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Patti Smith will be missed

We were as shocked as many others to learn that State Rep. Patti Smith will not seek a fifth term representing the Sandy area in the Oregon House of Representatives.

Smith has been a very pleasant, very accessible member of the Legislature to work with, and she will be missed.

No matter which side of the political spectrum you're on, it's hard not to admire Smith's attention to constituent concerns, regardless of their size or scope, or whether they even had anything to do with the Legislature.

Smith has been a constant fixture at many Sandy-area meetings and events, which is a feat when you consider how large House District 52 is.

The Sandy area will have a hard time finding a representative who spends as much time working (for free) and meeting with local residents as Patti Smith.

We're glad to see that Suzanne VanOrman will be back in the race a second time. VanOrman, who had little to no name recognition in the Sandy area just two years ago, is a familiar name in the community, and we look forward to seeing what she does in her sophomore effort.

We're also excited to see a Sandy candidate emerge in the race, attorney Steve Richkind. This candidate has big dreams and a grand vision of a people-powered government, and we're fascinated to see what comes of it. He has plans to get 1,000 volunteers working for him by May - we'd love to see it happen.

No matter what people think of Richkind's policies, in the end, getting that kind of participation in a local election would be not only noteworthy but commendable.

We look forward to seeing a Republican candidate emerge after Smith's surprise announcement. We hope the Clackamas County Republican leadership picks someone who has a real desire and a drive to represent this district, not just someone pressured into running for running's sake.

At a time when national politics are all the rage, let's not forget about the importance of our local races, specifically the House District 52 election. With many big issues staring Oregon in the face - transportation, education, healthcare, infrastructure - we need to carefully select a representative who will not only pay attention but will be an active leader in the state, advocating our values.