House District 52 Republicans have two very different choices in the May 20 primary, and after a lot of debate, we're recommending sending Corbett businesswoman Phyllis Thiemann to the general election.

When it comes down to it, the decision was between someone with good statewide ideas and someone with good local ideas.

Thiemann is the latter, and she promises to be the logical continuation of outgoing Rep. Patti Smith's personal constituent service and commitment to area issues.

She has plenty of experience dealing with tourism, the bread and butter of the Mount Hood area, and something the city of Sandy desires to develop further.

Thiemann has received Smith's endorsement - something we don't take lightly - and has more leadership experience than her endorser had when she first ran for office.

It is worth noting there is a lot we like about Thiemann's opponent, world-renowned mixed martial artist Matt Lindland of Eagle Creek.

For one, Lindland appeals more to the classic conservative Republicans. He says he's a Republican with a libertarian streak, a change from the socially conservative, fiscally liberal policies of the party's national leadership.

Reaganomics seems to be Lindland's mantra, that of smaller government, less regulation and smarter spending. He's a pro-life, pro-traditional family candidate.

However, if local Republicans are looking for the same kind of service they received from Patti Smith, they're going to be disappointed. Lindland aims to continue his professional mixed martial-arts career and have it work around his political schedule.

He won't pretend to be a professional politician because he believes those types have no place in a citizen Legislature.

We agree with his principle, but we believe that annual sessions are a good idea in this day and age, as the issues facing the state and the district have ballooned out of the typical confines of a biennial session.

We see this as a big issues for our district, and is the defining characteristic that separates the candidates.

We need someone who will fight for our district when they're in session, but also someone who will have the time and energy to understand the local issues of this large and diverse district between sessions.

Even local Democrats will admit Patti Smith was that kind of leader, and we believe Thiemann has the ability and the desire to continue that pattern.

Thiemann steers clear of the divisive political issues of the day - abortion, gay rights, etc. - and instead focuses on issues on which she can exert real influence: transportation, public safety and land use.

In a moderate district like ours, where there are equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats and a high percentage of independents, Thiemann - who values cooperation over party loyalty - is a smart pick, especially given the vulnerability of this open seat.

Thiemann already has started acting like a state representative. She has met with key ODOT officials regarding the Highway 26 corridor. She has met with community leaders throughout the district, including Smith, to learn about the district's many issues.

Her experience with various chambers of commerce and tourism gives her the edge in understanding the business world and how private and public entities work together.

But we think that in order to be elected to the House, Thiemann needs some of the fire of her primary opponent. She needs some concrete ideas of how to accomplish her goals. She would do well to adopt some of the small-government, libertarian principles of her primary opponent, while keeping her cooperative spirit.

We believe Lindland could do a very good job at the Legislature. He knows the Sandy area well. He could energize state politics among his fans and young people, providing not a sideshow act at the Capitol, but a unique voice for a much-needed dialogue about the financial and governmental future of this state. Thiemann simply cannot be that kind of figurehead.

But in the end, we believe Thiemann has the time, the experience and the Patti Smith-style bipartisan spirit needed to make things happen in the Oregon Legislature as a rookie representative.

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