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Aug-10-2006 15:51printcomments

Ben Westlund Withdraws From Oregon Governor's Race

Though he seemed to be gaining support, the former Republican turned Independent candidate for Governor steps down.

Ben Westlund
Ben Westlund
Photo by: Tim King

(SALEM) - Independent candidate for Oregon Governor Ren Westlund is throwing in the towel, even though he has clearly qualified to run in the upcoming election.

This eloquent speech delivered at the state capitol at 2:00 PM today ends speculation about whether Oregon could depart from traditional parties this year in the race for Governor.

Here is the speech Westlund delivered...

"Thank you for coming. There are issues… and then there are campaigns. There is public policy… and there is politics.

And most importantly of all… there are the People.

When I began this campaign six months ago, I pledged to put people before politics… ideas before ideology. Everywhere I’ve gone… and will continue to go… I’ve spoken of big issues… to solve real problems for real Oregonians.

Like fiscal reform and how to fix our fatally flawed tax structure… And universal health care... that not only provides access for those that don’t have it… but just as importantly lowers costs for those that do.

For civil rights for all Oregonians...

And turning Oregon into not just ‘a’ leader… but ‘the’ national leader in the production and use of renewable, sustainable energy.

And most fundamentally of all, I’ve championed election reform that would for the first time enfranchise Oregon’s independent voters who are too often left out and left behind. It’s the core principle of representative democracy… and that’s what this campaign is truly about. It’s not about me or my candidacy… it’s not about the office I seek, it’s about empowering people to come together and participate in a government that plays a positive and proactive role in their lives.

We must end once and for all extreme partisanship’s bitter grip on Oregon’s future… because if I have learned one thing in this campaign so far, it is this: Until we as Oregonians are allowed to vote our hope… as opposed to being forced to vote our fear … Oregon will continue to spiral into mediocrity and below at an increasingly faster pace.

I pride myself on keeping my word… it’s important for every reason. At the beginning of this campaign, I made a commitment to the people of Oregon, that: I was in it to win it, and that I absolutely would not play a spoiler role.

Therefore today, with no regrets but some sadness, I am here to honor that commitment.

I am proud to keep that promise to the people of Oregon…despite the fact I unquestionably could qualify for the ballot by announcing my withdrawal from the race for Governor.

It doesn’t matter that this was a painful decision… what matters… is that it is the right thing to do, and don’t get me wrong, this campaign for Oregon’s future will continue.

We have accomplished much in these 6 short months.

We have rekindled Oregon’s political center, we have shown tens of thousands of Oregonians that they may once again take the helm of their own ship of state, and chart a future free of partisan intrusion and division.

We have invigorated Oregonians of all walks of life to hold their government accountable to find as John Kennedy once said, not the democratic answer, not the republican answer, but the best answer.

The political center has awoken, and we have discovered that we are united by far more than what extreme partisans would have us believe keeps us apart.

This campaign doesn’t end in August or November, or next year. It doesn’t end until enough of us finally realize that political success isn’t about holding office, or winning elections, it’s about inspiring the independent spirit of Oregon to repair our broken structures of governance until we truly can put people before politics, ideas before ideology.

I’m proud to continue to give a voice to this movement.

See ya’ down the trail everybody."

Ben Westlund


Comments are Closed on this story.

jason August 10, 2006 10:34 pm (Pacific time)

There as still other 3rd party candidates. Don't feel you have to vote for someone who has a chance of winning.

Troy August 10, 2006 9:46 pm (Pacific time)

Too bad, he had my vote.

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