Rep. Peter Buckley received the highest rating given from the education advocacy group Stand for Children (100 percent) for his work in the last legislative session.

Rep. Peter Buckley received the highest rating given from the education advocacy group Stand for Children (100 percent) for his work in the last legislative session.

As chair of the House Education sub-committee, Peter Buckley championed public schools, leading the fight for a record reinvestment in K-12. He also worked hard to fund mentoring programs for new teachers, expand the ASPIRE program to help students go to college, improve school nutrition, reduce textbook costs, and expand Head Start funding so children can start school ready to learn.

Rep. Buckley's leadership skills were so evident in the last session, that his party voted him into the expanded role of majority whip for the next session. We need dedicated, hard working, experienced people like Rep. Buckley more than ever in Salem.

Please join me and Stand for Children in supporting Peter Buckley in November. — Karen Starchvick, Jacksonville

When I was four years old, during the Great Depression, my mother sewed a strap on a flour sack and sent me to pick cotton with my siblings. She was a loving mother, but we needed the 10 cents I earned to buy 10 pounds of pinto beans to keep us from going hungry.

We had a conservative Republican president who tried to solve new problems with old policies. "We have weathered the storm. The American economy is basically strong," President Hoover said.

Today, we have the same crisis. A conservative Republican, John McCain, wants to solve new problems with old solutions. He said, "The economy is basically strong (and) we have made significant progress under President Bush."

What progress? More foreclosures, higher unemployment and a rising national debt?

I'm voting for Obama. Sen. Obama recognizes the crisis and has plans to solve it. Vote for your future. Vote for Obama. — Jeff Cheek, Medford

After staring at my Obama lawn sign, my neighbor told me that there's no way he'd vote for a black man — except he didn't say black man, he used the "n" word.

And therein lies the reason for the closeness of the race between Obama and McCain: Too many people do not want to see a black man in the White House. At least my neighbor was honest and didn't hide his racial animus behind code words such as too young, inexperienced, elite, socialist, and a baby killer who'd raise taxes.

It will be a sad day for America if we reject an outstanding young man who happens to be only half white, in favor of a tired and confused old man who happens to be all white. — Jura Sherwood, Phoenix

Your story on the clear impact of racial bias in the election is not news but is disheartening nonetheless.

After years of struggle by people of color to overcome prejudice and to end racial bias and racial stereotyping; after so many examples of the patriotism, courage and contributions to our nation of African-Americans and other peoples of color, we still find so many Americans thinking in racist terms.

One is not surprised that Republicans and so-called "independents" are the worst offenders in this matter, as in so many other moral issues. It is clear that Democrats manifest less bias toward people of color but it is sickening that so many Democrats remain biased and will hide behind Obama's alleged lack of "competence" and vote instead for the white guy, a bumbling incompetent if there ever was one.

Strange fruit from "the worm in the bud." — Gerald Cavanaugh, Ashland

I have known Joe Charter for six years, as a friend, mentor and colleague. He is sincere, cares about integrity, and knows how to listen deeply.

He also has an excellent legal mind and character. I have seen him in trial, negotiation and arbitration and he has a very calm, straightforward, low-key approach that connects with people. He is also very active in good causes in this community, including youth mentoring and counseling.

Joe has already been a part-time judge for several years, and has overseen a variety of cases. His experience, combined with his sense of fairness, care and respect for people, and excellent mind, will make Joe a great judge. — Duane Light, Ashland

It's hard to keep from tossing my cookies when I see or read about Sarah Palin speaking on behalf of family values.

Sarah seemingly forgot about abstinence prior to her elopement and delivered her first baby at almost eight months. This probably accounts for the tolerance shown toward her daughter, who also forgot about it. But at least Sarah and Todd married summarily whereas the Palin family must be waiting for a White House wedding as there seems to be no rush to validate the union of her daughter and fiance.

There's no Norman Rockwell atmosphere around the town of Wasilla. In fact it, has among the highest per capita violent and property crime rates in Alaska. That could be due in part to the fact that the bars are open till 5 a.m. as Mayor Palin rejected attempts to make them close earlier.

