I greatly enjoy reading the Keizertimes each week. The paper is the best source for local coverage of the issues that matter most to the citizens of Keizer.

I do have one suggestion for improvement. Please fold in a blood pressure pill when you run columns by Gene McIntyre. I have the need to pop a pill after reading his articles.

Last week’s article was no exception. In the article, Trading $1M a year for $174,000, Mr. McIntyre expresses his “sadness and disappointment” after reading an article in The Oregonian regarding Dr. Monica Wehby, the candidate opposing U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley.

Mr. McIntyre writes he is ”sad and disappointed” that Dr. Wehby would leave her position as a pediatric neurosurgeon for a position in the U.S. Senate. Our Founding Fathers would applaud this move. They felt strongly that our government leaders should come from the citizenry. They believed that leaders should use their knowledge from civilian life to better the condition of the citizenry. They didn’t believe that we should have career politicians. I agree. I believe we are served best by leaders that have experience in the working world.

Jeff Merkley is a career politician. He has zero experience or accomplishment outside of the government or non-profit sectors. After college, he moved from a position at the Office of the Secretary of Defense to the Congressional Budget Office. After his first nine years of public employment, he had a brief three year term at Habitat for Humanity. (I applaud his efforts at the best housing organization.) His next stop was the Oregon House of Representatives for 10 years.  He has spent the last five years in the U.S. Senate.

Where did he gain any experience or knowledge of the workings of the private sector or the average citizen? Perhaps he is a poster child of why Congress doesn’t work. He has never had to make a payroll, deal with the unintended negative results of government regulation, or have his livelihood dependent upon the successful introduction of a product or service. He has been successful in getting elected, but is this a virtue?

Dr. Wehby is accomplished in her career field. Her intelligence and discipline are self-evident from her position as a pediatric neurosurgeon.  She has shown interest in medical tort reform. With the current challenges facing healthcare, I would welcome a candidate with a lifetime of experience and expertise in the medical field.

I am done with politicians having limited or no experience in the private sector.  It does not matter whether you are Republican or Democrat, if you do not have credentials outside of governmental service you will not get my vote. For this reason, a candidate like Dr. Monica Wehby is a refreshing alternative. Mr. Merkley has had his time; let’s retire him. Mr. McIntyre is a strong advocate for the progressive movement. Here’s a progressive idea: endorse candidates that have accomplished something outside of the bureaucratic workings of government and see if anything changes. Is this really such a novel idea?

(Phil Gerstner lives in Keizer.)