Lewis: Courageous leadership is needed | Local News

Retired nurse Pam Lewis, 67, of Coquille, is one of three candidates running for Coos County Commissioner, position two. Lewis, non-partisan, faces Republicans John Sweet, the incumbent, and challenger Cristina Bettsworth in the May 17 primary election.

In a recent interview with the World, Lewis Sweet’s and co-commissioner Melissa Cribbins’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, including their upholding of mask mandates. Lewis also believes more should have been done to keep businesses thriving.

She questions the division of labor among the county’s three commissioners, whom oversee each multiple departments.

“[Sweet] has six departments that he covers. The others are covering 13 each,” Lewis said. “He should be carrying his weight, and it doesn’t appear that he is.”

Lewis is also critical of Sweet’s voting record, which she said appears to mirror Cribbins’, and is critical of the commissioners’ support of a proposed wind farm, which Lewis said is too risky for taxpayers, especially if it fails.

“If a failed investment falls on the people to pay that bill off, that’s not looking out for the people,” Lewis said.

Lewis, who had a rural upbringing in Coquille, supports conservative candidate Rod Taylor, who hopes to take the position three seat from Cribbins.

Lewis graduated from Coquille High School, married, began a family and volunteered for nearly 30 years as an EMT. She advanced her career by earning a nursing degree from Southwest Oregon Community College.

She describes herself as a hands-on problem solver who likes to be on the front lines. A woman of faith, a line in a devotional has stuck with her and shaped her life: “true religion that is pleasing to God is to take care of the widows and orphans and their distress.”

That saying motivated her and her husband to adopt nine special needs children, with Lewis advocating for all 11 of her children in the classroom and the larger community.

“We brought in nine Black children. There were some challenges, some big challenges. But my philosophy for that was, ‘It’s time for my town to grow up.’ I’m that person that says, ‘somebody needs to do something, and I am somebody.”

While Lewis raised children, she worked as an EMT, caring for the injured and ill in significant moments of need. Later, she did the same as an emergency room nurse and a home health nurse. Caring. Advising. Healing. Never seeking accolades, never breaking confidence.

The COVID-19 pandemic struck just as Lewis had transitioned out of the emergency room. She spent those first few months administering COVID-19 tests and showing others how to do it.

More recently, she provided care to individuals sick with the virus and who wanted treatments unavailable in hospital settings, like Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine.

“I’ve healed, I don’t know how many people, with treatments that were not vaccines,” Lewis said. “It was under the radar because we kept our mouth shut, and we went to people’s homes, and we treated them, and they kept their mouth shut.”

Lewis describes herself as “pro-medical choice,” meaning she supports the right of people to make informed decisions for themselves about their care.

Back1 of 2

Leave a Comment