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Editorial: Oberloh should go to St. Paul

Ana Anthony/Daily Globe Mayor Alan Oberloh sits in his chair in the Worthington City Hall council chambers during a September 2011 meeting.

Worthington's Alan Oberloh has been mayor of his community for the past 10 years, but there's much more to his resume than his City Hall post.

Oberloh, who is seeking the Minnesota Senate District 22 seat vacated when Doug Magnus opted to not seek re-election, has been involved with an impressive number of organizations and boards over many years. Then again, so has Oberloh's opponent, Bill Weber of Luverne, a former mayor himself.

While both Oberloh and Weber have plenty of characteristics that qualify them for state office, we feel Oberloh will bring more of an much-needed independent streak to St. Paul.

Weber, for his part, is a one-time local Republican Party chair who ran unsuccessfully for the District 22 seat in 2006, falling to longtime DFL legislator Jim Vickerman. Oberloh, meanwhile, has served Worthington -- and rural Minnesota -- through his work with the non-partisan Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, of which he was president during the past year. He had been courted by leaders of both major political parties for years, and has vowed to speak his own mind (and not be bound be party affiliation) if elected -- something that wouldn't surprise us in the least.

In serving 20 years at the State Capitol, the aforementioned Vickerman earned a reputation as a legislator who put his constituents first while being by no means a member of the liberal wing of his party. We see similar qualities in Oberloh -- a political moderate who will work with people of varying views to ensure progress for our region's communities and our state.