BrainstormNW’s May Primary 2004 Endorsements
Tim Phillips, Republican for
Congressional District One
What separates Tim Phillips and Goli Ameri in the First
District primary for BrainstormNW is inches—what separates them
from each other are vigorous, rough and tumble campaigns that will test
their mettle and prepare them for the finals with incumbent Democrat David
Wu. This is a critical race for the Republicans and either candidate is
well positioned to win in the fall.
In the final
analysis, the nod goes to Tim Phillips.
There is a level of enthusiasm, determination and preparedness that suggests
that he is better equipped
to displace Wu after three lackluster terms.
Both Phillips and Ameri are self-described fiscal conservatives
and social moderates, and both have solid financial backing. But Phillips
has also created and grown a thriving local business, while Ameri’s
business credentials seem thin. On national issues, both support President
Bush’s tax cuts and the efforts to make them permanent. Both support
the War on Terrorism, and Ameri, an emigre from pre-Ayatollah Khomeni
Iran, has personal experience with radical Islamic terrorism. Each is
moderate on the abortion issue, supporting abortion rights, but opposing
partial birth abortion and supporting parental notification.
Phillips has been criticized for sitting out the Measure
30 fight while Ameri was instrumental in gathering thousands of signatures
for the initiative petition. Ameri has been criticized for the amount
of contributions she has received from the far-flung Iranian American
population while Phillips has gathered the majority of his contributions
at home. (We would note that this was never an issue for the newspapers
when Wu sought and accepted substantial contributions from the Chinese
American community during his campaigns as a Democrat.) And Phillips has
been criticized for lawsuits by his investment firm’s clients in
the aftermath of the stock market collapse of 2001–02—a fact
he readily acknowledges but asserts is at a significantly smaller ratio
than other members of the industry averaged in the same time period.
So what is the difference? For the editorial board of
BrainstormNW it is about connecting with your audience. And here, Phillips
has the edge. With him there is the impression that he listens and is
eager to respond to your questions or concerns. And with Ameri there is
the impression that she is preparing to work the next group. These are
matters of style but they will count significantly in a race with the
aloof Mr. Wu.
In the end,
the First District will have a formidable candidate with either Phillips
or Ameri, but the contrast with Wu in connecting with First District voters
goes to Phillips. At the same time we urge Ameri to stay engaged in Oregon
politics and develop her skills with voters for a future run.
An Easy Call Made Difficult
Jackie Winters, Republican for
Congressional District Five
Jackie Winters is the model Republican candidate in a
district that holds a Republican registration edge—a winnable race.
Smart, articulate, seasoned through several sessions in the Oregon legislature,
and an up-from-the-trenches entrepreneurial bio that is straight from
the bible of mid-America values. BUT—we’ll get to the “but”
What makes Jackie attractive is her unrelenting work ethic.
Displaced as a victim of the Vanport flood in 1948, Winters worked as
a school girl picking strawberries and tap dancing in social halls, moving
from there to domestic help, to office worker and eventually to Oregon
Ombudsman for Gov. Vic Atiyeh. She and her husband opened Jackie’s
Ribs, which grew to a successful small business. In every instance it
was hard work that led to success. Winters understands the value of a
job and of hard work.
As a legislator she has developed a reputation for pursuing
government reform and reducing regulatory red tape. She gets high marks
from the natural resources industry and small business groups.
As a candidate she has pledged to support President Bush’s
tax cuts. She supports the War on Terrorism and has an existing relationship
with President Bush. Winters will be an active team player for President
Bush and a continued Republican majority in Congress. And now the “but”—Winters
voted for the tax increases of Measure 30, without referral to the voters.
As a result, Oregonians were forced to spend time, money and effort to
refer and defeat the issue through the initiative process. Winters is
defensive, but not apologetic. Winters gets BrainstormNW’s endorsement,
though we suggest that she admit her mistake. But it’s time to move
on, with Winters for Congress, District 5.
are blessed by having quality candidates, such as Winters and Zupancic
in their congressional primaries in Oregon. Jim Zupancic is
a bright, articulate young lawyer with a wealth of experience
in international trade that could serve Oregon well in Congress. He has
focused his campaign upon his opposition to Measure 30 and support of
President Bush’s tax cuts, which he wants to make permanent. He
wants to place spending limits on Congress.
But Zupancic signed a pledge during the last legislative race to support
increased funding for schools even if it meant increased taxes. He now
says that he would have only supported a tax increase if it were referred
to the voters. BrainstormNW would feel more comfortable in this instance
with a track record of fiscal discipline and, therefore, we urge Mr. Zupancic,
a solid, strong candidate, to continue and deepen his political involvement,
and to prove his fiscal conservatism for a future run at the state house
Scars and Soft Skills
Betsy Close, Republican for
Secretary of State
being a legislator seems to take a heavy toll on those who step forward
to serve us. In the course of our interviews it was easy to tell who was
stepping up to the political plate fresh and enthusiastic, and who had
been worn and scarred by previous duty. At times this became somewhat
distracting—one candidate so optimistic but perhaps naïve,
the other more shrill, combative, but probably more practical about what
could and should be accomplished.
for Secretary of State is an important statewide office for Republicans.
It’s critical for R’s, who currently hold no statewide seats,
to field polished, optimistic, likeable candidates with a good chance
of winning in November. And while Fred Granum, an attorney, small business
exec and entrepreneur from Cedar Mill, seems to fill this bill very well,
in the end it was impossible not to reward Close for her three terms of
service in the Oregon House, representing District 15.
in the legislature Close has been a steady, reliable vote for fiscal conservatism,
including casting tough “no” votes on tax increases and keeping
a sharp eye on new spending. Close also has been a reliable vote for education
reform—charter schools, and smart reforms in land use and forest
noted their interest in de-politicizing the Secretary of State’s
office, in additional audits, and in better monitoring of elections process.
Both had sharp criticism for incumbent Bill Bradbury. The difference—Granum
seems to believe that all can be repaired if we all just get along better.
On the other hand, Close seems nearly as partisan in her criticisms as
Bradbury has been in his execution of the duties of office. Still, Close
is probably more in touch with the realities of the politics involved,
and thus may develop a stronger campaign.
no doubt that Fred Granum brings polish, relaxed optimism and strong business
experience to this primary race. Still BrainstormNW’s endorsement
goes to Close, though we think she should rein in any vestiges of legislative
partisanship as she campaigns to represent all the voters of Oregon. But
we didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday—this is a high
stakes race for what is currently a highly politicized office. And a successful
campaign will require a tough, clear-eyed competitor like Betsy Close,
who may have battle scars, but she earned them representing Oregonians
through some extremely difficult sessions in the legislature. We’re
hopeful and confident that Close can easily hone the additional, softer
skills important to serve voters well in this office.
Schopp for Metro Council District 3
races are usually echo chambers for smart growth advocates, which is why
we usually take a pass. This election, however, there’s one race
worth taking note of. Metro critic Steve Schopp, a Tualatin-based contractor
who is active on land use issues, is challenging Carl Hosticka for Metro
Council District 3.
Suffice to say it would be refreshing to have an alternative voice, just
one, on the Metro Council. Schopp for Metro District 3.
BrainstormNW - May 2004