Vote Buehler for secretary of state

Ben Johnson /

I am writing to recommend that my fellow Oregonians select Knute Buehler in the race for secretary of state. This is the executive branch position second only to that of governor in power and influence. This year the contrasts between the two candidates are exceptionally stark and the electorate’s choice will play an important role in charting the direction of this state for us and for our children.

On the one hand is incumbent Kate Brown — a professional politician who has strong connections to special interest groups (check her endorsements on her own website). Her actions and words also suggest she is a firm believer in bureaucracy’s primacy over citizens and promotes an activist role for government in social engineering. I find troubling her recent proposal of a bill “designed to meet the unique needs of companies that want to use their business to solve social and environmental problems.” Part of this bill will be a requirement for reporting on the overall social and environmental performance of companies — more government control!

Brown is fond of saying that she is “dedicated to making Oregon attractive to new businesses to create new good-paying jobs,” but we need real businesses that pay taxes and have real jobs to fill.

The last four years I have watched business after business fold in Redmond and I have repeatedly heard how difficult it is to wade through the quagmire of regulations in our state to get a new business up and running. This is an area in which her dedication should have materialized. Finally, her voting record in the Legislature indicates that she opposed multiple attempts at major reforms of the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS), which has brought our state to the brink of bankruptcy.

On the other hand is the challenger Dr. Knute Buehler — a successful businessman who has created jobs and brings to the table very real proposals to get Oregon working. As in his medical practice, Buehler has diagnosed the patient (in this case the office of the secretary of state) and proposes the following treatments:

1. Turn the corporation division into an active hub for business development instead of the passive registry.

2. Make sure agencies’ administrative rules continue to make sense by enforcing the five-year review required by state law but not carried out by the incumbent.

3. Reform PERS through specific recommendations that include removing the conflict of interest of state elected officials.

4. Use the authority as head of the audit division to ensure proper auditing of all state agencies and programs to promote efficient mission accomplishment and proper support of the Legislature’s budget process.

5. Ensure an efficient, legal and impartial election process that is free from partisan and special interest influences.

6. As a member of the State Land Board, push for a long-term plan for sustainability of state land that balances protection of the outdoors for future generations with greater access to industries that provide jobs to the rural economy.

At the recent debate in Bend between the candidates for the secretary of state position, Brown made a lot of her extensive political and bureaucratic experience, contrasting it to what she viewed as Buehler’s lack of relevant experience. So, such experience automatically equates to competency? And any new entry must serve his or her time in the political or bureaucratic machine? I think not! Oregon voters, the choice is yours — more of the same or new perspectives and new ideas.

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