Cast your vote
General Election Day is near and our ballots and the voters’ pamphlet are here. Read it and learn about the issues and candidates. Go to votewa.gov to check out your own voter registration status, see your voting history, and learn more about voting.
Make sure you fill out your ballot correctly and, if you change your mind on a candidate or issue, draw a line through it and choose again. Look on both sides of the ballot. Then place it in the pink envelope, which is placed inside the white return envelope. Be sure to sign and date it.
With handy and free ballot boxes in town, my choice is to drop my ballot off there. The secure boxes will be emptied every few days. If it is easier, use your mailbox. It’s still free; no stamp is needed.
Be sure to vote as soon as you can. Don’t put it off!
Salley Bull, Oroville
Leading on health care
It is clear that our health care system is struggling, now more than ever, as historic weaknesses are accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic. For years, we’ve worked with elected representatives to fix the crises our rural health care systems face: patients’ access to the affordable care they need, and our clinics and hospitals’ struggle to cover expenses. Our health care system will fall apart unless we make a change.
As health care leaders, we are clear on the changes our system needs. First, our state needs to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates in rural Washington. While health care expenses increase by 2-3% each year, Medicaid reimbursement rates have been stagnant for a full decade. Health care systems lose money with every Medicaid patient they serve. By adjusting Medicaid rates to meet the current cost of care, health care will become more affordable for everyone.
Second, Washington state needs to increase its investment in primary care. We want to see improved preventive health, before illness occurs, to avoid more costly emergency and specialty care. ER visits cost more than check-ups and healthy, fresh foods cost a lot less than insulin (the price of which has skyrocketed in the past decade). Care coordinated with behavioral health specialists and community health partners keeps illness from spiraling out of control, supporting people and families as well as minimizing costs. There are many ways we can respond to rising health care costs, but we have to invest, on the front-end, in our peoples’ health.
It’s time for a leader who will work fearlessly to improve the health of all people in North Central Washington. Adrianne Moore, candidate for 12th District State House of Representatives, has seen first-hand how the gaps in our health care system affect working families, the elderly, and those who are medically vulnerable. She is on the side of community health, employers, small businesses and working people. And she is not afraid to lead on health care issues. We need Adrianne’s innovation, community mindset, and experience to solve our most pressing issues during and after this pandemic
James Wallace, MD, Winthrop; Tony Butruille, MD, Leavenworth
I suspect my letter comes well after all my fellow readers have made up their minds about this election. However, on the slim chance there are any mythical undecided swing voters, here are a few points from last Thursday I’d encourage them to consider.
Last Thursday evening showed some important contrasts between the two. We all know the critiques of Trump, so I’ll focus on Biden. I will admit, he was not my first choice in the primary. There were, in fact, few candidates I would have been less likely to choose. However, his comportment since becoming the nominee, combined with his choice of a strong, female running mate has improved my view. He has shown that he is a man who has plans to address the biggest challenges this century, and more importantly, is willing to openly admit his failures and show an ability to learn from them.
Two quotes from Thursday illustrate this. In response to attacks on his stance on crime in the 1980s: “… in the ’80s we passed 100 percent, all 100 senators voted for a bill on drugs … it was a mistake.” And again, in response to a question on immigration reform: “Because we made a mistake. It took too long to get it right.”
“It was a mistake.” How often have we heard that recently? A politician, responding to an error in judgment, admitting that they made the wrong choice? That’s what we need, in our leadership and our communities –people willing to admit mistakes, talk through issues, and build consensus.
I believe Biden when he said, “I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I’m going to be an American president. I don’t see red states and blue states. What I see is American United States.” I hope with all my heart that starting in January we can see the start of four years of positive leadership and consensus building.
Murray Sampson, Winthrop
Moore in the 12th
My friend, Adrianne Moore is running for state representative, Position 1, in the 12th Legislative District. When Adrianne told me she was planning to run against the incumbent I was overcome with joy and hope. Running as a Democrat in our district is a tall order, but it’s not an impossible feat.
Adrianne is running for this seat as a person who has spent a dozen years working with everyday, working people in Okanogan County. Adrianne has a unique ability to process new information and quickly make an informed, thoughtful decision that she can stand by and be proud of long term. In Adrianne’s social services work I personally witnessed her ability to find creative solutions to complicated and sometimes devastating problems. It’s not a stretch for me to say that Adrianne is likely the smartest person I know.
