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Klamath Falls visit
  Walden hears of ‘over-reaching’ government
  Incumbent’s war chest is $1.8 million compared to $8,400 for Linthicum
  by GERRY O’BRIEN, Herald and News 4/27/14

     An intrusive government has been the central theme to what Congressman Greg Walden, R-Ore., is hearing across the state as he campaigns for his ninth term in office.

   “Government overreach, President Obama over-reach through executive orders is a lot of the concerns,” Walden said in a wide-ranging discussion at the Herald and News Saturday.

   “I have never seen the intensity, anger and frustration in every town in the district we’ve visited,” Walden said. “And we’ve been traveling six days, 1,599 miles, touring nine counties,” he noted.  

   Walden is being challenged by Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum in the May 20 primary. Mail-in ballots go out Wednesday.

   Meanwhile, Walden’s war chest is $1.8 million compared to $8,400 for Linthicum.

   “But I take any challenger seriously,” he said. “Dennis is a constitutionalist. He appeals to a certain subset of conservatives   . I’ve yet to hear him name any government agency that he believes is constitutional; Social Security, Medicare, for example.”

   However, Walden said he’s more interested in “getting things accomplished. You can’t do that if you are unwilling to compromise. I want to get things done and to do that, you have to work with people.”

   Cover Oregon probe

   Walden minced no words for his longstanding opposition to the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.  

   “What people don’t know is that the back end of the Healthcare.gov site has yet to be built. They anticipate of the ‘mother of all reconciliations’ coming this fall. And it could mean your premiums may go up because you didn’t deserve the benefit that you originally got.”

   Walden has called for a General Accounting Office investigation of the Cover Oregon website debacle.

   “The state has spent some $134 million on a site that doesn’t work and is the worst in the country,” he said. “I want to   know who’s responsible. Gov. John Kitzhaber’s own investigation points to the Cover Oregon board not holding meetings, or taking minutes or meeting in private. That’s not how we do things in Oregon.”

   The end result could be that Oregon taxpayers   may have to pick up the cost of switching to the federal health care site.

   “It will likely cost Oregon $5 million to switch to the federal site, and some $70 million to   fix the state site, so they probably did the right thing in opting for the federal site,” he said.

   Water pact

   On the topic of the water agreement signed by the Klamath Tribes and the Upper Basin irrigators, Walden said he’ll support the bill in Congress, but “I still have great reservations for removing all four dams (on the Klamath River).

   “It is good that the Upper Basin folks came together and I supported that. But the issue is that the agreement was reached with parties themselves, but not the public. The public still matters in this debate. The public has not yet   supported some element to this plan.”

   To that end, Walden suggested that a Senate bill may not make it through the House as one single piece of legislation — as has been proposed — but divided into sections that may pass.  

   “There are no more $1 billion projects passing Congress,” he said. “We may be able to make progress absent of approving the whole package.”

   “What I want is certainty that, when all is said and done, there isn’t more litigation (by environmentalists) over the Endangered Species Act. That will put us right back where we started. I want to be convinced that it’s bullet proof on this.”

   NSA intrusions

   When asked if he was supportive of the National Security Agency and revelations of it listening in on Americans, Walden took no prisoners.

   “First off, (Former NSA worker) Edward Snowden is a traitor. Having been privy to national security information and visiting Afghanistan recently, I can tell you that what he gave to the Russians has put our men and women in service to our government in grave danger.”

   On foreign policy, Walden took President Obama to task as well.

   “It’s a dangerous world out there and this president is turning his back on our friends. He’s not working with them or with Congress. That’s why you see Putin making noise in Ukraine, and actions in North Korea and elsewhere.”

   On other topics

   He supports the building of a gas liquefaction pipeline from Malin to Coos Bay;

   He’ll investigate whether federal funding is threatened at Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport with the loss of a commercial flight;

   He is awaiting passing of his house resolution to fund O&C lands under the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act that will ensure counties have a dependable source of revenue from National Forest System land;

   Noted that the recently passed Farm Bill also includes retroactive funding for ranchers who lost cattle in the 2012 Barry Point Fire.  

    gobrien@heraldandnews.com   Twitter: Gerry_obrien1  




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