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Letter to the Editor: Civic engagement



To the editor:

A recent spate of letters to the editor have come to the defense of our Second District Rep. Greg Walden by reprimanding town hall attendees for bullying, hypocrisy, divisiveness, rudeness, and intolerance toward the man who is elected to represent us in Congress.

What they failed to mention was Mr. Walden's statement at every town hall welcoming the heated exchange, saying, "this is what a healthy democracy looks like."

Rep. Walden is a seasoned politician and, no doubt, knew that his usual polished deflection would not be tolerated by his constituents in the present political climate.

Some of those who spoke were among the many Democrats and Republicans, including myself, who used to vote for Mr. Walden when he truly represented the more centrist consensus of his district. We can no longer support his current embrace of corporate right-wing policy in health care, immigration, and the environment.

Mr. Walden is in the big leagues now as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and his re-election is mostly financed by corporations outside the district. Citizens are justly outraged and vocal.

Mr. Walden is a big boy and should be commended for facing his constituents and listening when some representatives around the country have cancelled town halls or walked out on their vocal constituents.

Mr. Walden's previous town hall in The Dalles drew barely 15 people to a small classroom at CGCC. We should all celebrate the fact that his recent town hall drew 500 concerned constituents to the Readiness Center's main hall (1,000 in Hood River; 3,000 in Bend).

Healthy democracy requires our participation. Disengagement leaves the door open for corporate influence on all levels of government. Next town hall, bring a friend or neighbor and feel the vitality of civic engagement!

Mike Ballinger

The Dalles



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