Policy Issues

Oregon's Water Crisis

I'm a farmer. 

 

Like every farmer before me, I keep an eye peeled on the weather. I watch the seasons, I watch for sun, and most of all, I watch for rain. Especially here in Oregon’s Congressional 2nd Congressional District, we watch for rain. We are used to water issues, but what we face now is something the farmers of the past never dealt with.

 

Oregon is in the midst of an unprecedented drought, the likes of which have not been experienced in at least 1,200 years. Climate change is drying out our environment, reducing rain and snowfall, shrinking the snowpack and reducing our groundwater reserves. Experts tell us that it is only going to get worse in the short term, and we need to be prepared. Unfortunately, we are not and Cliff Bentz is only making it more and more difficult for us to prepare our homes, our communities and our district. While Senators Merkley and Wyden work hard to bring support and funding to Oregon, including OR02, Mr. Bentz continues to work against the interests of Oregonians across our district. His no votes on the  Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (https://clerk.house.gov/Votes/2021370?BillNum=H.R.3684) and the Inflation Reduction Act (https://clerk.house.gov/Votes/2022420) would have left OR02 without critical funding for infrastructure projects across the district.

 

Our district deserves more than a reactionary partisan who refuses to honor his oath to represent the best interests of the citizens of OR02. We need a representative who will work with local stakeholders, state officials, our Senators and the other members of Congress to introduce and support legislation that will provide the support and assistance our communities need. We also need a representative who understands the challenges faced by small-scale farmers dealing with water issues, and who will prioritize dealing with and has a plan for solving Oregon’s water crisis.

 

Fortunately, I can irrigate some of my fields, if the winter snowpack is deep enough, if the spring rains last long enough, and if the reservoir up-creek fills enough. If…

  

Water is life for all of us. It is not only the thing that keeps us alive, for so many it is a critical part of what they live for. From rafting the Klamath River, to soaking in the Antelope Hot Springs in the Hart Mountains, to fishing the Columbia River outside of The Dalles, water is our lives, our livelihood, and our recreation.

 

Long-term plans are being developed and adopted that will avoid the worst impacts of climate change, but more needs to be done. In the short term, we must take action to mitigate and adapt to the changing water patterns.

 

I am a farmer and a veteran.

 

If there is anything I have learned from both the Army and my farm it is that you are strongest when you work as part of a team. That is exactly what I will do if I am elected to Congress, making solving Oregon’s water crisis my number one priority and the basis for my first piece of legislation.

 

During my first six months in office, I will travel throughout the district, meeting with local stakeholders, listening to their needs and desires when it comes to water. The goal will be to develop an action plan that I can take to the rest of the Oregon Delegation to craft legislation that will provide support for local and regional projects that solve components of the water crisis. From subsurface irrigation that is under pressure, to alternative growing patterns of crops, to changing water use in homes, businesses and across communities, solutions will be most effective when we work together on locally focused projects.

 

My plan will allow us to strengthen our communities against wildfires, alleviate the impact of drought on our crops and our rivers, and begin to adapt to our new normal, together. We have the tools, the skills, and the knowledge, we merely need the political will. My opponent continues to show a lack of will to take on this problem, ignoring local stakeholders, siding with big agriculture over local farmers, farmworkers, and Tribes, and refusing to support critical funding that will help with the problem. I will make solving the water crisis through local action and federal partnership my number one priority. 

 

We will solve this crisis, together, and transform and revolutionize how we share and use water in Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District. We will meet the challenges of the 21st Century, through locally responsive innovation, community action and federal partnerships. Farmers and ranchers like me will still keep our weather eyes peeled, but with more reliable water sources than we have now. Our farms, forests, rivers, and communities will all be better off.

International Relations

We live in an interconnected world where isolationism and a lack of diplomatic skill are dangerous. The world is most secure when the United States is held in high regard, our alliances are secure and our leaders and actions are respected.  

  • After years of Trump attacking and eroding NATO and our other allies, our standing in the world hits its all-time low in early 2020, encouraging military adventurism and aggression by Russia, China, North Korea and others. Cliff Bentz campaigned on supporting this dangerous policy of Donald Trump's and that's one of the many reasons I am Bentz's opponent in this race.

  • I saw first-hand how the NATO expansion and the reputation of the United States kept Russian tanks out of Lithuania, Estonia and more, while serving as Commander, 196th Station Hospital and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe Health Facility from 1993 - 1995.

