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Editor’s note: With this issue, our three-person editorial board begins its endorsements of candidates in races within our coverage area. This week, we offer our views on the contests in Oregon Senate District 15; in House District 30; and for Hillsboro City Council, Ward 2.


The candidates here are incumbent state Sen. Bruce Starr, Republican; former state Rep. Chuck Riley, Democrat; and Caitlin Mitchel-Markley, Libertarian.

All three candidates made a good showing in the Oct. 1 candidates’ forum at the Hillsboro Main Library and with their responses to our lengthy candidates’ questionnaire. For someone new to politics, we were especially impressed with the Libertarian candidate, Caitlin Mitchel-Markley. Her responses to a variety of questions showed she was very knowledgeable and prepared. She more than held her own, and may well have a future in elective office if she chooses to pursue a political career.

We felt Chuck Riley was a bit too much “on the fence” over several issues. For example, he skirted giving an opinion on Measure 91, which would legalize marijuana in the state, and he did not offer much detail when asked about what approach he would take for moving oil if trains and pipelines are not acceptable. On the other hand, we liked Riley’s strong advocacy for more education funding, as well as his response to a question on climate change: “We need to do what we can to take care of this planet,” Riley said during the Oct. 1 forum.

However, although all three candidates have their good points, we believe Bruce Starr stands out as clearly the best choice for Senate District 15. We have been very impressed with Starr’s views on education. We liked Starr’s boldness in voting to increase the K-12 funding budget by $100 million in the last legislative session, and he wisely said he’d like to get the statewide budgeting done as soon as possible in the spring to allow individual school districts time to decide how to allocate their respective pieces of the pie.

In contrast to Riley, who did not provide a clear answer, Starr said he won’t support Measure 91 because there are too many unanswered questions on the measure’s ramifications. Starr also was clear on his opposition to Measure 92, which would require labeling of genetically modified organisms, because of its possible impacts on our county’s farmers and taxpayers. We appreciate that Starr has been a strong supporter of transportation infrastructure projects, including light rail. With traffic congestion worsening and our state heavily reliant on trade and shipping our products to distant markets, his awareness of the importance of transportation spending is refreshing.

Further, Starr has been a voice of moderation on most issues, and we are pleased with his willingness to avoid partisanship and work with Democrats in Salem.

Sen. Starr has been a strong and effective voice for our district, and we believe he has earned another term as state senator.

HOUSE DISTRICT 30: Joe Gallegos

The candidates are incumbent state Rep. Joe Gallegos, Democrat; Dan Mason, Republican; and Kyle Markley, Libertarian.

We believe Joe Gallegos has done a remarkably solid job in his first term. He has been a true champion for K-12 funding, and he seems to have the energy and desire to build on that work in a second term.

We appreciate Gallegos’ folksy manner and his visibility at many community events. He is often out in public and accessible to citizens, offering a friendly presence to constituents while attending political forums and coffee chats or walking in parades.

Further, Joe championed House Bill 4116 — the Aspirations to College Bill — which provides scholarships and support services for students from low income backgrounds or who are first in their families to go to college. This is the type of innovative approach to problems we love to see in our legislators.

Dan Mason has his strong points. We liked his stance on the importance of education. “The largest priority of any state government is K-12 education,” Mason responded when asked about the biggest issue facing state legislators. We also appreciated Mason’s view that, along with education, transportation is one of the top issues for Washington County. However, on the negative side, it caught our eye that when Mason was asked why he thought voters should give him their votes, rather than offer positives about his own record, he instead ripped into what he believes Gallegos has done wrong.

Although Kyle Markley, the Libertarian candidate, offered some interesting ideas (for instance, we appreciated his response regarding oil trains: “If the potential for accidents were sufficient reason to ban something, we would have to start by outlawing cars”), too often his responses in the Oct. 1 candidates’ forum at the Hillsboro Main Library came across as extreme. For example, he claimed that having a minimum wage is “a form of price control” that “takes away from the freedom of two people to agree to a wage.” Markley also said he believes climate change is occurring, but “it will not be a catastrophe,” which came across as naive.

In our view, Gallegos has put together a solid first term. He has been moderate and responsible in the stances he has taken, and has shown as willingness to avoid partisanship and work with Republicans such as Bruce Starr. And Gallegos’ Hispanic roots helps give a voice to a vital local demographic.

Taking all these factors into consideration, we believe Gallegos is clearly the strongest candidate in this group. He deserves a second term.


Monte Akers and Kyle Allen are competing for the right to serve on the Hillsboro City Council in Ward 2, which is the only contested council race in Hillsboro in this election cycle.

This was a close race to call. Both Allen and Akers offered interesting insights into what they believe would be best for the city. We liked Akers’ direct responses to many issues, in particular his response to whether more time should have been provided for citizens to discuss the recent 30-year tax deal with Intel. He also had a strong response to the tax on recreational marijuana sales, explaining that he doesn’t think it’s right to single out one specific business for a sales tax.

At the same time, we liked Allen’s answers on Gain Share and education; his stance on planning growth within city boundaries; and his reasonable attitude toward medical marijuana sales.

And we have a concern regarding the fact that Akers also serves on the Hillsboro School Board. Although the school board does not meet on the same evenings as the Hillsboro City Council, we believe representatives whose role is not split between different boards would provide the strongest focus. And besides the meetings themselves, there are other activities and meetings board members are often asked to attend. The city council and the school board (Akers’ term on the school board runs until 2017) are critically important and deserve full attention. The duties of the school board and the council take a lot of time and preparation, with meeting packets that look like books rather than brochures.

We believe the city is best served by having a multitude of voices, talents and perspectives serving on its boards, councils and commissions. With Akers already in place on the school board, it makes more sense to us to bring in someone new for the council seat. Also, we believe it would be good for the Hillsboro City Council to have a youthful perspective. Allen is 29, and, if elected, would be one of the youngest members of the council.

In a close decision, we believe the scale tips toward Allen, and recommend voters give him the chance to serve on the city council.

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