Amid all the partisan emotion leading up to the Nov. 7 election, it's refreshing to be able to recommend three local legislators who've been models of moderation in Salem.

Democratic Sen. Rick Metsger and Republican Reps. John Lim and Patti Smith have served their districts well in the Legislature and deserve re-election. All three of these legislators have been willing to work with members of both parties - and often with each other - to advance the interests of East Multnomah and Clackamas counties. And while each of the incumbents faces varying degrees of credible opposition in this election, their experience will be greatly needed when the Legislature convenes in January for the 2007 session.

Senate District 26: Rick Metsger

Metsger - whose sprawling district extends from Hood River to Clackamas and includes Corbett, Boring, Sandy and areas east of Troutdale and Gresham - has served in the state Senate since 1998. During that time, he has specialized in consumer-protection issues and has been a strong advocate for education funding and school improvement. Metsger has cooperated with his district colleagues in the House - Smith and Rep. Linda Flores of Clackamas - on issues of importance to the area. And he also has recognized the critical need to improve transportation funding in Oregon.

Metsger's Republican opponent is Hood River County Commissioner Carol York, who is running an assertive campaign throughout the far reaches of District 26. York is smart, focused and non-partisan, but she presents no compelling reason to replace Metsger at this time.

Voters should re-elect Metsger and keep York in mind for a future seat in the Legislature.

House District 52: Patti Smith

The race for Oregon House District 52 also features two quality candidates.

Republican incumbent Patti Smith and Democratic challenger Suzanne VanOrman have very different ideas, strengths and weaknesses, but we're comfortable saying either would serve the district well.

Our endorsement, however, goes to Smith, who has proved in her first three terms in the House that she is in touch with the needs and issues of the district. Not only does Smith know the issues, but she is in a position to do something about them. Smith is chairwoman of the Agriculture/Natural Resources Committee, which allows her to shape legislation on matters that are near and dear to her constituents' hearts. She also has worked hard on items such as the safety corridor to prevent traffic fatalities on Highway 26, the methamphetamine epidemic, renewable energy and identity theft.

She is respected by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and works especially well with Metsger.

Smith's opponent in this race is a former Oregon City commissioner who is committed to better education funding and has valuable business experience. VanOrman shows great promise as a candidate, but Smith's legislative experience and her record of quality constituent service make her the better choice for now. Voters should re-elect Patti Smith.

House District 50: John Lim

Rep. John Lim of Gresham is a moderate Republican with a solid business background and reams of legislative experience. Lim served in the state Senate, but was forced out by Oregon's previous term-limits law. His decision to move to the House is indicative of his willingness to serve his community in a humble fashion.

Lim can point to legislative accomplishments in the areas of education, trade and economics. He also has shown his compassionate side by pushing legislation that helps low-income residents who are being forced out of mobile home parks and through his work to achieve health-insurance parity for those who suffer from mental illnesses.

Lim has two opponents in this election - Democrat Jill Selman-Ringer and Libertarian Brian Lowery. It is Lim, however, who has the experience necessary to advance Gresham's interests in the Oregon House.

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