Recent articles (on this blog and others) mention Kate Brown and comments she made in the past.
Truth be told, the discussions surrounding what was said four years ago - or wasn't said - and how people have chosen to perceive it, matters little.
At least to me.
Its election time and people that are losing a race often reassess what they are willing to do to win, and lose themselves in the process.
We should be slow to judge those in such circumstances, even as we recognize such behavior as the inescapable heat that comes from the crucible of a campaign.
Sometimes decent people make decisions they wish they could take back (after a little distance). I suspect this is one of those cases.
Everyone should be allowed a few mistakes - as long as they remain the exception instead of the rule.
It appears that the challenger for Secretary of State has either sought or purchased support from the firm that helped the Anti-Kerry campaign in 2004. And from his perspective, these folks may appear to be credible political operatives.
Each side has their knee-cappers: we all decry them, but the public generally responds to the worst narratives far more consistently than the best.
That said, I am a veteran. And I believe the folks that swift boated John Kerry will be punished in the afterlife for what they did. Personal character is something people should not attack, and the folks that took down Kerry (and Cleland) will have a reckoning.
Cowards deserve nothing less than our pity. These people are only too willing to toss from safe distance; needless to say, I am less than thrilled to learn that anyone - moderate or not - would do business with them.
And yet, the challenger running against Kate Brown has every right to make decisions - even dumb ones. These define his character and provide us with helpful insight into the type of Oregon he seeks.
Those of us that have served in uniform did so to secure the freedom of people to say what they will, so long as they do so peacefully.
I am proud of our investment in public decision-making: here we change policy through the power of the ballot, rather than the bullet.
The right to speech and public expression are worth the price.
I know that all of us that have fought for this country would do so again if called upon to defend this most precious blessing.
In America, in Oregon, we are granted the opportunity to say what we think to be the truth, to seek improvement as we see it, and to work for those we believe in.
And even though I'm not certain whether or not a blogger is supposed to write a favorable column during a campaign, I'm going to make one - and only one - this year.
I support Kate Brown, period.
She didn't ask for this column, and I am not on her payroll - nor an active participant in her campaign. I'm a citizen that doesn't like it when good people get pulled into stupid fights over irrelevant issues.
This is neither a partisan assertion, nor is it associated with anything other than a public statement of the obvious: Kate Brown is an exceptional, talented statewide public servant.
Kate was a great state senator, she is a great secretary of state, and perhaps in time - Kate will prove herself to be a great governor.
Kate Brown understands the value of service; she is the kind of person that will share a foxhole without equivocation or hesitation.
Few people in modern Oregon politics have the empathy, intellect, and/or willingness to learn and work that Kate Brown has demonstrated over the course of her career.
She is special, really.
Over the past six years I have developed a great respect for her as a leader, a statesperson, and mostly as a human being.
A long time ago, she put aside important things to help out a friend - when she didn't have to.
There were no political points to gain, no public benefit.
Kate took the time to help out a friend in need, and has done so repeatedly for countless citizens across the State of Oregon.
Leadership, true leadership, is demonstrated in the quiet moments - instances where virtue is proven through what is done outside the gaze of the camera or the public.
During her tenure in the Oregon Legislature she learned to lead people and manage resources - Kate became an expert on policy.
For me, it was what she did after that - on top of her policy mastery - that mattered most. Kate became a force-multiplier, a "reserve combat brigade" for veterans' initiatives.
She supported the Governor's Task Force on Veterans' Services - and she has gone above and beyond in making administrative decisions that have sent big messages: easing the process for citizen-soldiers serving overseas chief among them.
Most people have no idea how important Kate Brown has been throughout the process to strengthen our veterans' programming. Those of us involved know - but she has never sought publicity for doing what she believed to be the right thing.
That is the character of a leader.
In 2012, we have a challenger that appears to be a decent guy that helps people.
We should encourage him to continue to engage within his community, and serve in local office. Perhaps in time he will be prepared for statewide service. At that time, we should welcome him to the debate.
But in 2012, the choice is clear: Kate Brown is the most prepared, most proven, and most committed public servant in the race.
Kate Brown is the kind of public servant we should have more of, not less.
There are a handful of politicians in Oregon worth the risk of believing in a few are Democrats, a few are Republicans - Kate Brown is more than a candidate to vote for, she is a human being to believe in.