Voetberg: Let’s have more of that Dutch love!

To the Editor:

On Valentine’s Day each year, Dutch Bros donates $1 of every purchase to an organization. They call it “Dutch love.” This year, Neighbors Together was the recipient of this excellent support.

Dutch Bros not only donated money to us; they put some real labor in by working at our emergency woodlot for about three hours. Six of their people stacked wood, cleaned and did whatever was needed. Neighbors Together is very grateful for this. We will use the money to support our two food pantries, woodlot and voucher program.

Any time Dutch Bros wants to share more of that love, we will be ready to welcome them.

Hannah Voetberg, President

Neighbors Together

Morrison: Eckstein is intelligent, well-spoken and well-informed

To the Editor:

For more than 20 years, I have worked as a criminal defense attorney in Oregon. In Union County, I have worked against the last five district attorneys, including Kelsie McDaniel as a deputy DA and as DA. My concerns about McDaniel made me pay attention when Laura Eckstein filed to run for Union County District Attorney.

In addition to litigating cases, a DA must manage an office; supervise employees; advise police officers and keep them updated on changes in the law; and work with diverse people, including crime victims, judges, court and office staff, deputy district attorneys, defense attorneys and police officers. And as the county’s top law enforcement officer, the DA must exemplify the highest ethical standards and demand similar ethical behavior from law enforcement. I know that some of these requirements have presented significant issues for McDaniel.

Eckstein’s legal experience (19 years as a prosecutor, defense attorney, judicial clerk and municipal judge, compared to McDaniel’s eight years solely as a prosecutor) makes her far better qualified to deal with the range of issues in the DA’s office. She is intelligent, well-spoken and well-informed about the issues facing our county. I
believe that Eckstein would quickly identify and address internal office issues; that she understands the importance of having a district attorney that citizens, police
officers and staff can trust; that she would hold herself to a high ethical standard; and that she would expect the same of her employees and of the police.

As a former defense attorney, I am very concerned that our justice system handles cases appropriately (for example, taking into account mental health issues or youthful poor judgment) and recognizes that alternatives to incarceration (like substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment or supervision) are far less expensive and more effective in preventing criminal behavior and keeping our community safe. I find it significant that during her time as DA, McDaniel has not appreciably enhanced alternatives to incarceration. By comparison, I believe Eckstein would be very effective in developing alternatives if she chooses to do so.

We should be voting for the best, most qualified candidate. I will be voting for Laura Eckstein.

Anne Morrison

La Grande

Smith: McDaniel’s service to La Grande goes way beyond the DA’s Office

To the Observer:

My name is Calvin Smith. I am 17 years old and a junior at La Grande High School. I have been a member of La Grande Mock Trial for three years and am the current president. I am writing this because I truly believe that there has not been enough representation regarding Kelsie McDaniel’s role in La Grande Mock Trial and our district.

La Grande used to have a Mock Trial team back in the early 2000s but unfortunately it ended. Back in 2013-2014, Kelsie, along with help of a high school adviser, launched Mock Trial as a club at LHS again. Kelsie is also the regional coordinator for Mock Trial. She participated in Mock Trial in High School and that is the reason why she helped the club return to LHS. I want to be clear that LHS Mock Trial or the success found in the region would not exist without her passionate dedication.

I have come to know Kelsie as a mentor, coach and friend, and I can’t overstate how much I appreciate her service and its effect on my life. When I think of a role model and an adult figure, Kelsie hits all the boxes. She is truly the archetype of hard work and dedication. She loves her community and the students in Mock Trial.

Kelsie McDaniel’s service to La Grande has gone way beyond the District Attorney’s Office.

Calvin Smith

La Grande

Shirtcliff: Baker County DA has complete confidence in McDaniel’s abilities

To the Editor:

Union County Voters: When you cast your vote this primary election, I encourage to you to vote to re-elect your District Attorney Kelsie McDaniel. As Baker County District Attorney, I have worked with Kelsie since she began as a deputy district attorney in Union County in 2010. I have complete confidence in her abilities.

Kelsie frequently handles conflict cases that arise in my office here in Baker County. She has always handled those cases with great competence and skill. As a neighboring district attorney, I frequently work with Kelsie reviewing major crime investigations and reviewing cases. She is extremely intelligent and always has valuable insight.

Kelsie has a good reputation among the law enforcement community, and she has experience handling major crime investigations and cases. It takes hard work and time on the job to obtain that kind of experience.

Kelsie is also a good trial attorney. She is always prepared and makes good decisions in the courtroom. As a district attorney, it is important to hold offenders accountable and protect the community’s safety. Recognizing that people can make change in their lives is also critical.

Kelsie has done a good job of taking a tough stand against criminal defendants who abuse children and commit violent crimes in Union County. She has also been instrumental in shaping criminal justice policy in Union County. This has led to a successful drug court that has enabled individuals to beat their addictions and come out of the criminal justice system able to lead productive lives in the community.

The most important characteristic Kelsie has demonstrated in her role as Union County District Attorney is honesty. She always looks to do what is right in her cases, in her office and for the community. In my opinion, Kelsie has demonstrated she has the important characteristics of a good district attorney. She has demonstrated those traits successfully on the job.

I hope you will keep this valuable resource for your county and vote to re-elect Kelsie McDaniel as Union County District Attorney.

Matt Shirtcliff

Baker County District Attorney

President Oregon District Attorneys Association

Risteen: McDaniel’s commitment to Union County shows her Eastern Oregon values

To the Editor:

My name is Shawn Risteen. My wife and I were both born and raised here in La Grande. I have worked and made my career here, and this is my home. I am on several boards and am an active participant in our community.

I was introduced to Kelsie McDaniel when my wife began working at the District Attorney’s Office three years ago and got to know her when I became a member of a local club she is also very active in. I see Kelsie on both levels, as an individual and as a boss and District Attorney.

Getting to know Kelsie in an individual capacity, it is easy to see her passion and love for her job, this community and the people she serves here. Her drive and commitment to our community and her being a fellow native Oregonian shows through her in many avenues.

I am writing as a way to express how wrong it is to hear a candidate imply that the District Attorney’s Office currently does not have any Eastern Oregon values. More than half of the employees in the office are born and raised either right here in Union County or in Oregon.

Keep our Eastern Oregon values right here and vote for Kelsie and her commitment to our safety.

Shawn Risteen

La Grande