Oregonians have an important decision to make this fall; are we content with the way things are going in the state or are we in need of new leadership?

As a company, Hampton Lumber takes positions on local elections and policy matters because of the impact those decisions have on our business operations, including manufacturing, transportation, working forests, education, and the health and safety of our employees. Few people in state government have more of an impact on those issues than the Governor.

As Oregon’s CEO, we need a governor who can articulate and implement a vision to tackle considerable budget shortfalls, struggling schools, stressed rural economies, an unsustainable PERS liability, and a state-wide affordable housing crisis.  What’s more, we need a leader that can build the diverse coalitions needed to raise the political and financial capital necessary to make progress on these issues. The business sector can and should step up and participate in solutions that better the lives of all Oregonians, but we need leadership that will bring entities together to find a sustainable path forward. To date, I have not seen that kind of leadership from Governor Brown.  Luckily, this November, we have another viable option in Knute Buehler.

Knute Buehler grew up in Roseburg, OR, and has a solid understanding of the importance of Oregon’s working forests and wood manufacturing sector.  As a state legislator for District 54 in Bend he earned a reputation as a thoughtful, independent leader and lawmaker. A moderate Republican representing a liberal leaning district, Knute has learned the importance of bipartisanship and dialogue and has proven to be an effective advocate for his constituents.

We need a governor who can work with Oregon’s urban and rural communities and be a champion for bipartisan, common sense governance. Rural economies are dependent on natural resources industries – farming, fishing, and timber. I believe that Knute appreciates that fact and will support and sustain those industries for the communities that depend on them. That includes taking thoughtful look at environmental policy proposals that affect these industries, holding to high standards for science-based natural resource policy making, and fighting better farming, fishing, and forestry representation on governing boards that manage resources in rural areas.

The challenges we face as a state are becoming more serious every year. There is growing awareness throughout the state that a change in leadership is needed.  Here in Northwest Oregon, the editorial boards of the Oregonian, Daily Astorian, and the Portland Tribune have all endorsed Knute Buehler, citing doubts over Governor Brown’s ability to lead Oregon through the challenges ahead and optimism in Knute’s priorities and proposals.

A lifelong Oregonian, I remember a time when we were proud of our inclusive, bipartisan government.  National politics have had a polarizing effect here at home, but if any state can rise above rhetoric and party politics, it’s Oregon.  I believe Knute Buehler would restore some much needed balance and moderation to state-government. He also has concrete ideas for how to fix social and economic problems in this state.  I encourage you to take a look at his platform (www.knutebuehler.com).  Also, as a moderate Republican tasked with governing a liberal state, Knute could be exactly what is needed to start to repair the state’s urban-rural divide that is so often talked about but seldom addressed.

Voting is an important part of our civic responsibility, and we encourage all of our employees to vote in every election. Voting is a personal right and ultimately, it’s up to each of us to decide who best reflects our values and interests in this election. I hope this post clarifies why as a company, Hampton is supporting Knute Buehler for Governor.

Steve Zika
Hampton Lumber