Hermiston Herald Endorses Governor

From the October 17 edition of the Hermiston Herald:

Gov. Ted Kulongoski is not entering the final weeks of the gubernatorial campaign with the sort of strength he clearly would like to have had. He has lost some of the enthusiastic support he had when he first ran four years ago. He faced challenges from within his own party during the primary season, and public employee unions, who supported the governor in 2002, gave their support to Democrat Jim Hill. His opponent in the general election, Republican Ron Saxton, has painted Kulongoski¹s term as a failure. His re-election next month is anything but assured. Despite all this, the governor gets the endorsement of the Hermiston Herald. While his record during the past four years is anything but sterling, by objective measures, it has been a success. Kulongoski took office at a time when the Oregon economy was at rock bottom. Tax revenues were in sharp decline, and the Public Employees Retirement System was in crisis. All of that has reversed to some degree during the governor¹s four years in office. Given the circumstances Kulongoski faced as he entered office in 2003, one would have to give the governor good marks as chief executive officer of the state of Oregon. Can things be better? Of course. Ron Saxton, however, believes things couldn't be worse, and he is telling voters to trust him to make sweeping reforms. Saxton¹s problem, however, is an almost complete lack of specifics on how he would improve current conditions - other than to say he will reduce government spending and run a more efficient government. He opposes any new taxes, yet believes the state can and must improve the quality of education for Oregon students. Simple efficiencies aren¹t enough. But worse, yet, he backs Measure 41, which would expand state income tax deductions which would result in a reduction in the general fund in the next biennium by almost $800 million. That means tremendous cuts to schools in Hermiston and around the state. Experience is also a factor in this race. Saxton¹s resumé is that of lawyer and school board member. Meanwhile, Kulongoski is a former legislator, attorney general, Oregon Supreme Court justice, and current governor. Saxton had a chance to be a great Republican nominee for governor. His politics are more in tune with Oregonians than previous GOP nominees. But he has failed to outline how he would carry out his plans for improving the economy, the health care system and the state of education. He wants us to trust in his own belief in the magic of cutting waste and inefficiencies. We¹d rather trust Kulongoski, who has a track record and a measurable list of accomplishments.

Posted on October 30, 2006