We Oregonians want to be safe from devastating wildfires like the ones that are burning now. The science is clear: If we do nothing to address climate change, disasters like these will only increase.
Yet in an editorial published in the Washington Post, Timber Unity’s Julie Parrish has the gall to use this disaster as an occasion to point fingers at Black Lives Matter protesters, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Governor Kate Brown. Conveniently, she ignores the fact that in the last regular legislative session, GOP lawmakers walked out to avoid voting on common-sense measures to address climate change.
As a result of this walkout, legislators also failed to act on three bills that would have restored forest health and quadrupled the number of acres subject to thinning and controlled burns. Combined with measures to address the climate crisis, such measures would go a long ways toward securing a better future for our children.
These fires are a wake-up call. With genuine unity, we must work toward meaningful change. As we do, let’s remember that those who have the least—hardworking rural residents struggling to feed their families—often stand to lose the most in these disasters. Rarely do they have a seat at the decision-making table, nor can they run and hide in another state when the going gets tough, as GOP legislators did during the past two sessions.
For the sake of all hard-working Oregonians and their families, we must do better.
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