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Our Endorsement: Read is 'better of three' choice for treasurer

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State Treasurer: Tobias Read (Democrat)

No endorsement this year vexed us as much as this one. Not because it was a “lesser-of-two” option but, rather, a “better-of-three” choice.

Democrat Tobias Read, Republican Jeff Gudman and Independent Chris Telfer all are personable, civic-minded candidates qualified to step into the job they’re seeking.

We settled on Read because of his résumé and reputation.

The 41-year-old former Nike footwear developer worked for U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers from 1999 to 2001 and holds an MBA from the University of Washington. During his nine years in the statehouse, he’s earned a reputation as a smart and wonky lawmaker, with an interest in financial matters. The soft-spoken Beaverton resident pushed hard for a rainy-day fund and a law to make it easier for employees to save for retirement.

His steady, if not flashy, style is well suited for the job, which includes being the only elected official on the Oregon Investment Council. He’s endorsed by incumbent Treasurer Ted Wheeler and former Treasurer Randall Edwards, both of whom served the state well in this job.

Gudman may be the surprise of the 2016 election. Little known outside of Lake Oswego, where he serves on the City Council, Gudman is well-versed in the duties of the job he’s seeking. Like Read, he has an MBA (his is from the prestigious Wharton School of Business) and has worked as a financial analyst, private investor and corporate controller.

Our only concern was his lack of experience in Salem, which could significantly hamper his effectiveness.

Telfer also is an attractive candidate. The former GOP lawmaker from Bend came to Salem as a bit of an ideologue but learned quickly that she needed to compromise to be effective. That skill won her fans on the other side of the aisle, an attribute that would serve the certified public accountant well as treasurer.

As noted above, we feel any of these three could succeed as treasurer, but Read’s background makes him our choice.