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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Back To Black

One of the most important Oregon positions is the Treasurer. The state treasurer is nominally the head of the Oregon Investment Council, which directs the investments of the PERS fund and all of the other state agencies. The State Treasurer, currently Randall Edwards, has done an excellent job in the face of some extraordinary forces at work in the US and World stock markets. The main candidates for this years opening are Ben Westlund (formerly a Republican, now an Independent) and Allen Alley, whose ads seem to appear quite regularly in the Google ad box above. Just about all the major unions and most major Dems and Republicans have endorsed Westlund for the position. Westlund has had a lot of legislative experience and has had some business experience. I suppose he'll do a good job as State Treasurer. He would have a strong, professional staff to work with and the Oregon Investment Council is about the best any state has these days. Whoever wins the election will be managing the PERS fund for the next four years. I think it quite incumbent upon us to research the candidates and vote for the one who can make our money work the hardest. What we don't need is a Treasurer who thinks that PERS can be a slush fund for some other derelict agency. That happened in the 80's with SAIF. We don't need a rerun of that. Fortunately, I think the law prevents that from happening, but then again, we all thought that PERS had to obey the law too. Boy were we wrong!

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