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 candidate - state Rep. Greg Macpherson of Lake Oswego - has the prerequisite knowledge of Oregon, its people and the institutions necessary to hold statewide office.
Macpherson's opponent in the May primary - John Kroger, a professor at Lewis and Clark School of Law - has an impressive background as a youthful 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 his newness to the state, Kroger is running a strong campaign that has attracted support from many in the law enforcement community. He also offers specific ways that Oregon's attorney general can be more assertive in encouraging treatment of drug offenders, in ensuring compliance with environmental laws and in forcing parents to keep current with their child support.
Kroger comes across as a man on a mission, but his mission is that of a legal crusader possibly found in other states, but not in Oregon where statutes more narrowly define the attorney general's authority. As such, we are not convinced that he is best suited to follow through on his platform.
Macpherson, a Lake Oswego resident and Portland attorney, already has put in the time - six years in the Legislature representing District 38 (Lake Oswego and portions of Southwest Portland), where he helped lead the fight to crack down on over-the-counter drugs used to manufacture methamphetamine.
He knows the issues and better understands the role of Oregon's attorney general.
Knowledge and experience are essential for the attorney general to be successful. Yes, we would like to see a more activist attorney general than Oregon has had in the past, but it is Macpherson who has developed the experience and relationships necessary to make that advocacy achieve results.
With no Republican running in the fall, whoever wins this race will be the next attorney general. We recommend that voters choose Greg Macpherson.