The first president for whom I was old enough to vote was John Kennedy back in 1960.

The first political election in which I became involved was Robert Kennedy's run for the presidency in 1968. After that election, I was paid for my services to help people get elected.

I began by working for Wayne Morse, Mark Hatfield and various other candidates for both state and federal elections.

Now, I am actually a campaign manager, and I feel really good about this one even though, once again, I am not getting paid. Tammy Maygra and Brady Preheim are running for positions 3 and 1 against two incumbent commissioners, one of whom has been in office for 16 years and the other who is already a PERS retiree.

Once again, we are a grassroots organization as we were when I worked to help repeal the hospital tax and then again to get new people elected to the Columbia Health District board. This time, however, it appears people are taking even more interest and are actually donating money for this election.

Which, of course, brings me to my moment of contention. By logging on to ORESTAR, the state's campaign finance reporting database, I found that on Earl Fisher's last election, he had nearly $40,000 to spend, which averages about $20 per vote.

He actually paid his campaign manager more than $18,000 to help him win. The same campaign manager is back to help him and, with inflation, I cannot begin to imagine what she is being paid this time around. I also found many investors and consultants from out of town and out of state contributed to his campaign.

He contributed thousands of dollars of his own money to his campaign. This, of course, is not illegal, but I fail to understand why out-of-town investors and Mr. Fisher would make this investment.

I also found that Tony Hyde bought himself over $600 worth of new tires and a computer from his campaign funds, money in part contributed by a real estate broker in California, a business entity from Washington, D.C., and CalPortland, 'a major building materials and construction solutions provider.' Perhaps he is considering higher aspirations in Salem, Washington, D.C., or Orlando.

We need open, honest and transparent government. We need commissioners whose loyalty lies with their constituents and not with their personal agenda. It is most definitely time for a change. I strongly urge you to vote for Brady Preheim for position 1 and Tammy Maygra for position 3.

It is time for a change.

Nancy Whitney, St. Helens

Contract Publishing

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