By editorial board • 

Hansen and Noble earn the local legislative nods

The most successful Oregon political leaders of the late 20th and early 21st century have often been marked by a streak of stubborn independence, a vein of occasionally contrarian views, or personal traits and experiences running counter to the prevailing stereotype.

They were more moderate, less orthodox and less predicable than others of like party affiliation. That made them more prone to breaking ranks in the best interests of the electorate as a whole.

Locally and contemporaneously, think Betsy Johnson of Scappoose, Democratic stalwart in Senate District 16. She charts her own course. She succeeds because it resonates in her district, where logging and farming continue to support the economy, to a much greater degree than the urban-oriented party line.

Our appreciation for independence and individuality goes a long way toward explaining our endorsement of Democrat Bernadette Hansen in Senate District 12 and Republican Ron Noble in House District 24 in this year’s November general election.

House Districts 10, 23 and 25 — represented by Democrat David Gomberg and Republicans Mike Nearman and Bill Post, respectively, all seeking re-election — include parts of Yamhill County as well.

However, we have decided to forego endorsing in those races. We have not had the opportunity to interview the candidates, and do not feel we are sufficiently familiar with the three challengers.

We have endorsed incumbent Brian Boquist in previous runs in Senate District 12, partly because he has displayed precisely the kind of maverick qualities cited above.

For example, his son’s gunshot suicide led him to join liberal Portland Democrat Ginny Burdick in co-sponsoring a measure to tighten Oregon gun regulations. For an Army Special Forces veteran serving a rural district under the GOP banner, that took a lot of courage.

But Boquist has become reckless in his words and actions in recent times.

In addition, he has decided not to pursue either campaign endorsements or contributions this year, leading him to decline an interview with our editorial board. To us, that suggests he may have lost some of his passion for continued service.

In Bernadette Hansen, he has drawn an opponent who fits this rural ag and timber district in the mold of  Johnson. Refreshingly candid and disarmingly frank, she would be a a natural to replace Boquist.

Her father is a former career military officer buried at Arlington, and she’s married to another veteran. She said her dad instilled discipline and values that she’s never wavered from.

She grew up around guns and still owns guns today. She began hunting at the age of 12.

After earning a degree from the University of Oregon in East Asian studies and international business, Hansen ended up pursuing a career in water policy — an isssue of critical importance in rural Marion, Polk, Yamhill and Benton counties.

She has served as a natural resource manager for the state Department of Water Resources and executive director of the Greater Yamhill Watershed Council. Along the way, she made her home for several years in Pendleton, then several more in Baker City, giving her a keen understanding of rural needs and traditions.

What’s more, she served on the staff of the Oregon Legislature’s Water Policy Committee, first-hand inside exposure to the Legislature’s often arcane workings.

Hansen came out of nowhere to win a four-way race for the nomination. She deserves being taken seriously.

Adding icing to the cake, she makes her home in McMinnville. Previous holders of the seat have generally lived in Dallas or other Polk County communities.

In House District 24, former McMinnville Police Chief Ron Noble has proven a Republican of a decidedly different stripe than his predecessors.

Principled stands and wise counsel have earned him respect on both sides of the aisle, serving to restore local clout and influence in Salem. He has become a serious player — something we haven’t had for a long time.

A distaste for polarizing partisan politics led Noble to seek election in 2016 and re-election in 2018. And he’s been true to his word.

Despite spending his entire career in law enforcement, deeply held convictions about the sanctity of life led Noble to become the lone GOP sponsor of legislation to narrow the scope of capital punishment. And he was quick to embrace some of the police reform ideas emerging from the Black Lives Matter movement.

Opponent Lynnette Shaw is a viable candidate. She knows what it takes to run her own business, challenge LGBQT discrimination and seek common ground on contentious issues. Her vocal support for small business is strong and needed now more than ever.

But we believe Noble still has important service to deliver, in his district, his state and his party. He is a compassionate conservative who can bridge the many polarizing divides that define modern day politics.

The print version of this issue incorrectly stated that Lynnette Shaw previously served on the Carlton City Council. 


Tyler C

I am very excited to vote for Bernadette Hansen! Boquist has become an embarrassment to our district. His unhinged threats against state police and his dereliction of his duties earlier this year make him unsuitable for the job. I believe that Bernadette Hansen has what it takes to represent our district with strength, honor and intelligence. I'm excited to see what we can accomplish with her as our senator!

E.J. Farrar

I totally agree with the N-R’s endorsement of Bernadette Hansen. She is truly one of us and will be a great Senator. One clarification: it is my understanding that her dad was a non-commissioned officer (NCO), not a commissioned officer. As a military brat I know that distinction is important to some folks.

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