By Nathalie Hardy • Columnist • 

Power of the people?

Let this journalist have her cake and eat it, too

I don’t know for sure, and I’d hate to overstate something, but it’s possible I helped score a little cake for those in attendance at U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley’s town hall Wednesday morning.

When his press team notified me the town hall planned for Yamhill County was his 200th, I sent an email back suggesting there be cake to celebrate.

If I’d known they were really planning to bring cake, I’d have requested it to be gluten free. Of course, perhaps that was the plan all along, but if I had anything to do with it … for everyone who turned out for Merkley’s 200th town hall and enjoyed a little cake, you’re welcome.

In other news, one might think it gets a little dull covering town hall after town hall. After all, don’t people pretty much say the same things?

Last year, Merkley was here in January for his 153rd town hall. The fiscal cliff, gun control and improved transparency in government were key points delivered by U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley in his opening remarks

This time, he talked about Cover Oregon, trade agreements, the need to fund infrastructure and, yes, more calls for transparency.

Last year, questions from the audience included: how to keep assault weapons out of the hands of potentially violent people, government paralysis in the form of filibusters and an issue specific to the county: the land use battle on Grand Island over mining gravel from the Willamette River.

This year, the broader issues included trade agreements, health care and the need to address corporate dollars influencing democracy.

The local issue debated was one playing out in national courts over an effort to modify a conservation easement near Willamina to pave way for an equestrian center. 

See Friday's News-Register for more on the town hall.

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Nathalie, next time suggest whiskey.

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