State legislative candidate Fred Bremner, a Republican, and incumbent two-term Democrat Greg Macpherson both live in Lake Oswego with their families and care deeply about their community.
But that's where their similarities come to an end.
The election for the next state representative of House District 38 pits Bremner, a man passionate about illegal immigration issues against Macpherson, a seasoned state representative who feels strongly about state financial issues.
Macpherson, an employee benefits attorney, supports tougher clean-air standards in Oregon, an increase in the cigarette tax to benefit health care, reform for the corporate income tax kicker and changes in the state land-use law.
Bremner, a Milwaukie-based periodontist, does not. And unlike his opponent, Bremner favors parental notification for teen abortion and a limit on state spending.
He talks at length about the need for morality and stronger family values in the nation and waxes philosophically on how faith-based decisions can positively influence government.
'Without moral or ethical values, our society is going down the drain,' Bremner said.
Bremner's platform focuses on illegal immigration, which he believes increases the cost of education, uses up health care funding, increases the cost of education and encourages drug dealing across the state.
He maintains that immigrants should produce proof of citizenship to vote and receive a driver's license, while English immersion should become a requirement for immigrants in Oregon's public schools.
'We don't ask if (immigrants) are legal, and we provide them with all types of services,' Bremner said.
Macpherson's primary charge, on the other hand, is fixing the 'unstable and inadequate' revenue system that would otherwise support public services in Oregon.
Passing Measures 48 (a limit to state spending) and 41 (income tax substitutes for state exemption credit) would further reduce that revenue stream, he said.
Instead, Macpherson supports rainy day funds, such as one that could be created from the corporate tax kicker. He's also a big supporter of legislation that would ban cell phone use while driving and has written about the subject in a recent Lake Oswego Review Citizen's View.
During the past two terms that he's represented District 18, Macpherson prides himself on helping create a bill that requires a doctor's prescription for medications containing pseudo-ephedrine, a key ingredient in popular meth-cooking recipes. It was later signed into law, making Oregon the first state to have such a requirement.
Macpherson also successfully worked to increase a local option to help financially support the Lake Oswego School District.
When it comes to education, both candidates generally agree that funding could be better across the board. While Macpherson believes more emphasis should be placed on the state's public colleges, universities and community colleges, Bremner seeks changes primarily for K-12.
Bremner, a long-time political buff, decided to run against Macpherson - a third-generation legislator - to give him a healthy dose of competition.
Residents should always have more than one option when it comes to electing a politician, Bremner added.
'People need to vote on the candidates, not on the party,' Bremner said.
So far, neither Macpherson nor Bremner have made strong campaigning efforts, other than sitting in on editorial meetings, sometimes side-by-side.
'We left laughing together from (a meeting). He doesn't attack me, so it's good,' Bremner said. 'I'm new to this kind of thing.'