Letter to the Editor graphic

Open Letter to Mike Rogers:

As publicity chair for an Aug. 16 Civic Forum hosted by Alabama Together, I have invited you to participate. We delivered the invitation by hand, sent it via certified mail, spoke with your staff and emailed your local offices. We have received no reply.

I am disappointed that you will not attend the Civic Forum, an excellent opportunity to connect with constituents. I am equally concerned that no one from your staff has acknowledged the invitation, even to decline.

Last year at your Town Hall in Opelika, you said you would never debate because it would help your opponent. I understand political strategy, but I believe that voters deserve an opportunity to hear directly from candidates in a comparative forum that allows them to set the record straight. 

I am not a politician. I am a married mother of two, a graduate of Auburn University and an active member in my church. I love Alabama. I would like to hear you speak honestly, without grandstanding and without false assumptions about what I believe. I would also like for you to hear my concerns, including school safety, health care and the environment. 

While we may not agree on policy, I hope we agree we should show respect for all, not just those in our political party; that an informed electorate is the bedrock of a healthy democracy; and when you receive a formal invitation, you always reply.

(Update: Mr. Rogers staff did RSVP; he declined to participate in the forum due to unspecified scheduling conflicts. Upon receiving the RSVP from Mr. Rogers, I attempted to retract my letter to the editor, unfortunately not in time to prevent publication. I apologize to Mr. Rogers and his staff for this error and wanted to make every effort to set the record straight. The Candidate Forum will continue as planned and will include Ms. Mallory Hagan, as well as several candidates for local and state races from both the Republican and Democratic parties. The Forum will be held August 16th from 6-8pm at the Southside Center for the Arts in Opelika, 1103 Glenn Street.)

Shanna Brodbeck

Civic Forum publicity chair

Rogers a 'no show'

I plan to attend the Civic Forum in Opelika on Aug. 16, which will be held at the Southside Center for the Arts from 6 to 8 p.m. It will be a chance to hear from candidates for state and national office. I'm sorry that Mike Rogers, our current congressman, will not participate, but I'm not surprised. Rogers would face questions about his record, and that record is disturbing. 

After complaining for years against burdening our grandchildren with more national debt, Rogers voted for the 2017 tax cuts, which add $2 trillion more debt, while benefiting only the richest Americans. 

Alabama's environment has been damaged by coal ash dumping, industrial releases of PFCs and offshore drilling accidents. Rogers has never voted for a single measure to protect our natural resources. Incidentally, Southern Company, the worst polluter in Alabama, has contributed $500,000 to his campaigns.

Life expectancy and infant mortality rates in Alabama are the second-worst in the nation. Nevertheless, Rogers has voted to make health insurance harder to get. 

When mass killings occur, Rogers sends thoughts and prayers. But he opposes even modest measures to reduce these tragedies, such as requiring thorough background checks for gun purchases. In 2017, he voted to make it easier for people with disabling mental illnesses to buy guns. 

Rogers opposes measures to reduce wage discrimination based on gender. He voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

This is his record. No wonder Rogers refuses to face questions from his constituents.

Steve Harrison

Auburn, Alabama

Camp Good Grief

The 14th annual Camp Good Grief was at the Opelika Sportsplex, under the leadership of Jenny Filush-Glaze and with the support of volunteers and sponsors over 100 grieving children from our community attended.

This camp enables participation in therapeutic activities and the opportunity to develop coping skills that will help their grieving process. The children come because they have experienced a loss of someone that they love. 

Camp Good Grief is free to the campers and this annual event would not be possible without the help of our community in the way of money and time donations. Volunteers play a huge role in making this day successful. They attend volunteer training sessions prior to camp. On the day of camp they arrive before campers, stay after they’ve gone and spend the day in small groups going to different activities. We cannot individually thank each volunteer that attended, but please know we carry a special place for you in our hearts.

Thank you to the numerous individual donors and the following sponsors: Hospice Angels Foundation of Compassus Hospice and Palliative Care, Sun Self-Storage Inc., Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home, East Alabama Medical Center, Buffalo Wild Wings, Wrights Grocery, Opelika SportsPlex, Krispy Kreme, Briggs & Stratton, Master Graphics, Auburn University SGA, Alabama Garrison of the 50th Legion and Tranquility Base of the Rebel Legion.

Next year, 2019, is our 15th anniversary and big things are planned!

Patty Baggett

Auburn resident and executive director of Compassus Bethany House, Hospice and

Palliative Care in partnership with EAMC

Editor's note: Letters to the editor has been edited to include an update from Shanna Brodbeck.

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