Oregon speaks out against Rep. Greg Walden

Apr 27th, 2017 | By | Category: 2016-2017, News

By Kellen Bulger
Staff Writer

Two weeks ago today, Oregon’s Second Congressional District Representative Greg Walden drew a chorus of jeers and other various criticisms while addressing a near capacity crowd of 500 at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center Assembly Hall.

In spite of Walden’s close ties with many of the people in attendance at these town hall meetings, like the one in Hood River, they are demanding answers.

While many see these meetings and appearances by local Congress members and senators as a shining example of American democracy and resistance at its finest, critics on both sides often point to the fact that the town-hall meetings are less effective in expressing specific policy concerns or pragmatic change, but great in being soundboards of emotion. This notion of town hall meetings serving as unique shouting matches was seen when Walden attempted to address 63-year-old and lifelong acquaintance Connie Burton, “Connie, I tried to answer you,”

The source of anger for many Oregonians is over Walden being one of the lead authors to the much maligned and stalled House Republican health care bill. Many people point to the fact that despite notable Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan’s championing of the lower premiums, the number of uninsured Americans will skyrocket.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) latest report, which was released last month, details the fact that if the current healthcare system were to go without being modified by the year 2026 the number of uninsured Americans would increase from 26 million to 28 million. However, if the Republican’s replacement bill were to be enacted this year, that number of uninsured Americans would increase to 31 million just by 2018 and be as high as 52 million by 2026.

The same CBO office whose report found the astounding increase in uninsured Americans also included that the current federal deficit would be decreased by over $337 billion over the next decade. However, as many have pointed out. the deficit decrease is mainly due to the large $274 billion tax break for the wealthiest two percent of Americans and the $880 billion that will be stripped from Medicaid.

So, when leading Republicans in the House and Senate like Hood River native Greg Walden or Salem born Cathy McMorris Rodgers who represents Washington’s fifth congressional districts are found to be constantly coincidentally “rescheduling” town hall meetings, while many of their contemporaries on Capitol Hill propose bills which would effectively eliminate their healthcare coverage — the anger becomes clearer.

This feeling of deception and a strategic dodging of one’s constituents is seen when in Walden’s meeting in the Dalles, 50-year-old Gretchen Kimsey exclaimed that in spite of her previous record of loyally voting for Walden, she will now reconsider.

“I feel you’ve abandoned me for the right, the far right… where are you Greg Walden? You have abandoned the middle way. You no longer represent many of your constituents.”

 

kpbulger@willamette.edu

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