Jenson, Nelson provide compassionate leadership

Hats off to our Pendleton legislators, Rep. Bob Jenson and Sen. David Nelson, for their rational and enlightened votes in favor of protection and partner benefits for gays and lesbians. All across our great land, gays and lesbians contribute to social and civic well-being.

If they all disappeared tomorrow, those contributions would be missed.

Nelson and Jenson remind us of the days when the Republican Party was not, as it is now, dominated by the right wing, but boasted such inspiring leaders as Tom McCall, Mark Hatfield and Dave Frohnmayer.

Let us hope they are the harbingers of more sensible positions in the Grand Old Party.

Jack T. Sanders


Gov. Kulongoski demeans people of Harney County

On May 3, we buried one of Harney County's and Oregon's finest sons, Marine Lance Cpl. Dale Petersen.

This fine young man was killed in the line of duty in Iraq some four weeks ago. The outpouring of respect, warmth and shared sense of loss was nearly overwhelming, even for those of us who thought we knew the strength of compassion in the hearts of Harney County citizens.

People of all walks of life came in unity to show their support for the Petersen's family and friends. Many of us who knew the family casually, came to show our support for not only the family and the man, but for the cause in which he believed and then gave his last full measure.

This truly was one of Harney County's finest hours and made me proud to be a citizen here. Gov. Ted Kulongoski chose to attend the services.

At the first service, many of us sat in the Catholic Church in bewilderment as the man who chooses to defend abortion and gay rights policies, which are directly contrary to the fundamental principals of Catholicism, chose to take Holy Communion with those true Catholics even after a solemn pronouncement by the priest that the sacrament of communion was only for those who believe in and are professors of the Catholic faith.

I am not a Catholic, but do respect their rights to communion. Neither a church nor funeral is a place for a conflict, so we sat in silence in preparation for the final ceremony at the cemetery. After many spoke eloquently of the quality of Petersen's life and service to his country, Gov. Kulongoski took the podium in what we hoped would be a sincere recognition of Petersen.

Kulongoski's words flowed and then to our astonishment he made it clear he had no idea where he was and who he was speaking to. Twice he referenced the people and families of the Redmond-Bend area.

It was clear he was clueless he was in Burns, Harney County, Oregon, and this was the home of Dale Petersen and his family.

His speech was written for him by another and spoke to a different people and place and he simply didn't know the difference.

What were Kulongoski's intentions and why did he demonstrate a lack of genuineness? We can all appreciate good intentions and we can also recognize sincerity.

I do not know what Kulongoski's intentions were, but his sincerity, credibility and leadership were clearly lacking.

I believe the wholeheartedness of the people of Harney County was insulted and demeaned by our governor, Ted Kulongoski.

Tim Smith

Harney County

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