Voters in Lake Oswego, West Linn and Tualatin have a very easy - and a very qualified choice - as to who can best serve them in the Oregon Senate. That choice is incumbent Richard Devlin.

Devlin, a Democrat, is running for re-election to a second term in the Nov. 7 general election. Prior to that, he served three terms in the Oregon House of Representatives, two terms on the Metro Council and on the Tualatin City Council.

Through the years, Devlin has proven himself to be a steady, thoughtful decision-maker who uses facts, not emotion and party registration to make decisions. Over the past few years, Devlin has found himself at the center of the public school funding debate as a member of the Joint Ways and Means Committee and chair of that group's sub-committee on education. He is a schools expert that can make a difference in Salem.

Devlin may never be the state's most dynamic legislator. But he is one of the most, if not the most, prepared legislators. We think that attribute serves local citizens, as well as the state, very well. Such effort means that Devlin will listen and respond to local citizens' needs. And while he may not always agree or be able to help solve a problem, we have found him always willing to listen and to try to help.

Over the years, Devlin has built another asset worth retaining. He has won election four times in local House and Senate districts that might be thought of as Republican-centered. We suspect that voters have supported Devlin because he is a moderate, a label that we need more of in Salem.

Republican David Newell, a youthful West Linn resident and computer security firm executive, opposes Devlin. Newell brings a passion for making schools better and for improving how the state funds schools. He has the right goal: A better education for young Oregonians. But his newness to Oregon and very limited community experience don't warrant election to the state Senate in 2006. We encourage Newell to first get involved locally.

In the Nov. 7 general election, vote to re-elect Richard Devlin to Senate District 19.

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