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Our friend Congressman Walden

by KBC 8/18/04

Last fall he came to visit us in a hay barn with his baseball cap and a smile and a lot of stories to tell us. They weren't tales about things he'd read or things he wanted us to believe. They were things he'd seen.

Congressman Walden had just returned from Iraq. He was not going to take anyone's word for what was happening over there; he had to see for himself. His words last October were:  the troops "believe in the mission....we did the right thing....They thought 90-95% of the people of Iraq want to have us there. They also believe and told us that the Iraqis were pleased and thankful for what we did to liberate them from brutal, brutal, decades after decades of a dictator who repressed them, who murdered them, over 300,000 Iraqis were murdered by this dictator Saddam Hussein....there are hundreds of mass graves..."

"He took about 75% of the revenues of the country for him and his sons...one palace is 22 square miles"...Saddam spent about all his money on procuring weapons. He had a cache of 1083 weapons, "the largest is 32 square kilometers of weapons.  "The people in Iraq still live in fear that we will leave and Saddam will come back."

He also told us last fall about the fires burning up Oregon...the fires he saw for himself, in the state he represents--the devastation of resources, wildlife, homes, the economy, and people. He was a forrunner in the Healthy Forest initiative, trying to have common sense in Oregon's and the nation's forest management and economy.

Congressman Walden was the guy standing with the 20,000 people at our 2001 Bucket Brigade. Not above us but with us.  He was as appalled as we were when our stored irrigation water was withheld from 1400 family farmers after many crops had been planted.  He watched our crops die along with us.

He has always come to us, Americans, saying, "what can I do for you?"

Last night the tides were turned. The community gave a party for Greg and his wife, and honored this great man. Hundreds of people came to this party, also a fund-raiser, to say "Thank you!"

Senator Steve Harper emceed the event. He explained that Greg has been over 1 million miles in the air between D.C. and home in Oregon. When I spoke with his wife Molene, she said that they have a teenage son, so he flies home every weekend to be with his family.

Harper reminded the audience how the Congressman, a member of the House Resources Committee, sponsored the “Endangered Species Data Quality Act of 2004” (H.R. 1662 and formerly titled the “Sound Science for Endangered Species Act Planning Act of 2003”). In Walden's discussion with the National Water Resources Association (NWRA), he had explained, "This is a requirement we have in research and projects done by the FDA, by the EPA, even the No Child Left Behind Act requires peer review and sound science. These are principles that we’ve used in developing research and health care, medicine, and in many other areas of science. It seems incredible to me that we don’t require that basic scientific principle in peer review in the decision as to whether or not a species is going to live or die; whether or not a community, economically, may live or die, based on the consequences of decisions. So the first important improvement is requiring independent peer review." For full interview, go HERE.

Greg told the crowd of supporters, "I've been here thirty-four times.  We have a lot of work to do.  Out of the tragedies of 2001 have come the changes that hopefully no other community will ever have to go through that again."

He complimented the community regarding the manner in which they conducted themselves in 2001, when their community was decimated. He said our voices have been raised all the way to President Bush, who regards Walden as "Mr. Klamath".

Achievements that he praised were the success in a speedy fish screen, storage study of the Chiloquin Dam that blocks 95% of sucker habitat, and studies of water storage.

It was brought up that Congressman Blumenauer will be in Klamath next week. It is our hope that he will meet with farmers who want to keep farming so we can show him our farms and ranches, our interaction with wildlife and the refuges, and our desire to remain on our land. Blumenauer, Portland, has introduced several bills to eliminate farming on our refuges, downsizing our agricultural community and economy.

Father Cribin said a prayer, and had many words of wisdom.  He said he's a democrat and the reason he came is because "a good democrat never turns down a free dinner."

"I'd like to compliment the work that the Congressman has done on these snot nosed suckers; those suckers are gay.  If Walden was a democrat he would have raised taxes to teach the snot nosed suckers sex education.

It degenerated from there.

Patsy and Bob Gasser from Basin Fertilizer, along with other community members, put the event together. A short funny presentation was given regarding Walden, the kind of razing you would typically do at a good friends 50th birthday party.

A band played, people danced.

Thank you friend Walden.






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