Liberty and Justice for All!
WELCOME TO A VOTER GUIDE by small town Oregonians for small town Oregonians. This is a real people’s guide to real issues and important decisions that you face this year. Every election cycle we are faced with critical decisions that impact our communities. The coming election illuminates challenges on many fronts. A humanitarian crisis at the border, a broken immigration system, increasing economic hardship, and a continuing loss of public resources (like healthcare and 911 services) for rural families add urgency to the many issues up for a vote in November. We will be voting for all of our State and U.S. Representatives, our Governor, and many of our State Senators. Just as important, our ballots will include candidates for local offices such as Town or City Councilor, Mayor, County Sheriff and Commissioner, and Circuit Court Judge. These are the people who will make decisions ranging from curriculum in our schools to which social services get funded and which get cut. We will also vote on five ballot measures, most of which represent narrow special interests while fueling discrimination and hate. We face challenging dilemmas and politicians have opened up a vacuum in which “us vs them” seems to define our options. But candidates focused on reactionary ‘solutions’ don’t understand that rural Oregonians are much stronger, braver, and more unified than they think. We are at home in rough terrain — be it rain-soaked forests, mountains, deserts, or rocky seashores — and do the necessary work to live here, even when it is physically, economically, and socially difficult. As tough as we are, we are also full of generosity when it comes to our neighbors. When a crisis strikes we respond just as we always have, in spite of the political rhetoric that tries to polarize us and create division. In that spirit of mutual support, let’s breathe in, reach out, and come together to fight for what really matters. At the end of the day, it’s about what we share, the values that ground our commitment to living here: dignity, democratic participation in community building, and respect for any and all people who may wish to make rural Oregon their home. Such values are the steady, steely core of who we are. We hope this guide will be a useful tool as you fill out your ballot and have conversations with your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers this election cycle.