As Nov. 3 draws nearer, some voters have already turned in their ballots. For those who haven’t yet voted, we conclude our series of endorsements with a “Reader’s Digest” version for those who may have missed a few of our previous editorials.
For Umatilla County Board of Commissioners, we recommend Dan Dorran. Despite a recent DUII, when considering this year’s crop of commissioner candidates we feel he would be best suited to provide steady leadership for the county and work well with the county’s partners.
For Umatilla County Sheriff, we recommend Sheriff Terry Rowan. He is running unopposed. While we wish for a little more transparency from the sheriff’s office, Rowan has the experience to continue making improvements to the department.
For Morrow County Board of Commissioners, we recommend Jim Doherty for another term. Doherty has worked hard for his county and won respect on a statewide level in his first term, and we believe he has more to offer.
For Morrow County Sheriff, we recommend Sheriff Ken Matlack stay in office. While we believe his travel to discuss federal immigration issues have been a distraction from his job in Morrow County, overall we believe he has done an admirable job of steering his department through the significant challenges of being a rural sheriff’s department with limited resources to cover a large geographical area.
For Hermiston City Council, we recommend voters choose incumbents Rod Hardin, Doug Primmer, and David McCarthy, and former Hermiston school board member Maria Duron for their experience and solid track record in public office. We hope to see the fifth choice on the ballot, Nancy Peterson, throw her hat in the ring again immediately after the election for a Ward IV seat on the council recently vacated by Doug Smith.
For Senate District 59, we recommend another term for Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena. He has been a transparent, engaged legislator for the district in his current role and an extensive career in public service.
For House District 57, we recommend another term for Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner. He consistently delivers funding and policy wins for his district despite being a part of a superminority in the Oregon Legislature.
For House District 58, we recommend Republican Bobby Levy. She already has a strong network of contacts and experience in the state through leadership roles, such as president of the Eastern Oregon Women Coalition and chair of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission.
For Secretary of State, we recommend state Sen. Shemia Fagan, a Democrat. While she and her opponent agree on many issues, we appreciate Fagan has been willing to go against the wishes of her party at times in the past and hope to see a similar attitude when needed in the Secretary of State’s office.
For State Treasurer, we recommend incumbent Tobias Read, a Democrat. While we hope to see him do more to solve the Public Employees Retirement System deficit in his next term, overall he has a good track record and has provided more detailed plans for the future than his opponent.
For State Attorney General, we recommend Ellen Rosenblum, a Democrat, for re-election. Rosenblum’s opponent is not even an attorney and nothing in his record suggests that he would be able to successfully perform vital tasks as the chief legal officer of the state and head of the Department of Justice.
For Congressional District 2, we recommend former state senator Cliff Bentz, a Republican. Bentz understands rural Eastern Oregon issues and during his time in the state Legislature proved he could get things done for his district even while in the minority party.
For U.S. Senate, we recommend another term for Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat. We don’t always see eye to eye on everything with Merkley, but his Republican opponent has openly embraced wild conspiracy theories, while Merkley has worked hard for Oregon and delivered bipartisan legislation on important issues from veteran health care to stopping the closure of rural post offices.
For Measure 30-145, known as the Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance, we recommend voting no. The measure is likely to be ruled unconstitutional by the courts, and even if it were to stand, we don’t believe some gun laws the measure would ban the county from participating in, such as background checks for gun purchases, would be an infringement on Second Amendment rights.
For Measure 107, which would amend the state constitution to allow laws limiting political campaign contributions and expenditures, we recommend a yes vote. Money speaks loudly in politics, and we need to make sure it doesn’t drown out the voice of the people.
For Measure 108, which raises taxes on cigarettes and cigars and establishes a tax on e-cigarette and vaping materials, we recommend a yes vote. It would provide Oregon with an estimated $160 million more revenue a year, and past tax increases on tobacco products have shown such increases are followed by a decrease in smoking rates.
For Measure 109, which legalizes psilocybin for therapeutic purposes in some settings, we recommend a no vote. Like all psychoactive drugs, it can have serious side effects, and there is still much that researchers are still working to determine about safe use. We hope the research continues and that evidence-based laws for safe use are established in the future, but it is too early to give the green light now.
For Measure 110, we recommend a no vote. The measure would reduce possession of small user amounts of illegal drugs, such as heroin from a misdemeanor to a civil offense (similar to a traffic ticket) and some larger quantities from a felony to a misdemeanor. This reduces the role that judges and law enforcement are able to play in getting people into drug court and other treatment. The measure would also divert some marijuana tax revenue to “addiction recovery centers,” and while we would like to see more money for addiction treatment, these centers would merely provide services, such as assessment and peer support, rather than in-patient treatment beds.