House District 38 looms as a very important legislative race in Oregon. And it has obvious ramifications for Lake Oswego and Southwest Portland.

Current Rep. Greg Macpherson, D-Lake Oswego, is not running for re-election. Instead, he has aimed his sights higher and is in a dogfight with John Kroger, a professor at Lewis and Clark School of Law.

That leaves two Democrats - Linda Brown and Chris Garrett - fighting it out for Macpherson's old seat in the May 20 primary. The winner will face Republican challenger Stephen Griffith in November (see below).

Many people are having a tough time handicapping this race and the reason becomes obvious after sitting down with both candidates. They are engaging, dedicated and obviously care about their campaigns.

Brown, the current chair of the Lake Oswego School Board, and Garrett, an attorney with Perkins Coie in Portland, have put time, sweat equity, money and heart into their respective campaigns. They have campaigned hard, often by knocking on doors, in a district that includes much of Lake Oswego and portions of Southwest Portland.

What it comes down to essentially is this: Who will best represent the interests of Lake Oswego?

We think Linda Brown has done an exemplary job during her many years in Lake Oswego. Along with her strong educational leanings (she's a University of Colorado graduate), she has a background in health care, civic outreach, has worked with the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce, been a Neighborhood chair (Blue Heron), serves on the Lakewood Center for the Arts board. and worked with the Oregon School Board Association's Legislative Policy Committee. She has spent time in Salem on behalf of OSBA and has a good grasp of what some of the problems are in this state.

Chris Garrett is a relative newcomer to Lake Oswego, having recently settled into the First Addition. He is not, however, a newcomer to the area, having been raised in Southwest Portland and going to public schools and Reed College before heading to the University of Chicago Law School. He served as a legislative assistant to then-Rep. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin, and senior policy adviser to Senate President Peter Courtney. He's been involved in various legal-related community service efforts (Lawyers Against Hunger and Classroom Law Project, to name but two).

Brown has the local name recognition, the history in the community and the strong interest in education. With Macpherson stepping down from the House, Garrett would be one of the only attorneys in that body should he be elected. He has strong potential as a politician.

Remembering this is a close race between two strong candidates, we think Lake Oswego's interests would best be served by someone who has been looking out for those interests for a long time. We suggest a vote for Linda Brown in the primary.

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