  • As your representative in Congress I will work with President Biden and my Congressional colleagues to continue to repair and expand NATO re-establish our standing in the world, 

 
 

National Security

National Service

I, for one, favor two or more years of national service for all young Americans. This is not a popular idea today, but I'll work to make it popular.

Economy

Building an economy that works for all.

  • The policies of the previous administration, including their catastrophic mishandling of the COVID pandemic have taken a heavy toll on the U.S. economy and we are still trying to recover.

  • The American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act created the sharpest economic recovery in American history and helped us get back on our feet.

  • Build Back Better has been reworked and will provide the investment in infrastructure and job training needed, in an equitable way.

  • Until we see higher wages, improved workers' rights, gender equity, family-friendly polices, support of home-ownership, and a tax code that is fair the "American Dream" will only be available to the few.

Rural Way of Life

Oregonians love the land and those of us in CD2 have a special connection to it. The land is how many of us make a living and how most of us relax and have fun. That deep connection reinforces the rural way of life.

  • Family farms are under threat from worldwide economic forces, political infighting, and gigantic corporations that would make vassals of a few farmers and drive the rest off the land.

  • When I was a pre-vet student at Purdue University in the 1960s, Earl Butz was Dean of the School of Agriculture. Dean Butz later became famous as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and advised farmers to "Get big or get out."

  • Cliff Bentz claims to be fighting for rural Oregon, but when he pushes the agenda of Big Ag it's clear he isn't fighting for rural Oregon, but against its values.

  • CD2 needs a Congressman who will stand up for the rural way of life and defend family farmers and farms against the "Get big or get out" mentality pushed by Cliff Bentz. 

 

Economy

Health Care

Health Care is a Human Right

Every American deserves access to comprehensive, affordable, quality care.

  • Cliff Bentz has declared, "I strongly oppose government run healthcare." 

  • "Government run health care" includes Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration healthcare system, medical care for the members (and their families) of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard and the health care provided to members of Congress, including Mr. Bentz himself.

  • Every single one of these is "Government run healthcare."  

  • As your representative in Congress, I'll protect all of these, and you from the willful ignorance of corporate shills like Cliff Bentz who speak of health care in sound bytes and betray their constituents with their votes.

  • Cliff Bentz voted NO, on limiting the price of insulin, betraying the thousands of diabetics he is supposed to represent. 

  • Cliff Bentz voted NO, denying care for veterans who inhaled toxic fumes from burn pits while on active duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  • Cliff Bentz voted NO, on the COVID relief package which would have denied the Central Oregon Regional Hospital System the $12.79 million it just received in FEMA funding. 

Reproductive Health

Reproductive health care is health care and as a medical student I watched as Roe v Wade was decided, and the world changed for the better. This week I join millions of Americans in outrage over activist judges stripping away the privacy and autonomy of individual American citizens and sentencing mostly poor, mostly marginalized women to wrongful pain and death.

  • In medical school, I saw women die because of illegal abortions. A dear friend nearly died, and she was rendered permanently sterile and disabled.

  • As a physician I watched women's health outcomes improve through access to legal abortions.

  • I know from many years of medical practice that the decision a woman makes is never easy, and is often the tragic end of a desired pregnancy.

  • I believe in liberty. I believe in bodily autonomy. Roe should be codified in Federal law.

I will be delighted to work with anyone who wants to reduce the number of abortions in this country. Here is how it can be done:

  • Educate girls and boys early on about sex.

  • Teach them respect and boundaries; empower them.

  • Teach them about birth control and disease transmission.

  • Support universal health care so that girls and women and men have full access to effective birth control, especially LARCs (long acting reversible contraceptives).

  • Support universal health care that includes pre-pregnancy counseling, nutrition, and health habits; that provides health care throughout the pregnancy and after; that provides care for the family. 

  • Support family-friendly policies regarding employment and social support so that the family can properly welcome its newest member.

Veterans' Issues

 

Veterans' Health

Our nation has a sacred obligation,"...to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan." - Abraham Lincoln

The medical needs of veterans are often particular, and must be a addressed in a system of comprehensive care that understands and addresses those needs, whether they be PTSD, exposure to toxic burn pits, Agent Orange, traumatic brain injuries and multiple amputations in the young and the interactions of all those with the ordinary health issues all people face.

 

  • The Veterans Administration must be fully funded, competently led, and responsive to the needs of veterans and their families.

