September Cheers & Jeers

Let’s kick our September Cheers and Jeers off with a well-deserved Cheers to the Camas and Washougal athletes who continue to wow us with their skills and resilience.

Over the past month, we’ve written about young sports stars who have broken school and personal records, earned No. 1 rankings from state coaches and fought through intense injuries to make comebacks this season and lead their teams to victory.

At least a few of those Cheers go to Camas High School senior Maddie Kemp, who recently kicked the 100th goal of her high school soccer career; Washougal football player Brevan Bea, who made key plays during the Panthers’ season-opener victory over Hudson’s Bay, despite breaking his leg last season; Camas High running back Randy Yaacoub, who refused to take too much credit for his three touchdowns, which helped the Panthers steamroll the Hazen High Highlanders 52-0, on Sept. 7, instead giving the credit to his offensive linemen; and to both Camas and Washougal boys cross-country teams, which recently earned No. 1 ranks among Washington state cross-country teams for their respective divisions, according to a coaches’ poll released this week.

Our second Cheers is dedicated to David Lester, the pastoral assistant for social concerns at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Camas, for the compassion he showed during a recent discussion about the church’s partnership with Family Promise of Clark County, an interfaith organization for families experiencing homelessness. The Camas church will open a day center for those families this fall. Asked about St. Thomas’ role in the ongoing care of homeless individuals and families in the Camas-Washougal area, Lester said church leaders were following a Christian call to live a life modeled after Jesus and to help those who are less fortunate.

“Communities are stronger when their members in greatest need are cared for in a loving and compassionate way. We are doing what we can with the resources we have to care for homeless families who need some support to overcome the difficult hurdle of returning to a home after falling into homelessness,” Lester told The Post-Record in early September.

The third Cheers goes to our former reporter, Tori Benavente, who is now pursuing a career in education. Tori came to us in the summer of 2017, as an intern, fresh from journalism school. She returned as a full-time reporter in the winter of 2017 and covered our education beat, writing breaking news stories and features about the students, families, educators and administrators who make up the Camas and Washougal school districts. Tori approached every story with compassion and empathy. When she decided to leave journalism and become a teacher, we were sad for us but happy for all of the future students and families who will benefit from Tori’s grace, humor and ability to connect on a deeper, more personal level.

Speaking of journalism, we should probably throw a Jeers into this editorial, so people don’t think we’ve lost our edge.

The lone September Jeers — along with our final Cheers — both go out to Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. The Cheers is for the Congresswoman’s recent No. 15 spot in the Georgetown University and Lugar Center “Bipartisan Index” report, which ranks each member of Congress for their ability to reach across the aisle. Herrera Beutler ranked 15th out of 438 members of Congress for her “work across party lines on legislation,” and deserves recognition for those efforts.

The September Jeers, however, is for the congresswoman’s recent behavior in the face of a debate invitation from the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan, voter-education organization.

According to the League, organizers had to cancel a planned Vancouver debate between the congresswoman and her opponent in the November general election, Democrat Carolyn Long, after Herrera Beutler and her team failed to respond to the League’s invitation.

We have written before about Herrera Beutler’s unwillingness to meet in-person with her constituents, and things don’t seem to be changing — even during an election season that could turn a solidly red district blue. Ignoring the League and depriving local voters a chance to see her debate in the Vancouver area seems like a bad move in the current political climate. It also makes us wonder why a representative who obviously knows how to reach across party lines can’t see the benefit of showing constituents she can debate her Democratic challenger in a more progressive, urban region like Vancouver, instead of the rural and Republican-leaning areas where she has agreed to appear this election season.