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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 15 March 2006

State Rep. Chip Sheilds

Health care issues will be the topic of a town hall meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, at Irvington Village, 420 N.E. Mason St. The meeting will be sponsored by state Rep. Chip Shields, D-Portland.

Nearly 100 concerned citizens gathered at Emmanuel Temple Church in North Portland Wednesday, March 8, for a town hall meeting on the Iraq War. It was the second meeting this year hosted by Shields.

Veterans, activists and ordinary citizens voiced their desire to end the war, and guest speaker Rep. Paul Holvey, D-Eugene, shared his experience.

Shields opened the evening by admitting that 28,000 civilian deaths in Iraq, 2,300 U.S. military deaths and 16,000 service men and women wounded left him "frustrated and sad." But, he added, "We have to keep trying. We are not powerless."

Shields listed several actions he has taken or will take against the war including the introduction, in 2005, of House Joint Measure 38, co-sponsored by Holvey, urging the president and Congress to develop a timeline and exit strategy for getting out of Iraq. He also said he is working with veterans groups to develop legislation assisting veterans from the Oregon National Guard who were exposed to depleted uranium in Iraq.

Jerry Murray, who served with the Marines in Vietnam and earned a Silver Star, said, "I spent 12 months in Vietnam, all of it in the infantry. This is the same thing we went through 40 years ago. We're trying to fix something that can't be fixed."

Holvey spoke of opposing the war while supporting his son and other troops.

"Our troops should not remain in Iraq as a police force or take sides in a civil war," he said. "It is time to turn Iraq over to its own people. It's time for the United States to rebuild its image with humanitarian missions, and we should start at home."

Holvey joined Shields and others in attendance in calling on the government to assure veterans they will be taken care of — whether it's with proper armor while in Iraq or proper health care when they return.

Dozens of people talked about what they were doing to end the war. Some were lobbyingGov.Ted Kulongoski to continue to be vocal in speaking out against the war. Another discussed his effort to get the Oregon congressional delegation to unify around a single exit strategy. Others talked about with holding a portion of "war" taxes from their federal tax payment.

Shields urged the crowd to attend the End the War March in Portland on March 19 at 1:30 p.m. at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and closed by saying, "Stay involved, stay committed, and let's end this war together."

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