Our Opinion

In the May primary, Republican voters should select the most qualified candidate to lead Oregon forward as it contends with serious issues of imbalanced revenue and state spending, unemployment, localized health care reform and fully integrating sustainability into our economy.

In a race involving nine GOP candidates, we believe Allen Alley is the top Republican to compete in the November general election. Last week, we endorsed John Kitzhaber for the Democratic nomination in May.

Alley is a high-tech businessman who, during the past half decade, has progressed greatly as a public leader. He is an engineer at heart who early on used his experiences in the auto industry, as well as in other states and nations, to serve as inspiration for how Oregon could improve economically.

Since then, Alley literally has walked the state. He has met and learned from real-life Oregonians. He also worked briefly in Gov. Ted Kulongoski's administration and ran for state treasurer. In doing so, he has become an Oregonian inspired to lead change and improvement.

A business-minded approach

Alley wants state government to halt its practice of simply passing legislation or adopting fees and taxes without first taking stock of the long-term consequences of its actions. He favors keeping state spending flat. And he would impose tighter budgetary controls on programs funded by dedicated revenue, such as health care programs aided by federal funds or transportation programs paid for by the state's gas tax.

We think Alley has a head start on learning the management side of a complicated state government, thanks to his experience as chief executive of Tualatin-based Pixelworks and his role at InFocus Systems in Wilsonville. We believe he will further require state agencies to work together. And he is prepared to make tough decisions on employee matters by exploring the creation of a fourth tier in the PERS system and requiring state employees to pay a portion of their health care costs.

In a state shy of jobs, we think Alley has the energy and capacity to improve how government works with existing Oregon business and how it recruits new businesses to the state.

A competitive race

Alley faces serious competition from three other candidates: political newcomer Chris Dudley, a former Portland Trail Blazer; Bill Sizemore, the controversial king of initiative ballot measures; and former state legislator John Lim. Other minor Republican candidates include Clark Colvin, W. Ames Curtright, Bob Forthan, Darren Karr and Rex Watkins.

Dudley is an appealing and inspiring candidate for future office. He is smart and motivated to make Oregon a better place. Dudley created an immediate stir in this race and captured the sentiments of many Oregonians who are tired of the same old federal and state politics.

Unfortunately, Dudley has an incredible amount to learn about state government, the Legislature and what it will take to address issues such as school funding, improved educational performance, job creation, PERS funding, sustainability and health care. Months after filing for office, he still speaks publicly in generalities.

Yes, he has a detailed plan for Oregon's recovery. But when he talks about his core initiatives, he is too willing to gloss over the specifics.

We want Dudley to become even more involved in the public process and run for office again. He is a rising star who can aid Oregon's future.

While we are stimulated by Sizemore's consistent rhetoric and sometimes well-founded ideas about government, Oregon would not be well-served by him as governor. Sizemore is a lightning rod who would alienate, not bring people together, and his legal troubles remain unsettled.

Lim, an immigrant from South Korea, respected businessman and former state legislator, professes a commitment to improve Oregon. We admire Lim, but he has not demonstrated in this campaign the ability to inspire and lead all Oregonians.

In the May 18 primary election, Republican voters should give their support to Allen Alley.

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