jobs, the state of Oregon provided the care that kept my little girl alive. Walden wants to gut that so-called “entitlement.” Our little ones are the most precious resource Oregon has, and Jamie has espoused her deep desire to protect their right to health insurance and consider the futures they deserve. Just as I hope my children raise their kids with the same opportunities to hunt and fish in the mountains we love and call home, I want elected leaders who will provide a safe and productive Oregon to do it in.

Jamie’s largest campaign contributions have been small donations from people like you and me, and she is fighting every day to ensure she deserves those dollars. Meanwhile, Walden accepted more than half a million dollars from the very opioid producers that are killing people here in Eastern Oregon. The rural way of life supports our entire nation with agriculture products and ranching, but Walden doesn’t reflect those values in any way other than empty words. Who do we want representing rural Oregon values, a money focused radio personality, or the gal on horseback riding through town? Vote your conscience, vote with your heart.

Joe Hayes

La Grande

Vigil: Republicans will be held accountable for choices

To the Editor:

Even though candidates running under the Republican banner are trying to distance themselves from it, they cannot. They made their pact with this devil, and now they must own it. So, let’s ask what Republicanism in the age of Trump really represents.

A few simple adjectives, such as racist, sexist, White Nationalist, anti-science and ignorant just don’t suffice. Republicans now have to support the idea that a confirmed Supreme Court Justice has been accused of attempted rape and is a belligerent college drunkard, besides repeatedly lying under oath. Further, one must accept that alternative facts (aka lies) are an acceptable basis for developing government policy.

The only way a Republican candidate can evade being tarred with Trump’s brush is to repudiate Trumpism loudly and repeatedly. Failing repudiation, Republicans are deemed supporters and enablers and must be held accountable for their choice this November.

Trisha Vigil


Brown: Stop the Jordan Cove Project

To the Editor:

Do you think environmental damage the gas industry can visit upon us is way down the road? If so, look at fracking destruction throughout Colorado, Utah and Nevada and think again.

Believing that the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and pipeline will soon be approved to provide Asia with American LNG, gas corporations in these states are seeking approval to feed the beast with new wells. BLM is approving fracking permits across our public lands, while in residential areas fracking sites are as close as 500 feet to homes.

Fracking creates toxic air, millions of gallons of wastewater polluted with carcinogens and offensive noise pollution, and leaks of the potent greenhouse gas methane further global warming. Meanwhile, construction requires that new roads crisscross our most beautiful wilderness areas leaving eyesores long after the harvest is done.

Following the money reveals that Jordan Cove profits all go to Pembina, a Canadian Corporation. The price for their profit is paid by the people of Oregon, Colorado, Utah and Nevada and all life on the planet. Pembina seeks early approval for its application. Let’s urge Governor Brown, our representatives and state agencies to oppose the project and deny permits. Learn more at www.noLNGexports.org.

Sidney Brown


Haechrel: McLeod-Skinner is the real deal

To the Editor:

Facts of the day: Nearly half (46 percent) of CD2 residents live below or near the poverty level.

Of the 20 CD2 counties, 18 are below the state average ($28,822) in median per capita income, and half of the 20 counties are more than 20 percent below the state average.

In the past 18 months (since July 26, 2018), according to www.fec.gov, Walden has spent the following at five-star resorts and restaurants:

- Over $25,000 at the St. Regis Deer Park, Park City, Utah

- Over $53,000 at Brasada Ranch, golf resort in Central Oregon

- Over $17,000 at Mastro’s, steakhouse in Washington, D.C.

- Over $11,000 at the Mandarin Oriental, hotel in Washington, D.C.

- Over $10,000 at Acqua, restaurant in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, Jamie McLeod-Skinner has driven more than 44,000 miles in her Jeep, sleeping in her teardrop trailer, in order to meet — and listen to — CD2 voters. She is the real deal, a person who actually shows up and answers questions, and she will represent us well in Congress.

Please join me in voting for a real representative by Nov. 6, Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

Sandra Haechrel

The Dalles

Peterson: Consider your vote wisely, and vote for Jamie

To the Editor:

Sometimes you know right away.

I met a new friend recently at South Stage Cellars in Jacksonville. Jamie came to speak. Soon the place was packed. Voters old and young were happily there.

I met and talked with Jamie McLeod-Skinner between when she arrived and when she spoke. I was immediately at ease as if catching up with an old friend.

That is who Jamie is.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner, civil engineer, water and native rights attorney, multi-year civil servant, candidate for Walden’s’ too-long-held seat in the U.S. Congressional Oregon District 2.

