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Our Opinion: Salem needs Gudman's expertise

When Jeff Gudman ran for a second term on the Lake Oswego City Council two years ago, we endorsed him in the belief that he was born to be a city councilor. He excels at the job and seems to thrive on the role it allows him to play in the community.

But as much as it pains us to think of losing Gudman's enthusiasm and financial expertise here, we have to agree with him when he says that "everything in my life has been building" to serving the entire state as treasurer.

He is easily the most experienced candidate in the race — the only one to have actually served as a treasurer — and he deserves your vote on Nov. 8.

Democrat Tobias Read and Independent Chris Telfer are both personable, civic-minded candidates. Read is a former Nike footwear developer who worked for U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers from 1999 to 2001; he holds an MBA from the University of Washington and has earned a reputation during his nine years in the statehouse as a smart and wonky lawmaker with an interest in financial matters. Telfer, a former GOP lawmaker from Bend, is a certified public accountant and Oregon Lottery Commissioner with fans on both sides of the aisle.

Gudman, on the other hand, has no experience in Salem. Until now, his entire focus has been on Lake Oswego, where he has earned a reputation among his colleagues as something of an unofficial treasurer — the acknowledged council leader on all things related to the budget.

“My first filter is financial,” he says. “Most people don’t speak ‘number.’”

But Gudman does.

It is his financial expertise that helped restore financial stability over the past six years and reduced the city's debt burden. It is his "narrow and deep" spending philosophy that has driven the city's focus on road maintenance — something that Lake Oswego residents have consistently said is their No. 1 priority. And it is Gudman's ability to build consensus that has allowed the city to construct a new operations building and plan a new police/911 center without asking taxpayers for another dime.

None of that should come as a surprise.

Gudman holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Pomona College and an MBA in finance and management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. He has previously served as a financial analyst at Hyster, a manufacturing company, and as controller at Magnetech. He has also served as treasurer for several subsidiaries of NW Natural and for USA Olympic Swimming, and as volunteer treasurer for the Legacy Emanuel Foundation.

Gudman likes to joke that the only difference between his past experience and the role of state treasurer "is the number of zeroes." But the truth is, all of his experience has prepared him well for the kind of financial oversight that Salem needs.

“I can do that job,” he says. “And I’ve got the experience to do it. I didn’t see myself becoming the treasurer, but it plays to my strengths. Everything in my life has been building to this.”

We agree. And while we would miss his colorful sweaters, bad jokes and stabilizing influence on the City Council, we believe Jeff Gudman is unquestionably the most qualified candidate for state treasurer.

He deserves your vote.

— The Review