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Jefferson County Fair, Crooked River Ranch and new friends...

20220723. Day 1. Theme music: Chris LeDoux’s County Fair

Left home at dawn. Said goodbye to my old dog, because he’s so decrepit, I never know when it’s the last. All he cared about was breakfast, so that’s good.

On the road to Madras we stopped off at the Crooked River High Bridge and saw some bungee jumpers, got just close enough to the edge of the gorge, but made sure to heed the sign.

Arrived with Hogan at the Jefferson County Fair. We worked at the Democrats’ booth and toured the fair. Had great conversations with folks from the VFW, including a Vietnam veteran who came into the Army as I did, volunteering. But the Army trained him in maintaining small arms, and the Army trained me in medicine. We both loved the Army and still do.

Hogan and I met wonderful people in small businesses, and we met a library board member who gave me a copy of A Generous Nature: Lives Transformed by Oregon, which I skipped with delight and have started reading after getting back home. While enjoying some amazing food, we met people in service organizations, and nurses. Turns out, St. Charles Health System took the unprecedented step of declaring “crisis standards of care” at all four of their locations a week earlier. The health care systems of the region are still overwhelmed. The federal government is propping up local systems but needs to do more. The St. Charles system received millions recently, despite Bentz voting against the funding, but they still face nursing shortages, financial deficits and facilities challenges.

We need universal health care, and we need education of more nurses.

After the fair, we drove to the home of our hosts Jim and Michele Gemelas for a get-together and a delicious dinner. Our hosts and another guest are U.S. Public Health Service officers who have devoted years to the Indian Health Service in multiple locations. I learned a lot about their experiences and about the past achievements and present and future initiatives to improve public health on the Warm Springs Reservation and the surrounding community. I trot out my favorite Disraeli quote, etched in my memory in 1968: “The health of the people is really the foundation upon which all their happiness and all their powers as a state depend.” Jim, Michele and their colleagues have helped to build that health and lay the foundation for the happiness and powers of all they have touched.

20220724. Day 2. Theme music: Willie Nelson Living in the Promised Land

Next morning, we met a few more neighbors. One physician gave me copies of two of his books, for which I am grateful. We talked about the critical importance of nurturing of our youngest children, lest they lose the capacities for empathy and love; Donald Trump, his terrible childhood and his monstrous nature are an example.

We drove to Crooked River Ranch. The local Emeritus Democrat arranged a meet and greet fundraiser, so I got to chat with folks, and share concerns, hopes and dreams. Lawrence Jones running for Oregon House District 59 showed up; we all told him he can WIN!

Then, it was pointed out to me that Jamie McLeod-Skinner has snuck in and was in the back of the crowd.

I was kinda star-struck.

Jamie is a formidable candidate and intrepid campaigner, just coming off a two-week stint, and near-sleepless, but she took the time to boost our campaign. Thanks and RESPECT to her. The grit, determination and loyalty shown by Jamie exemplifies the Oregon Way of Life and makes me proud to be running to represent the people of ORD2. The afternoon wrapped up with more good conversation and then Hogan and I back on the road again, headed home. Until our next adventure…

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