Endorsement: Well-respected Noble our choice in HD 24
Editor's note: This endorsement is part of a series of editorials in advance of the Nov. 6, 2018, general election. Also in this Oct. 17, 2018, issue, our editorial board endorses Rich Vial for House District 26, Susan McLain for House District 29, Janeen Sollman for House District 30, Brad Witt for House District 31, Tiffiny Mitchell for House District 32, Alexander Flores for Senate District 15, Betsy Johnson for Senate District 16 and Knute Buehler for governor.
Our endorsement editorials in the previous issue on Oct. 10, 2018, recommended voters elect Tom Johnston, Malynda Wenzl and Devon Downeysmith for Forest Grove City Council; Luis Hernandez and John Colgan for Cornelius City Council; and Beach Pace, Kyle Allen and Olivia Alcaire for Hillsboro City Council.
Our Oct. 3, 2018, endorsement editorials recommended voters elect Kathryn Harrington as Washington County Board of Commissioners chairwoman and approve Ballot Measure 26-199.
Our Sept. 26, 2018, endorsement editorial recommended voters reject Ballot Measures 103 and 104. Our Sept. 19, 2018, endorsement editorial recommended voters reject Ballot Measure 105. Our Sept. 12, 2018, endorsement editorial recommended voters approve Ballot Measure 102.
The race for House District 24 is identical to the race voters ruled on two years ago.
We hope they'll make the same choice they did then.
Republican state Rep. Ron Noble of McMinnville and Democrat Ken Moore of Yamhill are hoping to be elected in HD 24, a largely rural area stretching from McMinnville and Dundee to rural Cornelius and Hillsboro.
Noble is a freshman legislator running for his second term in Salem. He won against Moore two years ago. Moore is trying for a third time to make it to Salem, after unsuccessful campaigns in 2014 and 2016.
Moore's appearance on the ballot may come as some surprise to voters. He didn't appear on the Democratic primary ballot in May and told our editorial board he didn't have any plans to run until he saw no other Democrats stepping up. Moore won a write-in campaign for the Democratic seat.
Moore has been running a largely understated campaign this time around. He has had to hustle to get his name out to voters since May, and he doesn't have the money behind him this time that he had two years ago, when the Democratic Party of Oregon helped with TV advertisements.
In our eyes, Moore has not made a particularly strong case for himself. He brought a list of legislation that Noble voted against over the past two years to our endorsement interview, but the only topics he offered much detail about his own views on were homelessness, a very serious issue that we believe is best tackled at the local level, and transportation, namely preparing Oregon's bridges for a major earthquake.
Moore describes himself as a "more moderate take" for voters, and it's true that Noble has sided with Republicans on plenty of issues. Among other votes we didn't like, he was against closing the so-called "boyfriend loophole" bill, which prevents people convicted of domestic abuse from buying or owning guns.
But Noble has also worked across the aisle on a number of issues in his two years in Salem, including a bipartisan bill expanding background checks for school district volunteers that work with children. Another bill he wrote would have made education funding the first priority for the Legislature. That bill (unsurprisingly) died in committee, but it's the kind of first-term bill we'd have expected from a progressive candidate, not the conservative.
Noble, a former police chief, is strongly against Measure 105, which would repeal language in the state constitution preventing local and state law enforcement resources from being used to enforce federal immigration law. That longstanding law, he said, helps undocumented victims report crimes to the police without fear of reprisal. We agree with him.
Noble may hew to the right a bit more than we'd like, but he comes across as a legislator who considers issues based on his values and not on tribalism, as well as one who is unafraid to break with Republicans when he believes it is best for his district. He described the Legislature to us as having "four parties," reflecting the far left, far right, moderate left and moderate right, instead of two. He considers himself someone who can work with other moderates to craft solutions to complex problems — as legislators did with the passage of House Bill 2017, the badly needed transportation funding package, last year, which Noble supported.
While HD 24 and its predecessors have long been represented in the House by Republicans, Noble doesn't take re-election for granted, describing the McMinnville-to-Hillsboro seat as "a swing district." It may yet swing to Democrats, but this year, in this election, we see no reason why Noble shouldn't get a second term.
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