Candidates cast differing visions for role of labor commissioner

PORTLAND, Ore. - Interviewed separately last week by phone, Bruce Starr and Brad Avakian, the two candidates running for state labor commissioner, detailed differing visions and goals for the office.

Incumbent Avakian said his career as a civil rights attorney fits nicely with the mission of the Bureau of Labor and Industries, emphasizing equality in the workforce and in ensuring that workforce is well trained. But his challenger, Starr, said his background in small business will help him lead the agency to help put Oregonians back to work by spurring job creation through simplified regulations.

Both have served in the state Legislature and Starr is currently a state senator. The office of labor commissioner is nonpartisan but shadows from each man's party - Avakian, a Democrat, and Starr, a Republican - have cast themselves over the race as money has flowed to each candidate from his respective party.

Read the transcribed interviews: