JOHN DAY – Dennis Linthicum, challenger to U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, told a Grant County group last week it’s time for less federal intrusion – in the states and in people’s lives.

He took aim at Walden’s voting record, saying the congressman has backed budget deals that boost the national debt, costly entitlements in the Farm Bill, and extension of the NSA surveillance program.

After rancher Sharon Livingston suggested a need for term limits, he agreed, saying representatives can become too accustomed to the culture of power, spending and special interests.

“I’m not saying Greg’s a bad man,” Linthicum said. “I’m saying 16 years is too long in office. It’s time to whistle the dogs home.”

He said he would strive for a “ground-up” approach to governance.

A Jackson County commissioner, Linthicum is seeking for the GOP nomination in May to the 2nd District seat. He drew about 20 people to the Outpost Restaurant in John Day last Friday as part of a swing through Eastern Oregon.

His website touts him as a pro-life, Christian family man, a software entrepreneur and an economist who will take common sense to Washington, D.C.

In Grant County, he pointed to the label “Constitutional Conservative” on his bumper stickers to sum up his principles. He said the Congress needs to abide by the Constitution, and not by personal whim.

To that, Sheriff Glenn Palmer responded, “You’re preaching to the choir.”

Linthicum said government has gone off course, with agencies and programs that duplicate or contradict those at the state level. He said the federal government should not have jurisdiction over the federal forests in the state, or what an individual does in his business.

“Government is destroying your authority in your own home,” he said. “The federal government should not have jurisdiction over our federal forests within the state of Oregon. The federal government should not have jurisdiction over your family business.”

He said Walden and other Republicans should have stood their ground on Obamacare, and let the states find their own “sweet spots” on health care. He said the GOP can, and should, stick to its principles.

On the debt, he said, “We’re rolling toward this cliff. We keep pretending we can kick this can down the road. What will we do when there’s no more road?”

He evoked the cautionary words of Thomas Jefferson: “If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves.”

“He’s asking the people to hold him accountable,” Linthicum said, adding later, “I’m afraid we’ve become inattentive. And that means they’ve become wolves.”

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