Retain Edwards as treasurer

October 13, 2004 11:00 pm

"Contrary to what you may have heard," The (Bend) Bulletin editorialized last July, "there is in fact an adult in Salem."

In the midst of another record-long session beset by an inability to pass a budget, Oregon Treasurer Randall Edwards warned posturing lawmakers that they were putting the state's ability to pay its bills — and thus its credit rating — at risk.

It was just one example of a first term marked by tough decisions and a steady hand. Edwards' composure and sober talk about the state's finances have earned our trust and our endorsement for a second term.

The treasurer acts as the state's chief financial officer, monitoring expenditures, revenue and borrowing. He also oversees investment of monies held in funds like the Common School Fund, PERS and SAIF.

In the face of what has been at times a stubborn bear market, it is not an enviable position.

Add to that a wave of scandals on Wall Street and you get a taste of the difficulty of Edwards' job.

He hasn't shirked from that responsibility, however. When the company managing Oregon's college savings plan became embroiled in a Wall Street scandal, Edwards fired the company and found a new vendor.

Like many other state treasurers, he remains engaged with the Street, using the clout of Oregon's multi-billion dollar portfolio to insist on accountability and fair practices.

But he's shown a desire for that accountability to come home to Salem, too. Efforts to tarnish is reputation with the fallout from the Goldschmidt-Texas Pacific scandal distort Edwards' request for the attorney general to review the situation and now the treasurer's call for a full investigation. The Democrat is inviting the sun to shine on this suspicious situation instead of just sweeping it under the rug, even though doing so has given his opponent what appears to be an issue.

Randall Edwards has shown he deserves a second term as Oregon's treasurer. Join us in voting to retain his services.