Letters to the Editor for March 28, 2019

Congress should invest in working families

I noticed your recent intriguing letter to the editor regarding the pervasive poverty around us. (“Time to address poverty in America.” March 21, 2019.) President Trump is proposing a $861 billion increase in base defense spending. To pay for it, he wants to cut over $1 trillion from education, affordable housing, nutrition assistance, etc. All of this over a 10-year period.

Out-of-control defense contractors help drive up military spending. The CEOs of the top five defense firms took home $97.4 million in 2017. Only one in four eligible households can get housing assistance because of inadequate funding.

The Nurse-Family Partnership dispatches nurses to visit low-income, disadvantaged families. The nurses begin visiting during pregnancy, urging moms to not drink or use drugs while pregnant, and to cuddle and talk frequently to their child. Did you know that it has been found that when a mother smoked a pack a day during pregnancy, her baby was more than twice as likely to be a violent criminal as an adult? Even though this program ends at age 2, the kids from it at age 15 have fewer than half as many arrests on average. And those mothers had spent 30 fewer months on welfare.

While the U.S. Census Bureau lists the poverty rate of Multnomah County, Oregon, as 14.4 percent in 2018, more people live at or close above the poverty line. More than one third of Multnomah County residents do not have enough income to meet their basic needs. Poverty impacts the stability and well-being of our entire community. Our members of Congress need to reject Trump’s proposed FY2020 budget and to invest in the needs of working families.

Donna Schindler Munro, Bremerton, Washington

Calls to ditch Electoral College getting louder

Just as sure as the seasons come and go, right around election time, somebody will trumpet that it is “time to get rid of the Electoral College.” Usually it is a concerned citizen opining in the local paper. This year, the loudest noise comes from actual members of the U.S. Congress. I use the term “noise” because there does not seem to be any rhyme or reason for the outbursts except the normal pushing and shoving politicians do to get their names in print and on TV. Certainly, there is no attempt to show why or how getting rid of the Electoral College would improve the way government does business or how the lives of citizens could be made better. If the Electoral College was abandoned, what possible benefit would it confer? None that I can see; maybe it is just political rhetoric, but it is louder than usual.

Lee Howard, Washougal

Embrace reasonable gun restrictions

About a year ago I attended a town hall in which state legislators Sen. Ann Rivers and Rep. Brandon Vick voiced support for the broad availability of semi-automatic rifles. When pressed to list the possible uses of such weapons, Vick said these guns could be used for target practice and placement above the fireplace for decorative purposes. In the wake of the New Zealand massacre, which once again brings home the extent of harm associated with these rapid-fire weapons, I ask when will our public officials dare to embrace reasonable restrictions, if not outright prohibition, on such armaments?

Ellen Sward, Vancouver

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