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Ridin’, ropin’, and listening: Crooked River Roundup, Prideville, and more.

We went to Prineville and Redmond, Oregon, on our campaign trail, .

First night in Prineville, the Cowboy Capitol of Oregon, we took in the Crooked River Round-up, and it was a blast. The animals and the humans were all remarkable athletes.

For me, the most impressive performance was barrel racing by Amberley Snyder. Amberly is paralyzed from the waist down but is still a professional barrel racer—and her performance was marvelous. (Check out “Walk Ride Rodeo,” on Netflix.)

I loved talking with the crowd at the rodeo, too. Too often our elected officials spend their time talking at their constituents, instead of listening to them. We spent the whole weekend, mostly listening, both at the rodeo, and in the days that followed.

Saturday and Sunday, I had the opportunity to learn a lot from the good people at the Rural Organizing Project. (This is a nonpartisan group, and while my values are definitely aligned with theirs, I was there as a rural Oregonian, not a candidate.)

On Saturday we attended a rally protesting the SCOTUS decision ending the protections of Roe v. Wade. That involved some seriously heavy duty listening, as people related their stories about how their rights were protected, or--depending on the generation—how their rights were horribly violated before the 1973 Roe V wade decision. So, naturally, people had opinions.

I am even more resolved to enshrine the protections of Roe into law when I am your representative in Congress.

Sunday was a Pride festival in Prineville. The weather was very hot, but “Prideville” was held in a park under trees, with cooling mists for people and animals, lots of water available, great music, and very friendly folks. At other Pride events around the nation, there were confrontations when opponents of gay rights showed up, some of them actually armed. We saw none of that at Prideville. Instead, we saw people living their best lives, as themselves and enjoying a Sunday afternoon together. Kudos, huzzah, and yay, Prineville!

I talked to a few folks about healthcare, and how rural hospitals are struggling. We stopped by St. Charles Hospital, which is part of Central Oregon’s Regional Hospital System, which recently received $12.79 million in FEMA grants to help them recover from COVID. That money came from the $1.9 trillion dollar COVID recovery act, which my opponent voted against.

All in all, it was a great listening to, and spending time with folks throughout Deschutes and Crook Counties. We got to see lots of friendly, interesting, and interested people who just want to enjoy the blessings of liberty that our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution are supposed to secure us. And I renewed my dedication to making sure that that happens.

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