At the Eastern Oregon Mining Association meeting of Sept. 7, Commissioner Bruce Nichols indicated several times that he agreed with current Chairman Bill Harvey 99 percent of the time. Nonetheless, Nichols indicated that he would approach natural resource negotiations with federal and state agencies with a different tone than Harvey but would rely on Harvey for advice even though Harvey would no longer be a commissioner.

Bill Harvey indicated that Baker County commissioners in past years had concerns that collaboration and cooperation with those agencies did not result in positive outcomes or protections for Baker County, rather that coordination is a requirement. He agrees with that historical approach, while other counties in Eastern Oregon during that same period of time gave away their rights by deferring to government agency “expertise.”

Since Bill Harvey advised early on his intention to seek a second and final term as chairman, why not re-elect him since Bruce Nichols still has two years remaining of his first term as a commissioner? The voters currently have three commissioners of different expertise and styles of addressing issues that have worked well over the past four years.

The voters know these individuals but we do not know who might be appointed to Nichols’ remaining two years on the commission by Commissioners Bennett and Nichols if Bill Harvey should not retain his current elected position.

I suggest that voters access the Commission meetings online minutes to determine who is actively engaged and how they vote, or attend the remaining meetings before the election.

The history of Baker County has been and will be based on timber, ranching, mining, family, faith, and community values. We should vote to preserve these traditions and retain those values which comprise the texture of our county.

To long-term and new residents, please realize the importance of this election. Encourage your friends and family to vote. Do not let the current political atmosphere discourage anyone from voting. Your voice does make a difference.

Danny Johnson

Baker City