Soon, Oregonians will elect a new treasurer, sending Oregon in one of two very different directions.

The Democratic candidate, state Sen. Ben Westlund from central Oregon, has a long record of fighting for investment in education, greater access to health care and fiscal responsibility. The Republican candidate, Allen Alley, has never held elected office, making it harder to be sure of his priorities. But Alley says the treasurer need not concern himself with state policy matters beyond Oregon's investment strategy.

Westlund has a history of working across party lines. As our editor stated in his endorsement of Alley ("Allen Alley for state treasurer," The Daily Astorian, Oct. 13), Westlund has changed political parties over the past couple of years. He has done this because of changes in his own values over time. I know that personally, my own values have changed, so why is Westlund not allowed to do so without negative comments from the editor?

Westlund had a life-changing experience when he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2003. His "Return from the Hospital Speech" has become quite renown throughout Oregon, and expresses well the man I have come to know and respect.

As a member of the Oregon Nurses' Association Political Action Committee, I have had the pleasure of working with Ben Westlund. He is not simply a politician who says what he thinks we want to hear, he stands by those words and follows through with action. He has been active in working towards health care reform in Oregon, and it is obvious this is one of his passions.

As a nurse, I believe that health care reform will play an important role in moving our state forward. Creating a healthy, educated workforce is the only way to ensure Oregon's continued prosperity. Please join me, and the rest of the Oregon Nurses' Association, in voting for Ben Westlund this November.

Cindy Johnson

Registered nurse

Astoria

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