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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Treasurer Candidates Talk Up Their Job Qualifications During Debate

Allison Frost
Candidates for Oregon treasurer, Republican Jeff Gudman, left, Democrat Tobias Read and the Independent Party's Chris Telfer, faced off Monday on OPB's ''Think Out Loud.''

The three major-party contenders for Oregon treasurer faced off Monday in a debate that often focused on the candidates' qualifications for the job. Republican Jeff Gudman, Democrat Tobias Read and the Independent Party's Chris Telfer were part of the conversation during a broadcast of OPB's "Think Out Loud."

The Oregon Treasurer helps manage the state's borrowing and investments.

Gudman said his professional experience most closely lines up with the job. He works as a treasurer for the Legacy Emanuel Foundation and has served in that capacity for other organizations.

"It's been my line -- campaign line, and tag line -- all along: ‘a treasurer for Treasurer,’” Gudman said. “I bring decades of experience in the financial field."

Read has served five terms in the Oregon House. He said his experience as a state lawmaker gives him an advantage in the race.

"If the question is whether I can handle numbers, the answer is clearly yes,” Read said. “I've been on the Revenue Committee nearly my entire time in the legislature. I've been on the budget committee -- the Ways & Means Committee -- for quite a while as well."

Telfer is a former Republican state lawmaker. She's also worked as a Certified Public Accountant with a practice in Bend. She said that professional background makes her well-suited to the job of state treasurer.

"We need a problem-solver in there,” Teller said. “People who can identify the problems and come up with the solutions to address those problems."

The winner of the November election will replace Ted Wheeler. The Democrat has served in the job for six years but is leaving to become mayor of Portland.