On one hand we have the Democrats, supported by big labor and outside money.

Lynn Howe, backed by all the big labor unions, just received an infusion of $60,000 from "back East." Bates has always voted for tax increases and John "Oregon is ungovernable" Kitzhaber is supported by big labor. Ron Wyden, a proponent of big government and higher taxations, wants us to keep going back to Washington for help. What reward do the unions expect from these people in return?

On the other hand, we have Dave Dotterrer, Sal Esquivel, Jim Huffman and Chris Dudley, who are receiving no union/big labor funding and have been endorsed by small-business groups, the backbone of any economy. No big union/big labor support there! Why?

Elect fiscally responsible representatives answerable to the people, not beholden to big labor and big government. — Dennis Sinclair, Medford

Small businesses are going out of business in record numbers and unemployment is higher in Jackson County than almost anywhere in Oregon, where unemployment is higher than almost every state in the nation.

We have a chance this month to make Oregon a more attractive place to live, work and do business by electing Dave Dotterrer to the state Legislature. He will vote to keep income, property, business, inheritance and capital gains taxes and fees at reasonable levels and support sustainable natural-resource industries in agriculture and ranching, timber and forest products, fishing and seafood that are Oregon's natural strengths and comparative advantage in an increasingly difficult, competitive environment. — Jay and Linda Coster, Ashland

A recent campaign flier accused Alan Bates of "letting violent criminals out of jail early" by voting for HB 3508. If you even considered believing this, please take the time to look up HB 3508.

You'll see that it specifically excludes violent crimes from the list of those eligible for additional sentence reductions. My husband, a prosecuting attorney who has actually worked with HB 3508, confirms this.

Candidates should, of course, be permitted to point to perceived flaws in an opponent's political record or campaign platform, but criticism should be leveled responsibly and with accountability, especially when it's in writing. The use of outright falsity should not be tolerated. I would hope that whoever is behind the production and mailing of the flier will have the decency to retract it.

It is notable that the Bates campaign maintained its standards and did not reciprocate in a like manner. — Melissa Orr, Medford

The city of Ashland faces serious financial problems, but none as difficult as those facing the city's parks.

Unlike the rest of our city, which has diversified its revenue sources, Parks is almost entirely dependent upon property taxes. Our visionary people of the past have built a large and magnificent park system, but the cost of maintaining that system has been increasing faster than its revenue source. This is why we need Parks Commissioners like Rick Landt with knowledge of best parks management practices.

As a councilor, I had numerous opportunities to work with Rick. His creative and critical analyses occasionally annoyed a more conservative commission and staff, but helped direct the commission in positive directions. Rick has been predicting our present parks financial crisis for years and he has the experience and ideas for keeping Ashland's parks system our "crown jewel." Please join me in electing Rick Landt. — Don Laws, Ashland

My choice for Position 1 as Jackson County commissioner is Don Skundrick.

Don is the candidate with the most savvy when it comes to understanding business. Don has this community at heart. He has the ability to evaluate an economic situation and work for the people in the Rogue Valley.

The cause is more important to Don than the political party. He knows that permanent jobs will be created by businesses, not by government programs.

You have a choice. Do you want to wait for the government to provide for you or do you want a business-minded person to help us jump-start this economy?

The choice is easy for me. Join me in voting for Don Skundrick. — Ed Houghton, Ashland

We have known Don Skundrick as a close personal friend for more than 35 years and feel strongly he would be an outstanding choice as our next county commissioner.

He puts his total enthusiasm and passion into everything he attempts, with outstanding results as evidenced by his achievements in both the business world and his many volunteer leadership roles. He relishes challenges and knows how to get things done in an efficient and effective way, while listening to others and incorporating their various viewpoints.

Please join us in voting for Don Skundrick as our next county commissioner. Jackson County will benefit from his election. — Bob and Carol Hirt, Medford

There are a few signs around Ashland that say "Re-elect Councilor Navickas." I looked up "councilor" in the dictionary and it said, "A person who gives advice or counseling." Now that's a scary thought: Navickas, the giver of advice and counseling! Please vote for Michael Morris in the upcoming election. — Jeff Miller, Ashland

Lynn Howe is focused on jobs, jobs and jobs for our citizens. Her opponent stated in a recent KOBI Channel 5 interview that he is focused on immigration issues.

