As of Saturday, January 21, 2017
To the editor:
With the frenzy in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, what can we expect from our native son, Rep. Greg Walden?
So far, we aren't hearing from him on an issue that may directly affect health care for over 50,000 of his constituents in Eastern Oregon.
Over 80 gorge residents attended an outdoor rally for health care in Hood River on Sunday, Jan. 15, standing in snow and 15 degree weather.
Eighty-five people submitted written testimonials, some online and some at the rally, explaining why they would not want to lose benefits they had gotten from the ACA (Obamacare).
A great many of the writers expressed fear over losing recently gained medical insurance, and fear of disqualification because of "pre-existing conditions." Our federal representatives, Sen. Jeff Merkley, Rep. Greg Walden, and Sen. Ron Wyden, were invited to attend the rally and/or provide statements about what they will do to protect the healthcare benefits of the ACA that people care about.
Senators Merkley and Wyden jointly submitted a statement supporting the ACA and committing to doing all in their power to preserve the benefits it has provided. Congressman Walden did not provide a statement, and did not acknowledge, let alone respond to, the many attempts to contact him.
With his recent appointment to chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he is, no doubt, being very careful in his public statements as he adjusts to the changing political climate in Washington, but his constituents here in his district need answers now.
His unresponsiveness on this issue as documented in various media and by gorge-area constituents, is not acceptable on an issue as vital as health care. We are calling on Rep. Walden to put his political calculations aside and make a public statement of his position on "Obamacare.”
It is not possible for Mr. Walden or any elected official to be an effective representative of his/her constituents if he or she is unresponsive.