By Jason Cox
Of the Keizertimes

Rep. Kim Thatcher easily won a fourth term to the Oregon House of Representatives Tuesday night.

The election featured two candidates who live in Keizer – Thatcher and Democratic opponent Jim Dyer. Thatcher was ahead of Dyer 65 percent to 34 percent as of 9:23 p.m. Tuesday night.

Thatcher rode into the House in 2004 by beating then-Rep. Vic Backlund in that year’s Republican primary. She beat Democrat Chuck Lee in 2006 and had no opponent in 2008.

“I don’t take lightly the responsibility with which voters entrusted me,” Thatcher said. “I am humbled that they would trust me to follow through on that responsibility to represent them in Salem.

She plans to “reducing the bureaucracy and red tape that strangle individuals and entrepreneurs … as well as cutting spending and reducing the nanny state that the government has taken on more and more in our lives.”

Thatcher said Dyer is “a terrific man. I was very fortunate to have him as a challenger. I just really enjoyed working with him, and I think we can continue to work together in the next session. He’s a great guy with a lot of great ideas.”

Dyer complimented Thatcher on an issues-oriented race, and suggested candidates who went negative did so at their own peril.

“I will continue to work as a unpaid advocate for particularly children and families, in the legislature and I think I can work well with her on that and other issues,” Dyer said. “That is why I believe you should not run a negative campaign because if you still lose you still have the points you ran for. And if you run a negative campaign, is the person who wins going to be excited about listening to you? I would say not at all.”

His advice to Thatcher?

“Be prepared to compromise on issues,” Dyer said. “Don’t get stuck with a certain party orientation. If the party says this is really bad, look at it and see if you can improve it, not just vote it down.”

Thatcher, who along with her husband owns KT Construction, was on the education, business and labor and sustainability and economic development committees. She successfully passed a transparency bill requiring more information on state spending to be posted to the Web. She has also fought to keep concealed handgun license information private.

Dyer served on the board of the Oregon Employees Federal Credit Union from 1969-1991, and has worked extensively on behalf of foster children and parents.

In the state Senate, it appears incumbent Republican Sen. Larry George held off a challenge from Timi Parker, a Newberg-based Democrat.

As of 9:28 p.m. Tuesday he was up 63 percent to 37 percent.

George, who lives in Sherwood, has been in the state Senate since 2006, when he beat fellow Republican Charles Starr in that year’s primary. George has relentlessly focused on state spending, particularly emphasizing the state’s all-funds budget. He has said state funding practices force the legislature to cut popular items like education and public safety.

George works as manager of his family’s hazelnut processing company. Parker is a retired school teacher and librarian.