Our Opinion

Democrat Ron Wyden has been in the U.S. Senate just long enough to begin building influence that will be helpful for Oregon. During his time in office - both as a senator and as a member of the House of Representatives - he has grown toward a political moderation that will serve him well in a body that's likely to be more closely divided between Democrats and Republicans following the Nov. 2 election.

While many voters throughout the country are rebelling against incumbent Democrats, we don't believe Wyden is someone who needs to be kicked out of the Senate. Yes, Wyden is politically left of center, but he also has shown a steady ability to work well with Republicans as he strives toward a more bipartisan approach to government.

Wyden's Republican challenger in this election is Lewis and Clark Law School professor Jim Huffman - an engaging, well-informed and reasonable candidate. Huffman expounds a libertarian philosophy on economic, environmental and social issues, and he advocates a shakeup in the U.S. Senate's protocols and procedures.

Huffman argues that seniority ought not count so heavily in determining who has influence and power in the Senate. But even as we could agree with him on that point, we also know that electing a newcomer from Oregon isn't going to alter generations of Senate tradition.

That is where Wyden, who first arrived in the U.S. Senate 14 years ago, is showing promise as Oregon's senior senator. Wyden's record of accomplishment isn't as thin as Huffman portrays it to be. On the issue of timber payments, for example, he was able to keep the federal government from breaking its pact with rural Oregon counties.

This state would be in even worse financial shape if not for Wyden's work on that one issue. He also has been a leader on health care reform discussions and is now turning his attention to federal tax reform.

Wyden has labored away on Senate committees and is chairman of two subcommittees that have special meaning to Oregon - the Energy Committee's Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests, and the Finance Committee's Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness.

Wyden has proven his ability to work well with people of all political persuasions and achieve results. Oregon voters should re-elect him on Nov. 2.

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