EUGENE, Ore. -- As wildfires burn across Oregon, leaders at local, state and national levels are coming together to evaluate damages, create plans for rebuilding and to set long-term goals to assist those affected.
KEZI 9 News spoke to Senator Ron Wyden Sunday morning.
“Right now, time is of the essence,” Wyden said. “The rain is coming, the debris is headed into the river and Oregonians want to rebuild.”
Wyden made a visit to Glide on Saturday to visit one couple who lost their home in the Archie Creek Fire.
“Oregonians just do not lose their spirits,” Wyden said. “Losing spirit is not the Oregon way. I was with Frank and Jeannie Moore, who have done so much over the years to protect the steelhead and our fishing runs. I gave them a copy of the legislation that I authored that created a sanctuary for those steelheads on the north Umpqua. We're just so proud of them.”
As the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance, Wyden said he wants to see significant change made when it comes to access to medicine. He spoke about a step he would take if there is a Biden Presidency.
“One of my priorities will be to get Medicare in a position where it can negotiate and bargain, so that folks in Southern Oregon can get a better deal on their medicine,” Wyden said. “There are plenty of other things to do right up at the top.”
He said that holding down healthcare costs is crucial and something fresh on the minds of many Americans.
“People want to know that when they walk up to the pharmacy counter they're not going to have these big drug companies essentially giving them a financial mugging,” Wyden said.
He also said that further efforts need to be made within the impacts the pandemic has had on the workforce, housing and recovery for small businesses affected.
“We need help with the coronavirus,” Wyden said. “I'll just say, you know, not everybody can go to Walter Reed.”
After hearing the news about the COVID-19 cases in Washington, D.C., Wyden said this may serve as a “wake up call” to America.
“Nancy and I immediately made it clear that we're sending our hopes to the President and the First Lady for a speedy recovery,” Wyden said. “I think the real message here is that the virus is not gone. You're wearing a mask. I'm wearing a mask. We're doing it, because that's what public health people are recommending. It's not because it's some political deal. It doesn't have anything to do with Democrats and Republicans.”