Thumbs up for continuity

December 10, 2012 

Thumbs up to Mark Schoesler for stepping up to serve as the new Senate Republican leader in Olympia.

Senate Republicans recently selected Schoesler to lead their caucus after former leader, Sen. Mike Hewitt of Walla Walla, decided to not seek the job for the next session.

Schoesler, a dryland wheat farmer from Ritzville, has been a voice for agriculture and Eastern Washington's conservative values in Olympia.

It makes him a good choice to replace Hewitt, who brought a similar philosophy to the role.

It's especially encouraging to hear Schoesler express similar ideas on the need to seek bipartisan solutions to solving the state's continuing financial problems.

Republicans remain in the minority, but proved last session they can still play a meaningful role in reforming state government by reaching across the aisle.

Shoesler told Herald reporter Michelle Dupler that he plans to continue Hewitt's efforts to promote budget writing that's sustainable and bipartisan without raising taxes and to avoid the kind of fiscal gridlock happening in Congress.

That's a great starting point.

Patriotic display

To the Liberty Christian School football team for winning the state championship in memorable style.

Every state title is one for the record books, but the Patriots from the private Richland school managed to make this year's contest more thrilling than most.

The team turned to an unlikely hero, 14-year-old freshman John Lesser, a baby-faced running back, to eke out a victory in the game's final play, giving the Patriots a 34-28 victory over Neah Bay in the recent Class 1B state title game at the Tacoma Dome.

"I was just looking for the goal line. That's all I was looking for," Lesser told Herald sports writer Craig Craker. "I saw the end zone. I saw the defender. I just put my shoulder down and tried to get in as hard as I could."

Liberty Christian finished the season 14-0. The heart-stopping finale was the perfect end to a perfect season.

History lesson

To Pendleton's fledgling white supremacist movement, which has been linked to several assaults.

We appreciate police Chief Stuart Roberts' warning to locals not to overreact to news that suspected members of the European Kindred were behind a recent wave of violence.

"Pendleton doesn't have a full-fledged European Kindred population," Roberts said.

There may be six or seven men, mostly "couch surfers," living from place to place and stealing items to buy drugs, Roberts said.

No community should tolerate even a handful of racist thugs, but that's especially true in the home of the famed Round-Up, where rodeo fans were ready to fight for equality more than a century ago.

At the 1911 Pendleton Round-Up, black cowboy George Fletcher rode three of the rodeo's toughest broncs in a single afternoon.

Despite his remarkable performance, the judges awarded the championship to a white cowboy in a decision clearly grounded in the pervasive racism that plagued the era.

The crowd of mostly white rodeo fans nearly rioted over the racist ruling. Peace was only restored after one rodeo official took up a collection that brought Fletcher a bigger purse than he would have won if the judges hadn't let racism color their ruling.

The good folks of Pendleton wouldn't tolerate blatant racism a century ago. It's a proud tradition they should strive to maintain today.

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