Family values? Someone should teach them to Sarah Palin! — Mariette Newhagen, Medford

We conservatives are having a wonderful time reading the letters to the editor from "feminists." These people are not for women's rights, they are only for women who meet the extremist agenda of pro-abortion, anti-fundamentalist religion, far-left Democrats, etc.

They have the nerve to say Palin doesn't have enough experience! They want to elect a man who has only two years in the Senate. He actually doesn't even have that. He has been campaigning both years for the presidency. — Gene Rushing, Medford

My husband and I met Margaret Bradburn two years ago when she wrote an article about the church we attend. Margaret and I and our husbands have become friends.

I have talked with her about issues at City Hall and in the community and can see that she is on top of what happens in Shady Cove. She understands government and the people of our town.

What I have noticed about Margaret is that she has the unique ability to see both sides of every issue. She is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. That is why we will vote for her in the upcoming election.

We urge others to mark the ballot by her name. She will be a credit to Shady Cove. — Hollis and Eddie Johnson, Shady Cove

To this country's detriment, Karl Rove still poisons the political landscape.

As a McCain campaign operative, he's again targeting the ill-informed segment of the electorate. Tethered to their sofas, the keep-it-simple "bubba" types stare mindlessly at the Fox "Noise" channel and swallow every lie emanating therefrom.

When will they realize that Rove and co-strategists have shamelessly exploited them to maximize Republican control of government — the government conservatives decry as intrusive yet aggressively use for self-enrichment at taxpayers' expense? Haven't the failed policies of the last eight years been sufficiently damaging to alert even bubbas to the dangers of voting against their best interests?

It seems they haven't. Excitement about the Rovian ploy of picking as No-Change McCain's VP a woman holding extreme social positions sadly indicates that emotion, not reason, will guide many voters to put divisive issues first, country last. — Marie Arvette, Medford

In 2008, how could this election be close for any Democratic nominee running against John McCain?

1. Uninformed voters believe campaign lies and rhetoric. Both sides perpetrate it; the right lies more boldly, more regularly, and more nastily. The mainstream media helps dumb it down.

2. Falling for Republican strategies that create or prey upon fears.

3. Conservative political philosophy — which Republicans supposedly represent.

4. Race. Yes, race.

The first three reasons happen regularly. If only single-digit percentages of the electorate flinch at voting for an African-American, we'll get four more years of mediocrity and worse.

Obama is better based upon ideas, judgment and leadership potential. We all need that.

We're coming off the most damaging eight years to this country in my lifetime. Important work must be done immediately.

John McCain has been part of the problem. Overtly or subtly, it will be racism if Obama loses. — Doug Huston, Ashland

I am struck by the hypocrisy in Sarah Palin's selection as Republican vice-presidential candidate.

In his acceptance speech, John McCain talked of moving beyond partisan rancor; yet Sarah Palin's whole focus as candidate has been to stir up partisan rancor and revive the culture wars.

McCain and Palin tout her as a reformer, yet she hired a high-priced Washington lobbying firm to get $26 million in earmarks for her town of 6,000; she backed the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, and then shifted the bridge money to other projects.

She says she is for change, yet is using revenues from oil and gas on public land (our land) to pay Alaskan citizens a yearly dividend of well over $1,000 each, which looks to me like paying off the citizens.

I support real change, reform and post-partisanship. I am voting for Obama and Biden. — Robert John Scheelen, Medford

In a column in the Anchorage Daily News Sept 16, www.adn.com/opinion/story/528420.html, prominent conservative talk radio host Dan Fagan joins the ranks of conservatives unhappy with Sarah Palin, the Republican VP nominee.

Palin is under independent investigation in Alaska for abuse of power in the firing of former Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan. Fagan points out: She appears to have lied, keeps changing her story, promised full cooperation in the investigation, but is now completely obdurate. She and her defenders are smearing Monegan, a former Marine and lifetime crime fighter respected in Alaska. Powerful Republicans are shutting the investigation down, even though it was legitimately authorized by a bipartisan committee of eight Republicans and four Democrats.

