From The Bend Bulletin We urge voters to support former House Majority leader Tim Knopp over incumbent state Sen. Chris Telfer in the Republican primary for state senate.
It’s not a simple decision to advocate removal of a sitting state senator, but the choice is fundamentally a question of who will be a more effective advocate for Central Oregon and the state. We believe it is Knopp.
Nothing will be more of a driving force for Deschutes County’s future than transforming OSU-Cascades into a four-year institution. The region needs a team effort to get it done.
Two of the principal Republicans in Deschutes County — state Rep. Jason Conger, R-Bend, and state Rep. Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte — have bolted to actively support Knopp. The third, state Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, is mum. Members of the GOP deserting an incumbent for the challenger is a strong message about Telfer’s ability to get along with others. It’s also a repeat performance of the kind of friction Telfer could cause when she was on the Bend City Council.
Our endorsement of Knopp, who is the executive vice president of the Central Oregon Builders Association, is also recognition of what we believe he can do. He comes prepared to legislate. He served in the Legislature for three terms and then he said he left to spend more time with his family.
He built a solid record when he was in Salem. He helped lead the effort to get Oregon’s kicker tax rebate in the state constitution. He helped lead the bipartisan reform of the Public Employees Retirement System that will save Oregon billions of dollars. PERS could use more changes or it will continue to bleed money away from the classrooms and other services. Knopp proved he could do it before, and we want to see him try again.
We are not in complete agreement with Knopp on social issues — notably on abortion or gay rights. We are pro-choice and support civil unions. Knopp is pro-life and supported Measure 36, which amended the Oregon constitution to say that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Knopp’s positions on those issues are a deal-breaker for some voters. But consider that when he was in the Legislature for those three terms, he put his focus on taxes, PERS and jobs. We expect he will do that again and that federal law and his opinions on social issues will be in the minority in Oregon government. Central Oregon needs a leader who works well with the local delegation. Telfer failed to do that. Knopp also has a better chance for success with OSU-Cascades and PERS.