Thanks to The Observer for covering the forum for 2nd District Congressional candidates. I'd like to offer a correction to something that Cliff Bentz, the candidate who won the Republican primary, said at that forum. To quote the paper, "He described the state's plan to reopen businesses as one-size fits all, an approach that doesn't account for the rural counties with minimal cases of the virus."

Nothing could be further from the truth. Counties were asked to submit their plans to reopen. All of Eastern Oregon was permitted to do just that. The counties in and around Portland — Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington — didn't even bother asking since they are still dealing with the pandemic. Polk and Marion — around Salem where there have been almost a thousand verified cases, dozens of deaths, and with the count still rising — were both initially denied their request. So Eastern Oregon got its due and Mr. Bentz needs to acknowledge that instead of turning a real health emergency into one more political wrestling match. If he can't do that, I'll find someone else to vote for.

The pandemic is simple to explain. It's a forest fire. There was a lightning strike off in the distance. Smoke and flames can be seen rising high into the sky with a few embers falling nearby. Some of those embers are smoldering in the duff underfoot. There's the possibility of fires starting from those sparks. Some will be put out others might explode into conflagrations if we're not careful. The dynamics of a pandemic are exactly the same, and we are the fuel. We should thank the fire crew in the governor's office for having kept us safe so far.

Norm Cimon

La Grande

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