By Al Phillips

Dennis Richardson, Republican, former practicing attorney and Oregon state representative from District Four whose newsletters I have followed for a number of years, will oppose John Kitzhaber for the right to be the governor of our state.

Richardson, from Central Point and first elected in 2002, has been elected five times since then. Along the way he has served on a variety of committees and has been involved in a number of important activities. His newsletters have demonstrated his penchant for conservative thinking as he reported the results of the work in which he’s been involved.

He served on the PERS Reform Committee and was elected by unanimous peer vote as speaker pro tempore of Oregon’s House of Representatives. As testimony to the respect he commands, he was handed the gavel and asked to assume responsibility for crafting the multibillion-dollar Health and Human Services budgets as chairman of the Joint Ways and Means sub-committee on Health and Human Services, all without any prior experience.

Re-elected and serving in the 74th Assembly in 2007, he served as minority whip and vice-chair of House Health Care Policy Committee. He also served on the Ethics Guideline Committee, which focused on related gifts from lobbyists and others. He continued serving as a member of the minority party when Democrats held a super-majority 36 seats in the 75th Assembly in 2009.

The 76th legislative session in 2011 began with Republicans and Democrats having 30 seats each. Prior to the opening of the 2011 session, Richardson served on the Republican negotiating team and helped craft the “Oregon Co-Governance Model,” and later was selected to oversee the crafting of $55 billion in combined state budgets as Co-Chair of the Full Joint Senate-House Ways & Means Committee.

And he’s done more: Oregon has an official sister-state relationship with Fujian Province in China. The U.S.-China Business Council reports from 2003-2012 Oregon’s exports to China grew 302 percent. Richardson has led 10 trade missions to China and been to China 11 times as a legislator. He was named “Honorary Citizen of Fujian Province,” obvious testimony to the personal respect he commands internationally and the overall success achieved via his leadership.

After his childhood in Los Angeles, Richardson enlisted in the Army and was a decorated pilot in the Vietnam War. He married Catherine (Cathy) Coyle in 1973. They have eight daughters and one son and are devoted members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

His newsletters have demonstrated his propensity for a no-nonsense approach to solving problems. His approach focuses toward balanced budgets and spending within revenue limitations. He is a proponent of small business and business growth. He supports equality for all, but personally favors traditional marriage and does not favor abortion. He would have followed our laws rather than commute death sentences, as was Kitzhaber’s choice.

He recognizes where and how wealth is created and that commerce is the prerequisite of prosperity. He recognizes Oregon’s vast resources and the potential for growth those resources represent. And following his work the past few years has convinced me that as governor his leadership would result in new economic growth and a more business -friendly atmosphere in the Legislature.

It is well beyond the time for a changing of the guards here in our state. If it were not for a small faction in Multnomah County, we would have had that changing of the guards four years ago. Now we have another opportunity. Richardson represents new life and new focus for the state and, frankly, a breath of fresh air.

I was convinced quite some time ago that Richardson would be an excellent governor. Clearly his legislative work has demonstrated that he is well qualified to serve as governor, and he believes this state should operate pragmatically, not operate to the beat of liberal ideology. I urge you to join me in electing him.

— Al Phillips lives in Prineville.