The board of Multnomah County Commissioners finally picked Lew Frederick as a state legislator, after a nail-biting vote last week. Frederick was competing against Karol Collymore (an aide to County Commissioner Jeff Cogen) and Eddie Lincoln (a union organizer at Portland Community College) for the seat.

The three candidates were vying to replace former State Representative Chip Shields, who took retiring State Senator Margaret Carter's seat four weeks ago ["A Matter of Opinion?" News, Oct 1].

Frederick stressed his experience in the district as a TV reporter and communications director for Portland Public Schools in his opening remarks, while Collymore said she is distinct for her "visible body of work in Portland."

Discussion focused on an extensive range of topics, including raising more revenue for the cash-strapped legislature; ways to move less of the district's young men into the prison system; the best way to create more jobs in the district; and school inequity.

Frederick sad he was "humbled and overwhelmed" by the commissioners' support, which went in his direction by three votes to two.

County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury voted for Collymore, because she had "the opportunity to get more young women involved in the legislature." Cogen also voted for Collymore, saying he valued her "innovative approach."

"As a legislator I represented the state as a whole," said County Commissioner Judy Shiprack, voting for Frederick. "I think there are some real decision points about who knows District 43 best."

"There's a primary coming up, and I'd encourage each and every one of you to participate in that primary and run for this office," said Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler, casting the deciding vote for Frederick, who will hold the position until the primary in May 2010. "From my perspective the most important issue is acknowledgment of the reality that we are a poor state.

"Lew, you gave the best answer in terms of how to bring our families up," Wheeler concluded.

Collymore had nothing to say after the vote, but congratulated Frederick on the win.

"The county commissioners did a real fine job," said Lincoln, who also lost out. "But I've learned a lot from this process and it gives me some issues to research, so that I'm prepared for the next time around."