Dear Editor:

By the time this hits the press, Randy Lemm, Mike Beltz and Jared Hagert will have started their obligation to serve District 20 in the next two legislative sessions. I congratulate them on their election victory. They deserve our respect as they leave their farms. They deserve our input over legislative initiatives. It has been said that the next session will be “electric.” 

Our campaign reached homes in the district from Hunter to Emerado. We visited well over 600 of them. Sometimes a young mother with a house full of babies answered the door with the aroma of the evening hot dish following them.  We could hear the thumping of frail seniors as they slowly managed to answer the door. Life hadn’t been kind to some of the households. 

A few of the conversations remain with me. A veteran bus driver thought seat belts in school buses should be mandatory. A police officer was frustrated over the lack of mental health intervention with no clear path for disturbed individuals. A mother was angry that usury levels of school loans for graduate school might pre-empt that education. 

John Pederson and I were once speechless; a young man, near tears, explained how his bullied sons needed relief at regional mental health centers to deal with their troubles. He was asking for help and few were listening. 

In each case, I reminded those that answered the door that John Pederson, Zachary Blotsky and I were running for office not for us, but for them. 

We all realize that legislative sessions can’t deliver on all problems.  It is apparent though, that after passing county support for pre-hospital medical care as well as an increase in sales tax for Hillsboro, there is an appetite for progressive action. We just proved that at the county level. It can happen too at the state level.  

It is up to us, our abilities and our time to stay engaged. After all, that is the essence of a representative form of democracy. 

Blessings to everyone!

Paul R. Hanson