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  Westlund's long political journey
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ContributorWesternDem 
Last EditedWesternDem  Jan 12, 2007 04:05pm
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News DateFriday, January 12, 2007 10:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionSenator Ben Westlund's office in Salem is on the east end of the third floor of the Capitol Building. The Capitol Building is formidable with it's marble fa├žade, revolving brass doors and words of democracy chiseled in stone. The polished floor of the lobby reflects grand murals and the gravity of government.

Everybody wants to say "Hi" to Ben Westlund, the newest Democrat in the Senate.

Westlund changed his registration last year from Republican to Independent to make a run for governor. Last month he changed from Independent to Democrat.

"I left the Republican Party because I grew weary of the intolerance of many ... certainly not all... Republicans to our fellow human beings," Westlund says. "A lot of people call that 'values.' But there are lots of people (in the state) who have lots of different 'values.'

"It became, 'You have to have MY values; you have to worship from the same pew.' That was inconsistent for me, for a party that was founded on individual rights and liberties," Westlund says.
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