I understand from the articles on the League of Women Voters of Umpqua Valley forum that Senator Heard is not attending the forum on Tuesday due to a scheduling conflict with a tour of wildfire lands. I respect that. Our legislators must be informed and connected to the issues and people of the district. The mega-fires of our region have shaped our lands, our economies and our lives, calling for a review of our management practices as we contemplate the path forward.
It was with that same mission in mind that I made several trips to the area in and around the Klondike and Taylor Creek fires during the height of the blaze, last month. My inquiry via incident command meeting attendance, hosting open discussions on the topic in three towns, briefing from federal incident leadership, listening to local wild- and civil fire fighters and chief, local emergency response leadership, traveling wildfire fighters, residents, county commissioners, airport operations, community and business leaders, as well as experiencing conducting business and life in a smoke-choked town, was informative. I know for me, as an aspiring senator, it was time well spent, and I’m comforted to know that Sen. Heard will be getting up to speed on this formative topic during his Tuesday evening tour.
Out of deference to his busy schedule (there were 7 additional dates for forums in Douglas, Curry and Coos Counties that Sen. Heard was not available for or otherwise chose not to attend), I am making myself available for public debate or forum with Sen. Heard at any time that works for him. His staff can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my cell at 541-290-0418.
He need only name the place and time. I will be there ... with bells on.