The looming budgetary shortfalls in Salem are of epic proportion. The shortfalls in education, public infrastructure spending, the public employee retirement system (PERS) and health care obligations are a wake up call for good governance. It's enough to make a voter want to hit the reset button—but that would be foolish.
Gov. Kate Brown has had the unenviable task of taking over the office in the wake of the Kitzhaber scandals and of having to hit the campaign trail almost immediately afterward. Her tenure as governor thus far has been a mixed bag, but she is still the best option for Oregon moving forward.
What is it about the Republican candidates that make them want to shoot their campaigns in the foot? Bud Pierce made himself practically unelectable by making a statement during a debate in which he proffered that, "Educated women experience less abuse." It was a shocking statement, but not as shocking as his idea of taking five percent of our public lands a year back from the federal government to help pay for budgetary shortfalls. His campaign has been light on substance about the economic issues that will overshadow all of his strange partisan financial solutions.
Brown's experience as secretary of state and her ability to push through legislation, such as the increase in minimum wage and the raise in public education funding, prove that she is in a better place than Pierce to navigate the difficult budgetary balancing to come.
Brown has earned the right to finish out this term and to be elected to the next one. Vote Kate Brown for Governor.
As this reality show of a presidential election comes to a close, we can thank The Donald for one thing: he has made this year's endorsement of Hillary Clinton an easy one. And not just because Trump's litany of comments that would get an average citizen born without privilege fired, arrested or both, have made him unelectable—though that's certainly part of it. Clinton, in this ratings race, has shown herself to have a grace under pressure that underscores her long years of government service and strong character. She has shown the kind of leadership that leaves no doubt that a vote for her is a vote for a strong national presence in the Oval Office.
As a candidate who has served more than 34 years as a public servant, from First Lady of Arkansas, to First Lady of the United States, to U.S. Senator from New York, to most recently, U.S. Secretary of State, Clinton has a lot to offer. We believe that this vast experience in Washington and world politics can break the partisan logjam that has stymied relative newcomers like Barack Obama. As we said in our primary endorsement, "Long held alliances and trust built over decades combined with a deep understanding of the issues are what it takes to lead the country effectively." And that has only become truer as this campaign has rolled along through Trump's political pigsty.
The job of being President has become less about the merits of the legislation you create and more about the opposition you can overcome to get it passed. Is this a legacy of Obama's presidency that we are leaving in the past? We hope so. But we believe it is going to take a veteran of congressional investigations, partisan witchhunts, and obstructionist politics to get things done.
Go high Hillary!
Bend City Council Position 1
Republican Justin Livingston is a conservative with limited experience in politics—but compare him to his opponent and it's crystal clear where your support should go. Livingston's opponent Ron Boozell was cited last month for allegedly smoking pot in Drake Park. When we asked him about it, he refused to say one way or another whether it was true. A candidate who doesn't acknowledge the general rule of law—or who's not adult enough to simply admit or deny that he broke the rules in the first place—is worrisome. Livingston toes the party line with his anti-tax stance, but he has experience on the City of Bend's Affordable Housing committee, and that at least sets him up to understand and work through the serious housing and urban growth challenges our city faces. Vote for Justin Livingston.
· Livingston's preferred adult beverage: Scotch with Ice
Bend City Council Position 2
If there were an award for the "most heated" City Council race, this would be a winner. Unfortunately for the candidates, we have to endorse them not on their engagement in political theatre, but on their merits as potential city councilors. Incumbent Doug Knight and challenger Bill Moseley are both successful businessmen who bring articulate, informed perspectives to the key issues. Still, Knight has simply too many accomplishments to his credit on the City Council to argue against bringing him back. He's been instrumental in both the climate change resolution and in bringing forth the gas tax that could have eased the city revenue shortage—and for those reasons we say cast your vote for Doug Knight.
· Knight's preferred adult beverage: French Martini
Bend City Council Position 3
In the race between incumbent Sally Russell and challenger Wade Fagen, we're taking a "if it's not broke, don't fix it" stance. Russell has proven herself to be a positive collaborator who's working toward solutions that are in the best interest of Bend—and from that perspective, we see no reason not to re-hire her. Opponent Wade Fagen is the owner of Fagen Tree Service and Wood Chips, operating on a populist platform. Fagen believes he can bring the same type of efficiency he brings to his business to the City Council budget, but that stance seems only narrowly based in actual knowledge of city budgetary constraints. Contrasted with an incumbent who can continue to build on the momentum she's already built, it's a tough sell. We say vote for Sally Russell.
· Russell's preferred adult beverage: Bourbon on the Rocks
Deschutes County Sheriff
The Deschutes County Sheriff's department has been rocked by scandal a number of times recently—and apparently that trend hasn't ebbed. Candidate Eric Kozowski alleges he's been harassed at work ever since he announced he was running against incumbent Shane Nelson. Harassment investigations aside, we still choose Shane Nelson. He's been in office for less than a year and a half, and another change of guard would cause too much turmoil in a department that badly needs solid leadership. We agree with Kozowski's stance that the department needs to be held accountable and avoid complacency—but we believe Nelson when he says he's working toward restoring public trust and improving morale. We give kudos to Kozowski for having the guts to run against his boss and to speak publicly about alleged harassment, but we still say vote for Shane Nelson.
