Little hand saving money in pink piggy bank

Listening to Republican politicians talk over the last few years, they are frustrated about their lack of control of the state. We have heard it again in this election.

They are a superminority in the Legislature. They can't stop some bills moving and laws changing -- except as we have seen by walking out. They complain about Portland being in control. And they worry the only answer to problems Oregonians will see is to be pummeled with more taxes and regulations.

They do have a point. Oregon isn't entirely blue. State government sure looks that way. Republicans need to come up with solutions and convince Oregonians they have better solutions. It's a hard sell that shutting down the state Legislature with a walkout is the best way to solve Oregon's problems. The walkout didn't even stop Democrats from being able to implement many of the goals of their climate plan.

If Republican legislators with at least a smidgen of statewide name recognition don't run for statewide offices and don't give Democrats a meaningful challenge, things aren't going to change. You don't have to have the best polling data to make a good guess about what will happen in the race between Democratic Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and her Republican challenger Michael Cross, who is not even an attorney.

Then there's the race for state treasurer. Democrat Tobias Read is running for re-election against Republican Jeff Gudman. Gudman came close against Read in 2016 when the seat was open. He follows state financial issues closely, has a serious financial background and was on the Lake Oswego City Council. He might make a good state treasurer, though what he'd do if elected is a bit fuzzy. He only raised a fraction of the money Read has for this race. To make a serious challenge, he would need support from more Republicans.

Read has provided more detail for voters about his next term. For instance, he is going to build on the work of his savings plan, which helps enable more Oregonians to save for retirement. There's more on his campaign website, tobiasread.com.

We would have liked to see him do more to address one of the state's biggest financial challenges, the shortfall in funding Oregon's Public Employees Retirement System. The shortfall is about $25 billion and that takes money away from schools, roads, public safety and more. We recommend voting for Read. But it may be more important to send him an email at oregon.treasurer@ost.state.or.us and ask him to suggest more ways to get that $25 billion under control.

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