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GOVERNOR: JOHN KITZHABER

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Though Oregon's economy continues to limp, there have been slow but steady improvements in healthcare and education over the past four years. Say what you will about investigations into Gross Happiness Quotients, Kitzhaber has given us no reason to dethrone him. And while Dennis Richardson comes across as an unassuming grandfatherly figure, his assurances that he'll uphold laws he personally disagrees with isn't enough to counter his ultra-conservative views on issues such as abortion access and LGBT rights. Social issues aside, Richardson hasn't mounted a compelling campaign for why the state should fix something that, arguable, isn't broken. That said, legitimate questions have been raised about the extent to which the governor does what he wants—protocol be damned. His decision to halt executions (however morally-inspired that may be) and recent concerns about ethical conflicts with his fiancée's consulting work are two clear examples. Kitzhaber is the better choice for Oregon, but more accountability should color this term.

Read our Q&As with John Kitzhaber and opponent Dennis Richardson.

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