Editorial: Vote Huffman in District 59 primary

There are two candidates in the Republican primary for the District 59 seat, but only one choice: incumbent John Huffman.

Huffman, 57, is the former owner of a radio station in The Dalles. These days, his focus is on being a state legislator. He was first appointed in 2007 to fill a vacated seat.

His record is strong. Huffman gets things done for the district and for the state. Here are just a few examples:

He fixed the money problem this year for Central Oregon Community College and Oregon State University-Cascades Campus. Without the fix, OSU-Cascades would have been stuck with a building on the COCC campus it was ready to get out of and COCC couldn’t move in. He also helped land about $4 million for a new Jefferson County Courthouse.

Huffman took the lead to protect the privacy of Oregonians with his bill in 2013 on the use of drones. The bill basically prevents law enforcement from using drones to conduct mass surveillance of innocent Oregonians. Drones can still be used with a warrant or for searching for a lost individual.

He is not done yet on privacy issues. He is working on legislation for the next session on license plate readers and data on cellphones and the Internet. The language of the bills has not been finalized, but the principle is the same as with his drone legislation: Find a good balance between law enforcement needs and privacy.

Huffman is a Republican, but he has demonstrated a willingness to break with many members of his party on certain issues. He voted in favor of the bill that this editorial page supported that gave undocumented students the ability to attend state universities and pay in-state tuition. The bill is not a free-for-all. It applies only to students who attended an Oregon high school for at least three years, graduated and worked toward becoming a citizen or legal resident.

Huffman’s primary opponent is Britt Storkson, 59. He is a water pumping specialist. He has legitimate concerns about the influence of money in politics and ensuring elections are fair. But it is all clothed in such conspiratorial assertions that we find it difficult to imagine he would be effective.

Huffman offers proven leadership. Vote Huffman.