Her themes were family, community, education, economic development, and “ethics matter.” Jamie delivered ideas, not buzz words,

The last time I tried to talk with Mr. Walden, he entered and left through the back door, so as not to have to speak with us. Does that tell you anything?

We have important decisions to make. Consider your vote wisely.

Douglas Peterson


Taylor: Measure 31-96 will protect for the rights of law-abiding citizens

To the Editor:

Ten Oregon counties, including Union County, will have the chance to defend the right to keep and bear arms in the general election on Nov. 6.

County voters have the opportunity to vote for a new county ordinance, Measure 31-96, the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance, which will establish further protections for the rights of law-abiding citizens.

The new law will authorize the sheriff to use his discretionary powers to prioritize the use of his department’s resources in the enforcement of state and federal firearm laws that infringe on the rights enumerated in the Second Amendment. Some of these laws include SB941 and SB917. In 2015, the Oregon Legislature enacted SB941 (the Gun Registration Act) and in 2017 enacted SB917 (the Gun Confiscation Act).

The sponsors of the insidious IP43, the “Assault Weapons Ban,” tried to put a measure on the ballot that would have outlawed a good portion of the firearms and firearm accessories owned by Oregonians. Fortunately, they failed. Unfortunately, the legislature has a duplicate bill they intend to introduce in the 2019 Legislative Session beginning in February.

However, the people of Union County are not defenseless, and citizens in 18 other counties are running similar campaigns. These local preservation initiatives parallel two statewide measures, the Common Firearms Act and the Firearms Safety Education initiative, which complement each other in this multi-pronged operation to turn every Oregon county into a Second Amendment Sanctuary.

“One County at a Time” is our motto.

Please visit www.SanctuaryOrdinance.com or www.CommonFirearms.com to find out more. There is a webpage for each county, including Union County.

Vote yes for Measure 31-96, the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance.

Rob Taylor,

Chair of the Committee to Preserve the Second Amendment


Southwick: Mona Williams has proven herself to be more than qualified

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter in support of Mona Williams for Circuit Court Judge of Wallowa and Union Counties. 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 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

Retired Baker County Sheriff

Kennedy: Make sure you know the facts about Jamie McLeod-Skinner

To the Editor:

Jamie McLeod-Skinner, the Democrat candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, would have you believe incumbent Greg Walden isn’t doing his job and that she is the answer. But a quick examination of the facts shows she’s anything but. She touts her experience as city administrator in Phoenix, but she was fired from that job after just four months. Chris Luz, the mayor of Phoenix, said, “Every department leader expressed deep dissatisfaction with her performance.”

McLeod-Skinner, per her website, says she would restrict the private ownership of “military style” weapons along with a host of other gun control measures that she calls “common sense.”

But, perhaps the most troubling goal she has if elected is universal health care. The non-partisan Government Accounting Office estimates that would cost the U.S. $1.3 trillion per year — about one-third of this year’s total budget. That will require a huge tax increase to pay for it.

And, despite her claims, Congressman Walden has been a leader in trying to change federal forest policy to allow more scientifically based timber management, and he’s been at the forefront of the battle against opioid abuse.

I urge you to educate yourself on Jamie McLeod-Skinner. You’ll find that Greg Walden is the only choice for Congress.

Ken Kennedy


Flagg: McLeod-Skinner seeks to understand people of District 2

To the Editor:

I am so excited about our current choice for new representation for District 2 in Washington. Jamie McLeod-Skinner brings a real understanding of the people of her district, and throughout this campaign, she strived to increase that understanding. In contrast, our current representative, Congressman Greg Walden, has withdrawn from nearly all contact with his constituents. His only interest appears to be courting those who can contribute to his gargantuan war chest for re-election — a war chest he has built by being the recipient of the largest amount of PAC moneys in the House of Representatives.

Jamie understands that the majority of District 2 wants affordable health care for all citizens. By contrast, Mr. Walden was one of the authors of the plan to scrap the Affordable Care Act. Had that bill succeeded, 64,000 people in our district would have lost their health care coverage.

As a retired RN who worked in case management, I can testify to the good that is coming from the ACA — a reduction of ER use, a focus on the whole patient not just a specific disease, and incentives for clinics, hospitals and insurance companies to put an emphasis on education, prevention and personal health management. All these things lead to a healthier, more productive population and a decrease in the cost to taxpayers. Mr. Walden would undo all of that.

I urge you to go to www.jamiefororegon.com. Read Jamie’s position on the issues, her family history, her education and her experience. Then mark your ballot for the best person to represent Eastern Oregon in Washington: Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

Lezlee Flagg