Time for a New Style in Salem

Written by Observer editorial reports

Clearly there are a number of good elements to both John Turner and Greg Barreto, the two men vying in the Republican primary to win the Oregon House of Representatives District 58.

Turner has a strong background in leadership — specifically a 20-year-plus career leading U.S. Marines — and a stint as the president of Blue Mountain Community College. A distinguished career in the Marine Corps is spectacular on its own and illustrates Turner knows how to lead.

And yet Turner does not appear to have one key — even critical — attribute: A fundamental knowledge regarding how small businesses get started and how they succeed.

That may be, to some, merely a quibble. After all, Turner’s leadership acumen is obvious and leadership is a necessary element to a successful legislative career. Yet we believe that it is time for a different approach in Salem and we believe Greg Barreto — with his strong business background — can deliver something different to hallowed halls of the Oregon Legislature.

Another positive element to Barreto is the fact he is local. That may seem, at first glance, to be a tenuous component to rest an endorsement upon, but a deeper review of the issue reveals it does, indeed, resonate.

For far too long our small area within District 58 has secured its representation from the other side of the Blue Mountains. While there is no concrete evidence to suggest former representatives from the other side of the mountains willfully ignored issues central to us in Union and Wallowa counties, the fact that someone with strong local ties will be advocating for our region in the House simply cannot be overlooked or shrugged off.

We understand that Barreto comes to this race with some baggage. He secured some criticism for accepting a $30,000 donation from conservative bigwig Loren Parks of Nevada. Barreto has since said he plans to return the money. And Barreto said he prefers negotiations over compromise.

The Parks donation is probably the most mindless criticism. Parks donates to a lot of candidates — though they are all conservatives — and $30,000 in a race like this one is, in the big scheme of things, fairly modest.

But Barreto’s stance on negotiation rather than compromise is one he will be compelled to modify. To achieve anything for the body politic, Barreto must not only learn how to compromise but become a master at it. Too often Eastern Oregon candidates adopt a rigorous, almost militant, attitude toward politics in Salem. When that happens they fail. They fail because conservative or liberal rhetoric may sound good but when it comes down to getting the people’s business completed, the wide-sweeping orations are just mere words.

We believe that Barreto’s sound business background — and firm local ties — are what will be needed to represent our region effectively in Salem. We urge you to vote for Barreto.

Reagan Knopp