Adrianne knows that victory doesn’t imply a mandate. She’ll represent the entire 12th district, not just those who voted for her. She’ll be a builder of coalitions and an enemy of the vague platitudes that define so many feckless politicians. I can’t help but think that Adrianne’s campaign is a love letter to the residents of the 12th as well as a love letter to a brighter, more humane future. Please join me in voting for better representation and a truly remarkable human being.
Andy McConkey, Winthrop
Help the students
In September, 100 Liberty Bell High School and Independent Learning Center students participated in a day of rock climbing, rappelling and team building activities with Outward Bound. Although many of the students have lived in the Methow Valley for their entire lives, some had never been to Fun Rock or explored the trails near Mazama. This program is a collaboration between the Northwest Outward Bound School (NWOBS) and the Methow Valley School District so that our students can grow more open-minded and courageous in their very own backyard, and is funded by Public School Funding Alliance and private donors, such as those who contribute to Give Methow.
One ninth-grade student wrote this reflection about her day:
One of the parts I fear about school field trips is being separated from my friends. I hate working with people who don’t share much in common with me and my friends. Ughhh, was my first thought when I was paired with two peers who I typically don’t socialize with. I was asked to climb first with my classmates, whom I hardly know, holding me 20 feet in the air! Scary, right?
But then something interesting happened. The girl I was with smiled at me so I smiled back and the boy made a joke, and I laughed. We have something in common after all, whispered my mind. I felt a lot better and realized that I could turn this into a positive experience just by being open-minded. Although I may not choose to work on a school project with these peers, that doesn’t matter out here, we’re not in school; we can just be people and we actually have more in common than I thought. It felt amazing to get out of that school bubble, open my mind, try new experiences and breathe in fresh air.
In this last week of the Give Methow Campaign, please consider donating to NWOBS so that our students can grow to appreciate each other and the wild world around them.
Dani Golden, Liberty Bell English teacher
Young must vote
Please encourage (strongly!) the young people you know to vote in this election. Tell them that marching for the climate, for women’s rights, for Black lives, isn’t enough. They have to vote, too.
Remind the young people that democracy matters and, especially in our local elections, even a few votes can make a difference. There is still time for them (and you) to vote if they haven’t done so already. For example, we have two great candidates, Chris Branch and Katie Haven, running for Okanogan County commissioner positions.
All across the country, the Republican Party is on a mission to intimidate voters and suppress voting. Their effort is directed particularly at Black voters and voters in majority Democratic districts. They claim that they are trying to stop “voter fraud” but this is a lie. Virtually every court that has examined these claims has found them to be baseless.
Our majority conservative Supreme Court hasn’t disagreed with the facts in those lower court decisions. Instead, it recently stopped the federal courts from acting at all. They said it was a matter for the states. But just in the past week, when a state supreme court ruled in favor of protecting voting rights, the four right-wing justices wanted to overturn that decision.
Your vote does matter. It means you don’t want to give up on the idea of democracy in America, even if it is imperfect.
Randy Brook, Twisp
Since the 1970s the ever-rightward lurch of the shifting goalposts of neoliberalism has brought us a party and a president in the USA who have brazenly prosecuted fascist-leaning politics these past four years. After recently reading “How Fascism Works” by Jason Stanley (2018) and “A Brief History of Fascist Lies” by Federico Finchelstein (2020), it became clear what a dangerous precipice we are currently teetering on.
Not least, as both authors remind us, the reason why the Nazi fascism of the early 1930 in Germany became the Holocaust in the 1940 is because not enough people recognized it for what it was in its fledgling years. We are presented with an opportunity in 2020 to not make that same tragic mistake.
If Trump and the GOP win or steal the election in the USA, they will have four more years to continue their assault on democracy with yet more catastrophic consequences, and worse they will act as if they have our permission. We can stop this. Vote against fascism this November. And be ready, if the next weeks and months see democracy being held hostage, to renew the struggle against fascism in the political arena of the streets.
Danbert Nobacon, Twisp
Lunch for veterans
This year due to the COVID-19 situation the Methow Valley Senior Citizens Association is unable to have a large gathering and host the Veterans Day Lunch in the Community Center gym. We are, however, able to host a drive-through/pick-up lunch at the Senior Center.
We are honored to be sponsoring a lunch for all Veterans on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. Lunch will be available for pick-up from 11 a.m. to noon. Veterans can drive into the main parking lot and drive up to the door in the bus drive-through and their take-out lunch will be handed to them.
This is our way of thanking all who have served in the Armed Forces and for protecting the freedoms we are privileged to enjoy in this country.
If you are a veteran, please bring a guest and come join us for lunch in your honor.
Judy Tonseth, President, Methow Valley Senior Citizens Association