On August 18th Central Oregonians, representing the many different communities that make up our towns, brought their heartfelt and sincere energy to a powerful Town Hall Conversation that was directed towards an empty chair for Congressman Walden. Here’s the report from one of our “Where’s Walden?!” events this summer as part of our Foreclose on Walden campaign.
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The conversation was so powerful that attendees stayed late to discuss some next steps we can take together. As one participant shares: Central Oregon is ready to move forward! The energy in the room was very serious people who were listening and eager to proceed. The sense of alienation by the congressman was felt by all who were there. We need to take back democracy. We need to continue building power in our community and work together and build stronger alliances. Our future depends on how strong we stand together. To see more from this meeting click on “Read More”.
To Congressman Walden…
Do you consider the extreme and increasing wealth disparity in this country a serious concern? When and how can we address this issue?
My father-in law, a WWII veteran, just had his VA benefit cut after his wife died. Do you support cutting his benefits instead of raising taxes on multinational corporations?
Why has the Dream Act not passed? It seems that it would be good for our country to have young, bright students attend college here.
These are some of the important questions that people in our communities want answers to. Our US representative, Greg Walden, apparently didn’t want to answer or even hear our questions.
On Thursday, Aug. 18th more than 60 community members came together for a Community Town Hall Conversation in Central Oregon. While the intent was to have Congressman Walden present to answer questions about the debt ceiling, the budget, jobs, trade and immigration, his office did not respond to the numerous requests for attendance. The sponsoring groups—a collection of statewide and local labor, social & economic justice and immigrant fairness groups—decided to hold the Town Hall anyway. After the recent national debt ceiling vote, more and more of our communities will be suffering fallout from the decisions being made in DC and we wanted to create space for the community to talk through the issues impacting our lives.
And what a vibrant, earnest and open conversation it was! Small farmers testified about how legislation that only supports corporate agriculture hurts family farmers, two homeowners talked about what it’s been like to go through foreclosure proceedings, an immigrant advocate described the experiences of the local immigrant community who face increased deportations, and union members discussed the struggles of working people in this economy. Participants asked their questions for Congressman Walden to an empty chair with Walden’s name on it. When they could, a group of panelists responded. Panelists included Tom Chamberlain of the Oregon AFL-CIO, Nancie Koerber of Good Grief America, Cara Shufelt of the Rural Organizing Project and Greg Delgado of CAUSA.
The conversation was so powerful that attendees stayed late to discuss some next steps we can take together. As one participant shares:
Central Oregon is ready to move forward! The energy in the room was very serious people who were listening and eager to proceed. The sense of alienation by the congressman was felt by all who were there. We need to take back democracy. We need to continue building power in our community and work together and build stronger alliances. Our future depends on how strong we stand together.
We closed out the event by writing our questions for Congressman Walden on a piece of paper and putting it in an envelope to mail to his office.
Do you have a question for Walden? Whether or not you were able to join us at the Town Hall, send your question directly to him at 1051 NW Bond St Suite 400 Bend, OR 97701. To stay involved in the next steps after this Town Hall email email@example.com.
Sponsoring organizations include: CAUSA-Oregon, Oregon AFL-CIO, Rural Organizing Project, Human Dignity Coalition, Central Oregon Labor Council, Human Dignity Advocates of Crook County, Central Oregon Peace Network, Central Oregon Jobs with Justice, Front Porch Group of Jefferson County and CAUSA Central Oregon
View a short YouTube video of Town Hall highlights here: http://www.youtube.com/user/OregonAFLCIO#p/u/1/6CjpF2NXxLk
View photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oregonaflcio/sets/72157627470820334/