Remember his grandstanding trip to Arizona in late summer supporting Arizona's immigration law? Esquivel has been ignoring our local issues for way too long. Remember that his last big issue just before his trip to Arizona was focusing on same-sex domestic partnerships, and his recent vote against mortgage reform, while we saw pages and pages of home foreclosures in the county notices, shows just how out of touch he is.

Howe will represent Medford citizens, but the focus and breadth of her concerns and her solutions will benefit the county as a whole. — Lori Larson, Central Point

Attention Democrats: Do not believe the tripe that the Republicans and Fox News are feeding you. Electing untried Republicans (like Chris Dudley) who are in the pockets of wealthy corporate interests is not the way to get our nation and our state out of the recession or put people back to work.

The Bush administration caused the Great Recession by rescinding all regulations and turning our economy over to Wall Street and the big banks.

Democrats: Do not be discouraged by bad news. It is more important than ever that you vote and that you vote for Democratic candidates, who care about people and jobs. Reject the GOP because they want to lower the minimum wage and mess with your Social Security and Medicare and destroy the middle class.

Democrats: Locate your ballots. Mark them for Wyden, Segers, Kitzhaber, Bates, Buckley, Howe or Levine, Golden and Wisnovsky. Vote today! — Allen Hallmark, Central Point

Don has a long and dedicated history in leadership roles in community projects in Jackson County and is extremely qualified to help lead the county.

In numerous organizations he has made a positive difference and is an excellent communicator listening to both sides of an issue in a fair and impartial manner. His business sense and strength in decision-making will tremendously benefit the people of Jackson County.

We urge you to vote for Don Skundrick as one of our next county commissioners, for we need his nonpartisan leadership. — Bob and Shirley Johnson, Eagle Point

This past summer I attended the Hearts & Vines benefit and auction for the first time. I learned quite a bit about Mark Wisnovsky, who co-founded this incredible event in 1994.

Through much of his efforts they've been able to donate more than $2 million to many deserving local nonprofit groups. We viewed an inspiring, heartwarming video of the many lives which have been positively affected and impacted by what Mark created through his vision, leadership and hard work. In addition, Mark has played a major part in all the new and improved schools in our area.

Mark has also been instrumental in developing and nurturing the Rogue Valley wine industry. His deep roots go back to 1971 when he helped plant Valley View Vineyard with his brothers and father.

I am writing this letter because I believe that Mark Wisnovsky will be the best leader for our community as Jackson County commissioner. — Adrienne King, Jacksonville

Don Skundrick is clearly the best choice for county commissioner, Position 1.

He has demonstrated leadership at all levels. He has, through self determination, risen through the ranks of business from a line employee to the management level. He has chaired virtually every organization he has volunteered to serve. In several cases he has led those organizations through uncertain, even troubled, times, leaving them better than when he found them.

Don is a leader that pulls people with him. He does this by listening to people and putting himself in their shoes.

In the 45 years that I have worked with Don, he has always come to meetings prepared. He reads the background materials, talks with people and then weighs the alternatives. As a result he makes sound decisions.

In these uncertain times, Don Skundrick is the leader that Jackson County needs. — Jim Wright, Medford

If there was any doubt — and there shouldn't be — that Ron Wyden deserves to be re-elected, it was erased in last week's debate in Southern Oregon.

It was clear from the start that his opponent, Jim Huffman, is not senatorial material. For 60 minutes, all Mr. Huffman did was criticize and denigrate Wyden's significant accomplishments for Oregon and the United States without offering a single solution to any of the problems facing this state or this nation.

I don't need some tea party wannabe in the U.S. Senate who is going to be another vote for doing nothing other than attacking those who are trying to do something.

Wyden has a record we can all admire. I may disagree with him from time to time, but why replace him with another obstructionist?

Wyden gets my vote, and it's not even a close call. — Sharon Javna, Ashland

I have known Al Densmore for more than 30 years and was privileged to work with him when he was Medford's mayor from 1977 to 1983.

Al is always well-prepared, gives thoughtful and careful consideration to the issues and makes informed decisions. He truly cares about our community, and he has served it well as a legislator, as mayor, as a council member and as a concerned citizen and volunteer. I urge the residents of Ward 1 to re-elect Al Densmore to the Medford City Council. — Cathie Davis, Medford

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