· Nelson's preferred adult beverage: Rum & Coke with Lime
Oregon Senate District 27
Greg Delgado is a voice for the working person, and that's one we need representing us in Salem. Not only that, but he's against party-line politics...and if you've seen the cover of this issue yet, then you know where the Source Weekly stands on that. This deeply-divided district does not need a partisan politician representing just one side of the equation; it needs a moderate. With incumbent Tim Knopp's voting record, he's hardly a moderate. Further, Delgado's volunteer activism and roles in fighting for immigrant rights and workers' rights shows his personal commitment to issues facing some of our most vulnerable citizens. We thank Tim Knopp for his service, but we're ready to bet on a new horse for this one. Vote Greg Delgado.
· Delgado's preferred adult beverage: Deschutes Armory XPA (Full disclosure: He works at the brewery.)
Oregon House District 54
Two candidates who both bring preparation and good judgment to the table?! Be still, my heart. We are endorsing Republican incumbent Dr. Knute Buehler in this race, largely based on his efforts to reach across the aisle in the interest of getting things done. We also applaud him for his efforts on over-the-counter birth control during his last term, and his vote against coal in favor of cleaner forms of energy. Challenger Gena Goodman-Campbell came to our endorsement interview very informed on the issues, including higher wages and affordable housing. She's going places and we'd like to see her serve our electorate in some capacity—but as it stands, Buehler simply has more experience serving both the public and private sectors. Vote for Knute Buehler.
· Buehler's preferred adult beverage: Boneyard RPM
While we appreciate that this race is one of the few we're voting on in our area that includes candidates not from either the Republican or Democratic parties, our support for the U.S. Senate race still goes to incumbent (and Democrat) Ron Wyden. One need only gaze passingly at Wyden's voting record to understand why he's a voice we should continue to back in Washington. Wyden opposed the bailout of the finance industry in 2010, he was against a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, voted yes on repealing the tax subsidy for companies that move U.S. jobs offshore, he's pro-environment, pro-children's health insurance and pro government-run healthcare, and has a strong record of funding education at the federal level. Big win on that last one, Mr. Wyden. Vote Ron Wyden for U.S. Senator.
Deschutes County Commissioner
Phil Henderson is an educated candidate who's made this race one of the most substantive pairings of this cycle, long on policy and low on personal attacks. The candidates' policy debates have underscored our desire to eliminate party labels from many races, thereby allowing voters to select candidates based on the merits of their positions on economic issues—which is 99 percent of their job.
Henderson wants to take a more active role than Unger as a commissioner, tackling land use laws in preventing affordable housing, the increased spending and degradation of the Central Oregon lifestyle. He's criticized Unger for the number of boards he serves on, which ostensibly takes away from governance.
We don't share most of those concerns. Henderson criticizes Unger and the County for taking the maximum amount of taxes for their operation. Indeed, Unger has never tried to cut back, but the county is growing and we need mental health services, infrastructure and transit badly. Unger should stay in his seat to allocate these funds in a manner that keeps the County growing. Unger's community involvement is commendable and we hope it grows. Unger is a soft-spoken politician whose demeanor can be a drawback on the campaign trail but a positive one in community service. Vote Alan Unger for County Commissioner.
· Unger's preferred adult beverage: Bourbon Neat
U.S. House 2nd District
It's no secret that we've come out swinging in this race on both sides. While we maintain our support of challenger Jim Crary, we are by no means giving him a free pass to D.C. Crary says he's been beating the street and meeting voters one by one in an effort to avoid the pitfalls of traditional campaigning, but we venture to say that's not enough to win this seat. Crary, an attorney and former corporate negotiator who's running on a platform of campaign finance reform, has more chops than he even gives himself credit for, and the voters of our area deserve to hear his message on the radio, on TV and in other public forums.
What we are looking for, as voters in a politically-divided region, is moderate non-partisanship—and when it comes to incumbent Greg Walden, we're not getting it. Walden has opposed gay marriage and the regulation of greenhouse gases, pitting him as a climate change denier in a world where that sentiment is going the way of the coal-fired energy plant. Crary needs to simply touch on Walden's voting record to sway the voters of this district, and there's (maybe) still some time to do that. Plus, we're still annoyed that Walden's office didn't even bother to take part in a single debate in this race—and that Walden hasn't yet rescinded his endorsement of Donald Trump. 'Nuff said. Vote for Jim Crary for the U.S. House of Representatives.
· Crary's preferred adult beverage: Scotch on Ice with Water
In this four-way race, there are two candidates who have the background and qualifications to work for the best interests of Oregonians. Chris Telfer of Bend stands out. She is a hard-nosed certified public accountant and former state senator who has experience in how Oregon's $90 billion treasury should be invested in challenging times ahead.
As a former Democrat and Republican turned Independent, she is opposed by Democrat Tobias Read, Lake Oswego City Councilman and private investor Jeff Gudman and Green Party candidate Chris Henry. Gudman is a strong challenger who holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, but he lacks experience as a state senator.
As Oregon tackles a $22 billion shortfall in the State's pension plan, it will take an experienced treasurer to oversee Oregon's investment portfolio as dollars become stretched. A vote for Chris Telfer is the wise choice.
In this race, both candidates have a diversified, legal background. Republican challenger Daniel Zene Crowe brings a background as a veterans advocate and attorney with a West Point background, but his experience pales when compared to Democrat Ellen Rosenblum who has held the office since 2012.
Rosenblum has 22 years experience as a judge, eight more as a federal prosecutor, and five as a private attorney. Although his advocacy of veterans needs is noteworthy, Crowe has a long way to go to match Rosenblum's experience. It is also noteworthy that Rosenblum has helped lead the way in cracking down on crimes against those who are most vulnerable—the elderly and children—prosecuting sexual predators and child pornographers, as well as targeting scams against senior citizens.
This race seems clear based on Rosenblum's years of experience and there is no reason to change the guard. A vote for Ellen Rosenblum is the clear choice.