  • To the extent services are contracted out to civilian providers and organizations, it must always be for improved service to veterans, and never to serve external interests.

  • Every failure of the system must be used as a learning opportunity so that we can better fulfill Lincoln's promise.

 

On a personal note: I get my medical care at the VA in Roseburg, and, rarely, at the VA in Portland. I consider VA medical care The Best Care Anywhere. And, remember: I've practiced medicine (and been a patient, too), in the military and in civilian practice, on three continents and in several states here at home.

Climate Change

Combating the Climate Crisis

​Rural families are suffering from climate change, around the world. Drought, fire, flood, and famine cause entire populations to flee. People who love the land, especially our farmers and ranchers, have the most to lose. We also have the most to gain.​

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy resources like solar, wind, geothermal, transmission of energy, and others are all land-dependent. Cattle may graze under wind farms; sheep can graze under photovoltaic panels, keeping the lush green grass nicely mowed. Solar panels on irrigation canals cool the water, reduce evaporation, and provide local electricity to move water into fields and pastures. Carbon sequestration in soil will become a boom industry, enriching both the soil, and the foresters, farmers and ranchers who love the land.

Forest Resilience

In the face of climate change, drought and fire will grow worse.

 

  • The federal government and states must actively reduce fuels and improve forest health.

  • A warming climate and changes in insect populations will kill more trees.

  • Fuels reductions will provide jobs, and improve our forests.

  • So will changes in planting practices with species better adapted to our future climate.

  • Agriforestry, coupled with regenerative agriculture and employing our forests and soil as carbon sinks, can improve incomes now, and the future of our children.

In Douglas County, we recently defeated a gas pipeline. This pipeline would have taken, through eminent domain, private property of rural residents for the profit of a foreign corporation. They would have built a pipeline through our forests and over and under our waterways. It was otherwise just a great idea, as long as you think that gas pipelines never leak, that the gas is not explosive, that our forests are never tinder-dry, and nobody lives there anyway. Otherwise, pure genius. The people of Douglas County won, and so can the rest of us in Oregon, if we choose to value our planet and each other.

Criminal Justice

 

Criminal Justice

  • I fully support marijuana legalization nationwide.

  • If growing and selling marijuana become about as profitable as growing and selling tomatoes, criminal activity around marijuana will disappear.  (Sales to minors must be prohibited, of course.) 

  • Hemp growing should be encouraged.

  • I fully support the decriminalization of drug use, and enabling physicians to use certain drugs in licensed therapeutic situations.

  • Drug traffickers must be pursued, arrested, impoverished, and imprisoned.

  • I support release of nonviolent marijuana offenders from prison immediately.

  • I support prison as remedial, and support effective programs to prevent recidivism.

  • I believe prisons and jails are government functions, and should not be contracted out. There should be no profit in imprisoning our fellow human beings.

Education

 

Education

Universal public education is one of the great American inventions.

  • Every expansion has created a wave of economic opportunity and economic growth. 

  • I went to college (Purdue and Indiana University) on part-time work, loans, National Science Foundation grants, scholarships, and more.

  • I graduated with debt of a couple thousand dollars.

  • It's no longer possible to cobble together this sort of thing today.

  • I support full funding of state college for any student in accredited programs, making academic progress.

  • I favor terminating any and all Federal funding for private universities that give preferential admission to children of donors and alumnae. 

  • I support universal pre-K education.

Gun Safety

 

Gun Safety

  • I've been a gun owner since age eight (a Crosman .22 air rifle). I got a Savage Model 24 .22/.410 over-and-under when I was 12. I still remember both Christmas mornings, and those same Christmas afternoons, when my family and I went out to shoot those weapons for the very first time.

  • More than 60 years later, I treasure those memories.

  • I remember my grandfather's Winchester Model 12. It is is more than 100 years old now. I remember the 1911 .45 that my dad carried during the Battle of the Bulge. He also carried it at the liberation of Dachau.

  • I also remember when the NRA was a gun-safety, gun-education group.

  • Now it's just a shill for the industry, represented by grifters and charlatans.

  • I fully support the Second Amendment.

  • I also support background checks.

  • I'd close loopholes like the "boyfriend exemption" and I'd like to assure that anyone who merits being on a no-fly list also merits being on a no-buy list. No-fly, No-buy.

  • Like the NRA of my youth, I support education, safety, and reasonable, rational gun ownership and responsibility.