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Three on the environment

Well worth watching, this three-way Oregon debate among two Democrats (former Governor John Kitzhaber and former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury) and one Republican (businessman Allen Alley). Partly because of the thoughtful talk about the environment – three distinct views, all rendered with some reflection. All three sound more than conversant with a wide range of sometimes wonkish topics, though the subjects range from forestry to liquid natural gas to transportation policy

There is, of course, this too: Two of these three candidates very well may be on the November election ballot, and there’s not often such a good opportunity to consider the head to head merits of the candidates this far ahead of the primary.

In this meeting, set up by five environmental groups, the dynamics led the candidates to specific approaches. Alley came across as particularly likeable – blustery at Dorchester, he seems more like a nice-guy almost-centrist here – his statements leaning toward market solutions would be recognizable from Dorchester, but his attitude and manner were more easy-going, and he wound areas of common ground with this group too. Bradbury was earnest, real earnest, which may be okay before this crowd but might strike others as too intense. Kitzhaber’s approach was in the middle (which was where he was physically), efficient, informed, sleekly organized. (Wisely, probably, he didn’t veer back very often to his previous governorship, but focused on the forward-looking.)

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