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In the 16 years (four terms) since Greg Walden has served as the representative in the U.S. House for the Oregon's expansive second district, central and eastern Oregon have moved toward a more even split between Democrats and Republicans, with an increasing number of independent voters. While Walden's by-the-book Republican views (he also serves as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee) may have jibed with Central Oregon politics in 1998, the second district is becoming more moderate, while Walden is not.

Moreover, while Walden seems to represent this diverse region largely in absentia, Bend businesswoman Aelea Christofferson is an engaged and communicative moderate Democrat. She's not a far-left candidate, and holds relatively conservative perspectives on many issues, supporting greater local control over public lands, vowing to protect small businesses from tax hikes, and emphasizing the importance of supporting veterans, while progressive on issues like supporting immigrants in achieving citizenship through measures such as the Dream Act and supporting the embattled Affordable Care Act.

Christofferson believes in finding balance between environmental and economic concerns. In a region that relies so heavily on its natural resources while suffering from prolonged and persistent unemployment numbers, finding this balance is crucial to the region's prosperity.

As Central Oregon changes, so should its representative.

Read our Q&A with Aelea Christofferson. (Opponent Greg Walden did not respond to our interview request.)

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