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Bend Bulletin endorsement of Senator Doug Whitsett 

Editorial: Whitsett the right choice for Republicans

Published: April 09. 2012  

Incumbency is not the be-all and end-all of politics, to be sure: A well-qualified challenger can overcome any advantage a sitting lawmaker can claim. In state Senate District 28, however, Sen. Doug Whitsett’s primary election challenger, Karl Scronce, does not offer voters an improvement in representation.

District 28 is geographically one of the largest in the state, stretching from Jackson County to Lakeview and from the California border north through Jefferson County. Doug Whitsett, a veterinarian who grew up in Central Oregon, has been its senator since 2004.

He is a fiscal conservative, a man who believes the state would be better served if Oregonians spent more of their own money, rather than having lawmakers do it for them. He argues that if government revenues grow, they must do so because more Oregonians are working and they’re making more money in the process.

Whitsett has spent his time in the Senate learning as much about the state’s budget as possible. He knows, for example, that when teachers complain, correctly, that K-12 education has lost lottery dollars, it’s in part because more lottery money is going to pay interest on lottery bonds than before.

His work has paid off: Whitsett currently serves on the joint Ways and Means Committee and is a member of its general government subcommittee.

Scronce, meanwhile, appears to be driven largely by one issue, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, which, if it ever is approved by Congress, will provide the blueprint for divvying up badly needed water among wildlife and agricultural interests.

Scronce is a retired farmer whose livelihood depended in part on a reliable water supply. He’s a far stronger supporter of the agreement than is Whitsett, who is tepid at best on the subject. Whitsett’s district is far larger than the Klamath Basin, however, and some of what’s been included in the agreement would be hard on those in other parts of the district.

Whitsett has proved himself a hard worker in Salem, a man who has strived to create the kind of cross-party relationships that are necessary if a member of the minority party hopes to get much done. Scronce, while both pleasant and bright, does not offer Republicans an improvement over the man who represents them now. They should give the party’s nomination to Whitsett.


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