By David Coutin

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It’s no fun being a political moderate these days. You are constantly attacked by both sides. But one may ask: “Do the extremes represent average Oregonians and their concerns?” Dr. Knute Buehler has, on innumerable occasions, demonstrated his bipartisanship and willingness to work across the aisle for the benefit of all Oregon citizens. He approaches issues from a strong moral compass and a sense of compassion and a willingness to listen to both sides. He is Oregon State University’s first Rhodes scholar and one of Oregon’s most accomplished physicians. I would also add that his support for education, his own and for Oregon’s children, is in sharp contrast to the policies of the existing administration that has failed Oregon’s children whether it be in education, the increasing childhood homeless or those in foster care. Kate Brown’s legacy is one of a high rate of high school dropouts, reduced graduation rates and rising higher education costs at state institutions.

He has greatly benefited the Central Oregon community by his involvement in his extensive nonprofit activities. The Center Orthopedic & Neurosurgical Care & Research, of which he is a partner, has long supported our school athletic programs and promoted brain concussion safety. He has pushed St. Charles Health System toward a patient-centered approach to health care in his capacity as a long-standing hospital board member. He has promoted the expansion of our local four-year university, which will improve both the labor market and livable wages for our citizens, and promote health care career education at all levels. As our state legislator, he has supported policies to protect state whistleblowers who have identified fraud and abuse, identified outlandish health care expenses and the obvious failures in our foster care program and fought against incessant tax increases and the failure of the Brown administration to transparently identify and solve these issues. Buehler worked across the legislative aisle to make contraception widely available to Oregon’s women, including over-the-counter birth control with appropriate safeguards. He strategically opposed Kate Brown’s philosophy of taxing everything that Oregonians enjoy, such as rafting, paddleboarding, off-road activities — and even her proposed tax on groceries. His efforts prompted, in part, the audit of the Oregon Heath Authority that found thousands of ineligible folks costing Oregon’s taxpayers over $74 million dollars. He will continue to seek methods to improve the stewardship of our tax dollars by ensuring that dollars spent by the Oregon Health Plan is for Oregonians, not the undocumented using our state as a safe haven to consume precious health care resources. Buehler will also ensure that every dollar spent by the Oregon Health Authority is sanctioned by both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and Oregon’s Health Evidence Review Commission, which prioritizes spending based on medical evidence of effectiveness and state laws and not on the basis of vocal groups seeking to push their own agendas that consume resources that are essentially unneeded. He has saved countless lives by sponsoring legislation increasing availability of naloxone for opiate overdoses.

Buehler has the ability to prioritize the problems our state faces and to lead from a very balanced and common-sense perspective. Nearly every study of human behavior predicts that past performance is the best predictor of future performance. If Oregonians carefully study Knute’s past performance, they will understand that his future actions as governor will be the their best choice. I encourage Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike to vote for Knute Buehler for governor this November.

— David Coutin, a doctor, lives in Bend