Why people care about healthcare


To the Editor:

Research indicates public concern about healthcare remains high. Polls report more than 50 percent of the public is ready for Medicare for all. Why does healthcare remain such a concern for so many of us?

Maybe it is because we are no longer protected from denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Both President Trump and Sen. Thom Tillis, along with Rep. Mark Meadows, have done everything in their power to make life miserable for elders, children, young parents and others by turning back the clock. Health and life insurance companies are once again denying coverage for those of us with pre-existing conditions!

Maybe it is because Trump, with support from Tillis and Meadows, fired key public health personnel and cut funding for National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We now lack the ability to react effectively to this pandemic crisis due to bluster and lies from the White House, insufficient personnel and lack of resources. Remember Katrina? Another attempt to make life miserable for us.

Maybe it is because our representatives from both parties ignored the opioid epidemic and to this day are hard pressed to acknowledge the core causes and solutions for the problem.

Maybe it is because N.C. Sen. Jim Davis and his extremist buddies in Raleigh opposed the expansion of Medicaid while enacting policies to cast barriers in the way of educators and our neighbors in need. Now, once again, he is prevaricating about opponents with a ridiculous hamburger and gun advertisement. Why his obsession with guns? OMG, NRA? More efforts to make life miserable for us as he runs to replace someone who ignored us.

This pattern of self-service rather than public service by the extreme right requires a change in direction. Hate, racial injustice, blaming the blameless and voter suppression must be replaced with representatives who value justice for all, fair play, civility, truth and public service.

After recently being denied healthcare by two insurance companies I made up my mind ... it is Bernie! Only Bernie Sanders understands how the deck is stacked against us and can lead the charge against Putin’s puppets, Donald Trump and Moscow Mitch.


Ron Robinson, 



Road signs, the coronavirus ... and a candidate


To the Editor:

As I drove on N.C. 107 to my home in Cullowhee recently, the flood of campaign signs reminds me of the largest and most prominent highway sign of the 2016 election proclaiming: “Luker and Mau … Change is Coming” as Mickey Luker and Ron Mau ran for seats on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. I know both won their elections and now, four years later Mickey Luker has disappeared, AWOL from several board meetings, and Ron Mau is a candidate for North Carolina House District 119.

Listening to the radio as I finesse the curves, I hear that the stock market is losing points by the thousands due to economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus and the CDC is now warning of widespread community outbreaks of this virus in the United States. The question is no longer if this epidemic will occur, but when – and how long it will last. My thoughts then drift to a morning in August of 2018 when I learned Ron Mau supported a motion put forth by Mickey Luker which succeeded in abolishing the Jackson County Board of Health in a consolidation move.

The Jackson County Board of Health, comprised of physicians, veterinarians, psychologists, dentists, social workers and others with experience and knowledge in public health, along with county and departmental staff, is responsible for the coordination, implementation and administration of the measures necessary to handle public health disasters and emergencies. Should coronavirus outbreaks occur in Western North Carolina, it will require a coordinated and a very deliberate effort to control it. Fortunately, the election of 2018 resulted in a more sensible group of commissioners who voted to reinstate the Jackson County Board of Health.

Given the significant threat of a coronavirus outbreak, it is imperative that the next representative in the NC House District 119 have the wisdom to recognize the need for advice and expertise in the form of local public health boards. As my eyes fall on yet another Ron Mau sign, I worry, based on his record, that Ron Mau lacks that wisdom.


William Mobley, 



An overlooked and underestimated hazard of our age


To the Editor:

In September 2019, I attended a meeting, “Nuclear Disarmament NOW: What can WE do?” Prior to this meeting, this issue was not at the top of my agenda. However, after hearing the speakers and reviewing the information provided, I became aware of the urgency of taking action and informing others about an impending crisis that impacts us as individuals and our earth. 

In January, 2017, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists reset the hands of the Doomsday clock to 2 minutes to midnight. “The danger cannot be overstated,” said the scientists. A growing number of military and policy experts, including those from the far right, are calling for the United States to take concrete steps toward complete nuclear disarmament. They are saying our nuclear arsenal makes us less secure, not more secure.

On July 7, 2017 on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly, 122 nations voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty bans the use, threatened use, possession, development, production, testing deployment or transfer of nuclear weapons under international law. It will enter into legal force once 50 nations have signed and ratified it. As of November 2019, 80 nations have signed the treaty and 34 have ratified it. The United States has not signed the treaty.

While many think North Korea (or maybe Iran especially in view of recent events) may be the most imminent nuclear threat to us, the greatest threat to our security is our nuclear weapons, which we use to threaten others and they use to justify their own nuclear ambitions. 

Recent legislation that has been introduced includes a resolution “Embracing the Goals and Provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.” H.Res. 302 calls on the president to align U.S. policy with the goals of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of national security policy. “Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2019” (HR 669 and SB 200) would require a declaration of war from Congress in order to launch a nuclear first strike. The requirement would not apply in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States or its allies. HR 921 and SB 272 would establish U.S. policy to not use nuclear weapons first. For more information, contact Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (www.ananuclear.org) and the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (www.orepa.org).

Please contact your legislators in Congress asking whether they support any of the proposed legislation and urge others to do the same. Now is the time; we must stand up to be heard. Our future demands an end to nuclear armament now.

Mary Herr,