Fagan asks his fellow conservatives who want Palin to win no matter the truth if that's not anathema to conservative principle.

He wants to know, "Does the truth still matter?" Good question, sir. — Vicki Fox Ashland

As a former restaurateur, I know that there is no science linking a restaurant's "critical violations" to an outbreak of food-borne illness. These scores are just one component in a detailed landscape of food safety efforts.

However, one petitioner who brought this idea from California has put a foolish measure on the Ashland ballot that will blatantly waste our taxpayer's money.

Measure 15-88 is a redundant, punitive effort to do something that is already being done by Jackson County. The city of Ashland estimates that this measure will result in an additional $60,000 to enforce each year.

Jackson County Environmental Health is our local expert in food safety. The city of Ashland has much better things to do with our tax dollars.

Don't be fooled into supporting a program that amounts to an unfunded mandate that will drain vital city resources/services. Join me in voting no on Measure 15-88. — Michael Donovan, Ashland

There are four important facts disqualifying Sen. John McCain from assuming the office of president.

First, he voted against a bill to stop the CIA from torturing people; this is contrary to all American values.

Second, his campaign has resorted to blatant lies, distortions and smears; we cannot stand another president who lies to us.

Third, he has demonstrated extremely poor judgment and reckless disregard of our national interests by selecting a running mate that has no qualifications whatsoever to be president in the case of his inability to perform the duties of the job; by his choice, he has chosen politics over our national security.

Fourth, John McCain voted 90 percent of the time with President Bush over eight years and shoulders the blame with Bush and the Republican Party for the financial disaster this country now faces.

John McCain is the problem, not the solution. — Joseph T. Suste, Medford

In an election primary, citizens are given the opportunity to choose from a slate of presidential contenders, those people whom we think can best run the country — the most qualified. We also put our trust in the candidates we've chosen to run for election to hold to these same values when they choose a vice presidential candidate.

If Sarah Palin had been in the primary, and gender were not an issue, do you truly feel she'd have made the cut? I don't, yet if Sen. McCain were to win this upcoming election, she could be the "heartbeat" away from being our president and leader, our country's representative to the world.

Please, please think about this. — Lee Michalak, Medford

After the Bush administration's proposed $700 billion Wall Street bailout I now have a better understanding of exactly what means to be a conservative Republican.

Someone who supports free enterprise for the poor and socialism for the rich. — Howard Mercer, Medford

It is ironic that many citizens of this country have been voting Republican for the past eight years because they are afraid of terrorism.

Now the economy is falling apart, due to the policies of Republicans from Reagan through Bush and McCain. Isn't destroying our economy one of the goals of the terrorists?

When will the average middle class person realize voting Republican is against their interest? Everyone please vote a straight Democratic ticket. — Christine Mitchell, Phoenix

I have known Judge Joe Charter for over five years, and have worked with him in the community. I know him to be a man of the highest integrity, compassion and commitment to his work.

As Circuit Court judge, Joe Charter will bring a fresh perspective in working with the legal community and courts system. He has over 25 years of experience in legal practice and knows the dedication it takes to bring fair and equitable solutions to the bench.

I encourage your readers to vote for Joe Charter, as he will be an excellent Circuit Court judge for Jackson County. — Colleen Pyke, Ashland

Why would the Mail Tribune bother to post a "correction" notice regarding Harry Cook's latest diatribe letter?

Most of the editorial cartoons chosen by the Mail Tribune staff present flat-out lies. We want textual commentators to tell the truth; why should drawings routinely be false?

Meanwhile, a majority of the political letters routinely display either outright fabrication or remarkable ignorance. (Haven't the partisan advocates figured out that their foolish rants encourage thinking voters to look elsewhere?)

Perhaps a correction was merited because Cook used quotation marks this time? Or perhaps the Mail Tribune is contemplating its own responsibility for an ill-informed public. — Steve Wesche, Ashland