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Letter: Why I want to serve Oregon’s 2nd District

Published on April 30, 2018 2:35PM

When you’re a doctor, you hear a lot of stories, and some of them stay with you long after the appointment is over.

I can still hear one patient in her fifties, battling colon cancer. At a time when she needed all her energies to fight a savage killer, she was torn by the crushing costs of her treatment, and wondering whether she shouldn’t just die rather than leave her beloved husband in bankruptcy.

It’s a choice no Oregonian should have to make, or even think about.

There are many ways we could make health care better, cutting costs and keeping people from falling through the cracks. But there’s one clear way we could make it worse. And when Greg Walden voted and worked to abolish the Affordable Care Act, endangering the care of 450,000 Oregonians, I knew I had to do something.

I’m running for Congress because government should make people’s lives better, not harder.

Listening to my patients, I’ve heard about so many things that make their lives harder. Besides health care, people need a living wage, educational opportunities, and affordable places to live. I’ve seen the limits of what medical treatment can do for a woman with no place to live but her car.

I’ve seen students in the 2nd District struggling in schools that lack essential resources often available in other places. I’ve seen students face barriers to higher education, as college costs shoot up faster than the district’s family incomes.

Nobody should have her educational opportunities determined by her ZIP code.

I’ve seen problems, but I’ve also seen the determination of Americans to make things better. Working in a veterans’ hospital, I saw warriors who were wounded by high explosives and PTSD carry themselves across the ward to serve each other. They drive me to make this the country they deserve.

My family’s ties to Oregon are long and strong. My father came to Willamette University on a student visa, a refugee from the communist takeover of China. When he had immigration complications, he got to stay here through the efforts of Willamette’s young dean of men — Mark Hatfield.

My father went on to get a doctorate in nuclear engineering, and to send his daughter to medical school.

My family and I owe a huge debt to Oregon and America. In Congress, I will work every day to repay it.

Dr. Jenni Neahring



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