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Here's help filling out the ballot

After months of political positioning and posturing, Election Day finally arrives in Oregon next Tuesday, May 17.

That may bring cheers from those annoyed by campaign ads, but we enjoy the political season. Elections offer us the chance to meet with those who hold power and those who seek it. We gain insights into what others see as the major challenges ahead and how we, as a community, might best address them.

Overall, we were impressed by those who sought our endorsements. With few exceptions, the people running for office seemed motivated by a genuine desire to improve their communities. Here’s a recap of our picks in contested races. (Other endorsements can be found at portlandtribune.com/portland-tribune-opinion.)

Governor (Republican): Allen Alley

We truly liked Bud Pierce, the Salem oncologist who was first to jump into the race. If we were picking a doctor (or state health policy adviser), he’d be on our list to call. But we don’t view the governor’s office as a place for on-the-job training, so our definite choice is Allen Alley. His brief tenure as a staffer to former Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski gave him an insider’s view of the office, and an appreciation for the folks on the opposite side of the statehouse aisle.

Alley’s background as an engineer and tech-industry entrepreneur would serve him well as Oregon’s problem-solver-in-chief.

Secretary of state (Democrat): Richard Devlin

State Sen. Richard Devlin has never been flashy. But in his three-plus decades of public service — from the Tualatin parks committee and Metro Council to the state Senate — he has received almost universal high marks. His methodical approach and encyclopedic knowledge of the state budget make him a good match for overseeing state audits. His reputation for high integrity is key for anyone handling the Elections Division.

State Rep. Val Hoyle, from Eugene, would be our second choice. State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian’s proposals to expand the duties of the office and penchant for partisanship make us wary.

Washington County Commissioners (Non-partisan)

These are not western Washington County races, but the candidates who win these seats will affect issues out here.

Washington County prides itself on being known as the economic engine of Oregon, and in this era of ever-speedier communication and ever-evolving technology, it deserves that description.

In our view, it’s the two incumbents who will best position the county for the massive growth that’s predicted here and best balance the many needs of the county’s residents — both rural and suburban. Dick Schouten is running unopposed to again represent District 1 (comprising Beaverton and Aloha). And Roy Rogers has the only real race, facing challenger Glendora Claybrooks for the commission’s District 3 seat (comprising Tigard and Tualatin).

Rogers, a CPA who has served as a county commissioner since 1985, is well known for his dedication to mass transit and takes some criticism for those positions. That said, Rogers’ dedication in that arena underscores his understanding that the ability to move people and goods through our county will play a huge role in its success as a place for business, but also as a place to live, play and attend school.

It’s fair to point out some of the county-wide transportation challenges that have arisen or intensified during Rogers’ tenure, among them crowding along Highway 217 and the Sunset Highway.

But Rogers’ many years of political experience gives him a keen understanding of the interplay between the many public agencies that work together to shape and serve Washington County.

Claybrooks, meanwhile, brings to the table a wealth of experience in the area of community health and focuses her candidacy on Washington County’s infrastructure needs, her promise of improved collaboration between agencies, and the benefit of bringing a fresh perspective to problems unresolved by longtime elected officials.

Further, her insight into and understanding of the needs of the county’s diverse population, and her commitment to communication and outreach to those populations will make her a valuable player in county politics in years to come, though she needs to better familiarize herself with the workings of county politics and partnerships.

In our view, the answer is clear — vote for Roy Rogers for District 3.