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Readers' Letters: Don't leave the next generation out in the cold

Oregon is lagging on trying to fix our state’s economy. Instead of focusing on growing jobs and coming up with incentives that will bring businesses to Oregon, the legislators in Salem are dealing with other issues.

I agree that Public Employees Retirement System reform is badly needed in this state to help stabilize our retirement system. However, while the Legislature’s mind is on that, our younger generation and college graduates are suffering because of the lack of job opportunities being offered in the state.

According to David Pasch at Generation Opportunity, a national nonpartisan youth advocacy organization, the “unemployment rate for citizens 18 to 29 years old stands at 16.1 percent.” This is completely unacceptable in the nation and, especially, our state. We are failing the next generation. The underemployment is even worse, hovering around 20 percent.

Where are our elected leaders on this issue? One state senator told me that the short answer to my question was “no,” that jobs weren’t being talked about in the Capitol. I have found that answer and others from elected officials shocking because I am in that age bracket, and the economy is terrible for those graduating from college trying to find a career.

It is neither the business nor the mission of our legislators to create jobs for the citizens. It is their job to create an environment for businesses to thrive and succeed in the state, and to create avenues for our educated working class to gain experiences and new skills to build a better state for our kids and grandchildren.

Our society was built on the notion of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our forefathers understood that in order to have an effective system we need to have a limited government.

Too often we see at the federal and state level that our elected officials are growing government on both sides of the aisle and that they are attempting to restrict our liberties by adding layers of bureaucratic red tape. We need to send a message to our leaders and tell them we want an opportunity to pursue happiness without government intrusion into all facets of our lives.

Please take a moment out of your busy day and write a letter or email to your state representatives and state senators in Salem, and tell them to focus on jobs and the economy because our college graduates and citizens are being left out in the cold. Use your voice; it is what the founders gave us to help change and correct course when those in power ignore and forget that they work for the people of Oregon.

Kevin Moss

Sandy

Giving up vaccinations risky

There is a bill in the Oregon Legislature, Senate Bill 132, that will require parents who exempt their children from vaccinations to receive information from a health care professional or a free video that outlines the benefits and risks of vaccines.

As a student of public health, I have studied the controversies surrounding vaccinations, especially in Oregon, which has a high rate for vaccine exemptions (76 percent in some schools). And while I support vaccinations, I am not here to argue about this issue.

However, I do want to discuss the benefits of this bill. By giving parents access to medically accurate information, they can then make an informed decision about their child’s health.

Today there are so many ways to obtain information, and sometimes this excess can cause someone to be influenced by an unreliable source. So by giving parents accurate information, the state can ensure that parents are making a decision based on correct information.

So if you support vaccinations I would urge you to spread the news about this bill to those you know.

For those of you who oppose vaccinations, I would say that the bill is only attempting to give parents accurate information to make a decision for their child.

And for everyone else, when making a decision about anything in your life, I urge you to be mindful about the source of your information. While claims from celebrities or YouTube videos may be more popular than health officials, they might not always be accurate.

Benjamin J. Ashraf

Corvallis