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Kroger best bet for attorney general...

Both Democratic candidates for Oregon Attorney General have good ideas for extending the reach of that office deeper into the areas of environmental and consumer protection and crime prevention.

But only one of the two, John Kroger, has the temperament and outlook Oregon's top lawyer needs at this time.

Kroger, a professor at Lewis and Clark School of Law, has an impressive background as a federal prosecutor involved with high-level cases elsewhere in the nation, but he has scarce professional or volunteer experience working in Oregon, where he has lived for less than six years.

Despite being a relative newcomer, Kroger is running a strong campaign that has attracted support from many in the law enforcement community.

Kroger is a man on a mission. He offers specific ways that Oregon's Attorney General can be more assertive in encouraging treatment of drug offenders, ensuring compliance with environmental laws and forcing parents to keep current with their child support.

In short, Kroger promises to raise the profile of the office that has traditionally defined its authority narrowly. Such a philosophical shift is long overdue in a state where many scofflaws -- from deadbeat dads to corporate polluters -- think they have nothing to fear from the AG's office.

Finally, we applaud Kroger's willingness to use the AG's office to help local governments comply with public records requests.

That said, we also think highly of Kroger's rival in the May primary, state Rep. Greg Macpherson of Lake Oswego, who has the prerequisite knowledge of Oregon, its people and the institutions necessary to hold statewide office.

There's no doubt that he has the prerequisite knowledge of Oregon, its people and the institutions necessary to hold statewide office. During his six years in the legislature, Macpherson has won rave reviews, notably in his shepherding of reforms to public employee pensions (which explains Kroger's union backing).

With no Republican running in the fall, whoever wins this race will be the next attorney general. While either Democrat would serve ably, our nod goes to John Kroger.