Brad Avakian is not running again for Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries. On the May ballot seeking to replace him are Jack Howard, 58, of La Grande; Val Hoyle, 54, of Eugene; and Lou Ogden, 63, of Tualatin.

Voters should cast their ballots for Ogden.

If none of the three gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the May primary election, the top two will be on the November general election ballot.

Howard, who was born and reared in Washington state, has held a variety of jobs, from freelance writer to teacher to lawyer. He serves on the Union County Commission. He’s running, he says, because he has long been interested in labor issues and working conditions. He has no campaign finance committee and has raised no money for the race.

Hoyle was appointed to a seat in the State House of Representatives in 2009 and served as majority leader of that body. She resigned in 2016 to run for secretary of state but was defeated by Avakian in the primary election. Unlike Avakian, Hoyle would no doubt take a more collaborative approach to the BOLI job.

Ogden, meanwhile, stands out as the candidate who would really like to redirect some of the agency’s energy. The 24-year, nonpartisan mayor of Tualatin, a community about the size of Redmond, says BOLI has focused so much on labor in recent years it’s forgotten its duties to industry. He would change that, he says.

Ogden argues the state’s apprenticeship programs, which BOLI oversees, fall short of the mark, something he would strive to change. Ogden promises a different approach to BOLI than either of his opponents. While he would no doubt continue to enforce wage and hour rules and rules about discrimination, his attention to industrial health could bring economic improvements across the state. Ogden deserves your vote in May.

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