To the Editor:

How do we get corruption out of Washington, D.C.? Start locally. 

Money in politics is what got us where we are—unsure of our futures. Both parties take money from their donors and vote in favor of corporate greed. This is unacceptable. Let us remember, these elected officials (on both sides) get their paychecks from our hard-earned money. We are their bosses. They have to answer to us and the people are going to have the chance to be heard on Oregon’s primary day, May 19, 2020. Democratic incumbent, Kurt Schrader, is being challenged by a real progressive, Mark Gamba. Kurt Schrader takes money from corporate PACs and lobbyists. Schrader has been the U.S. Representative for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District since 2009 and has voted against his own party more than 63 percent of the time. Schrader is a proud moderate who belongs to the Blue Dog Coalition (a group of Democrats that are so conservative, they had to make their own club instead of switching parties). 

Schrader takes money from big Pharma, the NRA, the oil and gas industry, the corporate forestry industry, and voted against the $15 per hour minimum because he’d rather make money for big corporations than the average worker. In fact, according to OpenSecrets.org, in 2018, Schrader brought in $1,463,906 from PAC contributions, but only $59,700 from small individual donors. 

Schrader’s own website quotes him as saying, “everyone agrees that there are needed fixes to the ACA.” Let us also remember, Obamacare was originally Romneycare. Schrader also voted in favor of Trump’s military budget. 

Mark Gamba is running a grassroots campaign, by the people, for the people. He is currently the mayor of Milwaukie and has transformed that city. Milwaukie is now one of the most climate-friendly cities in the state. During his time as mayor, Gamba has spent time focusing on housing affordability and the climate crisis. Thanks to Gamba, Milwaukie will run on 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035. Gamba is also very aware of the problem of money in politics, “We know there are solutions to these problems and we need people in the U.S. Congress with the political will to get these issues fixed without being beholden to the corporations that fund our current elected officials. That’s why I’m running for Congress.” 

The time for change is now. We must hold the rich and powerful accountable. Vote like your future depends on it, because it does.

Niki Falardeau

Salem