Editorial: Buehler for Secretary of State

Secretary of State candidate Knute Buehler (right) with State Rep. Mark Johnson.

Secretary of State candidate Knute Buehler (right) with State Rep. Mark Johnson.

The Republican candidate for Secretary of State, Dr. Knute Buehler, gains the endorsement of the Hood River News.

Buehler is one of three challengers facing incumbent Secretary of State Kate Brown. Seth Woolley is the Pacific Green party candidate, and Robert Wolfe is running on the Progressive party ticket.

Buehler is well educated, with years of private sector business experience. He is a Bend orthopedic surgeon who is a smart, matter-of-fact, team player vowing to reform campaign laws. That would be a continuation of the work he started some 20 years ago, when among other things, he advocated for opening primaries to independents.

He laid out some of his plans last month during a visit to Hood River, where his Rhodes Scholar background was evident in a speech to the Rotary Club. One of the things he promised was to streamline the processes businesses face when they attempt to navigate state regulations.

Voters shouldn’t be swayed by Brown’s claim that Buehler does not have the experience to be Oregon’s No. 2 elected state official — behind the governor. Buehler says he employs about 170 people, roughly the same number employed at the secretary of state’s office -—which oversees the functions of seven program divisions: archives, audits, business services, corporation, elections, human resources and information systems.

Two decades of behind-the-scenes policy work has helped Buehler gain bipartisan endorsements from the likes of former Secretary of State Norma Paulus, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden and former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Harry Lonsdale.

Besides, 20 years as an elected official didn’t prevent Brown from awkwardly fumbling a couple of issues while in office — including this year’s mislabeled election date of the race for commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries. The election date was wrongly listed as being in the spring — when candidates had been preparing for it to be held — when actually is was legally supposed to be in the fall (a judge later ruled).

Political insiders argue the shift favored incumbent Brad Avakian, a former Democratic state legislator, who will benefit from a large pro-President Obama turnout next month. The embarrassing snafu provided more fodder for opponents, who have long claimed Brown will always put her party in front of the state as a whole.

Conversely, Buehler’s moderate stances might not sit well with some Republican Party conservatives, but they bode well for the state of Oregon. He should be the next Secretary of State.

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Ralphie_Buffalo 5 years, 8 months ago

Please consider voting for the Oregon Progressive Party candidate, Robert Wolfe. See http://progparty.org/category/tags/wolfe">http://progparty.org/category/tags/wolfe.

In November 2006, Oregon voters enacted Measure 47, which established the nation's most strict system of limits on political campaign contributions and expenditures. It also requires political ads to fully disclose the names, businesses, and amount contributed by each of the campaign's 5 largest donors, right in the ad itself.
Kate Brown refused to enforce Measure 47 and attacked it in court. Still, to this day, no court has found any part of Measure 47 to be unconstitutional. So campaign spending in Oregon continues to skyrocket. Total spending on campaigns for state and local offices in Oregon increased from $4.2 million in 1996 to $57 million in 2010. Winning a contested race for the Oregon Legislature now typically costs over $600,000, sometimes over $1 million.
The Oregonian (4/6/2010) reports that spending on Oregon legislative races is the highest per capita of any state, except New Jersey.
Kate Brown “has been silent on campaign finance reform and otherwise largely invisible,” says Willamette Week (5/25/2012). In 2008 she smashed the record for campaign spending for any non-Governor race.
Kate Brown has erected huge barriers to grass-roots use of Oregon's initiative process. Her adoption of ridiculous clerical requirements means that her office discards a large portion of volunteer-collected signatures and over 40% of all voter signatures. Under her rules, with very few exceptions, only big corporations and unions have enough money (about $500,000) to put a measure on the Oregon ballot.
While Kate Brown's arbitrary "directives" result in throwing out nearly half of all voter signatures on statewide many petitions in Oregon, the average signature validity rate in Washington remains at about 85%. Is that because of "fraud" in the Washington system? No, it is because Washington does not have Kate Brown's "directives," which squash the initiative process and thus enhance the power of lobbyists and her other big funders.
Kate Brown touts her role as "Auditor in Chief." She "audited" the Oregon Department of Revenue 3 times in the past 2 years and failed to see any problem with the way the Department was issuing huge undocumented refunds. The Department in 2012 paid a $2.1 million refund to a Salem woman who had never before reported more than $15,000 of income. The folks at TurboTax, not the government, revealed this fraud. The state employees even manually overrode the computer-generated warning about this refund. Now, the government refuses to disclose how many other huge, fraudulent refunds it has paid.


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