As your elected state senator for District 3, I feel that it is important for me to communicate to you how I came to strongly endorse Sen. Barack Obama as the nominee of the Democratic Party, especially since I am aware that some of you support Sen. Clinton or Sen. McCain.

Sen. Obama understands the need to reform our economic structure and tax policies to benefit the middle class, and the urgent need to provide health care and education reform. He promises to amend our trade agreements to bring them in line with U.S. labor and environmental standards. He has a plan to fund the research and development of clean energy sources and to grow the economy with green-collar jobs.

Not only does Sen. Obama have a solid vision for withdrawing our troops from Iraq, but he has been consistent in speaking out against the war and the kind of thinking that got us there. Countless lives been lost or forever diminished, yet our country is no safer than it was on 9/11. We will feel the social and economic impact of this misguided action for generations to come, and need a president who is committed to diplomacy in an effort to prevent future wars.

All of the presidential candidates have served as legislators, but none has served in executive office. I believe the only way to determine how they will manage a presidential administration is to consider how well they have managed their campaigns. Sen. Obama has created the most effective grassroots, internet fundraising system in American political history, banning donations by federal lobbyists and special-interest political action committees, and inspiring 1,500,000 donors. He has built a focused, mission-driven, high morale operation, loaded with innovative talent that has energized young people, Independents and even Republicans. I have to believe that this is what our White House would look like under his leadership.

We Democrats are fortunate to have two strong and extremely well-qualified candidates who agree on most of the important issues that face our country. How they differ is that Sen. Obama offers us an opportunity to build a different kind of political system driven by a new majority. His message of hope inspires us to work together with a focus on our common interests.

I have watched carefully during this long primary campaign, and have seen Sen. Obama model the kind of temperament we need in a President. In his Herculean efforts to take the high road, he has still been able to remind us of the stakes involved and the need to focus on the bigger picture. I feel strongly that this is the leadership and integrity that we need to restore the face of America.

Sen. Obama is no fairy tale. I endorse him because I believe that he is the best candidate running for president. He will unite us across racial, socio-economic and political divides.

Dr. Alan Bates is a state senator representing District 3.