It is a rare circumstance in a political race when the choice for one candidate over another is so clear-cut as is the case in the contest for Oregon Second Congressional District.
Longtime Republican lawmaker and Hood River resident Greg Walden faces newcomer Jim Crary, of Ashland. There is nothing obviously misguided about Crary’s ideas. In fact, he has a few — such as boosting the retirement age on Social Security, grandfathering anyone age 40 or older at the current retirement age of 67, but progressively make it longer for younger people, with those born in 2020 or later retiring at 69 and a half — that sound pretty good.
Yet in the end, Crary simply does not have the experience nor the proven — and successful — record of Walden.
Walden is one of those rare political personages in American politics that has managed to continue to be re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives year after year. Since elections are the ultimate job evaluation in American politics, Walden has clearly proved himself time after time.
One of Walden’s greatest strengths is his almost fanatical devotion to his constituents. For the most part, seeking Walden’s assistance in a matter isn’t a complicated process. His offices — scattered across Eastern Oregon — do not hesitate to assist voters in a time of need. That may not seem like such a momentous fact, but it is. That’s because every politician elected is directly responsible to the people who elected them. Walden has built an impressive record of doing all that is humanely possible to help voters in his district.
Walden also can showcase a long list of success regarding flash-point issues in his district. A good case in point is the ongoing controversy regarding the Owyhee Canyonlands in southern Malheur County. A coalition of conservation groups, business leaders and others want President Obama to designate more than 2 million acres in that area as a national monument. Walden was quick to discover that many of his constituents in that area did not want the national monument, and he has continued to be a strong voice for them on Capitol Hill.
Walden has also been a strong advocate for opening up forests to produce jobs for his constituents and he continues to be a vocal supporter of the concept of a sensible, shared-use of policy on public lands. Yet his advocacy in that sector always rests with ensuring the ranchers and others who utilize public lands get a fair shake and are not ignored.
And, maybe most important of all, Walden is a force to be reckoned with in the House. That means he is a politician who is listened to, a man other elected leaders seek out for advice and discussion. Which, in turn, means places like La Grande, Enterprise and Baker City always have a seat at the table during some of this nation’s most important legislative debates.
Voters in Union and Wallowa county should re-elect Greg Walden as their representative from Oregon Second District. His qualifications are many, his focus is on his constituents and he has a long and proven track record.