Changes on the Horizon in the Oregon House

The Oregon House of Representatives will look different after 2012, as several House members have announced their resignation or are running for a different office.

First, Rep. Ben Cannon, D-Portland, resigned from the legislature to become Gov. John Kitzhaber’s top education adviser. Cannon, a Democrat in his third term in the House, replaced Nancy Golden, a temporary hire who has returned to her position as superintendent of the Springfield School District this summer. His resignation was effective Sept. 1. The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners appointed Democrat Alissa Keny-Guyer to this Oregon House seat. Keny-Guyer, who won the seat by a vote of 4-1, has worked as a program manager for Oregon Solutions and served on the Northwest Health Foundation Board and the Multnomah County Commission on Children and Families.

State Rep. Dave Hunt announced that he is leaving his Clackamas County house seat to run for the Clackamas County Commission against the current chair, Charlotte Lehan. Hunt has served in Salem for nine years, including a stint as House Speaker, but was not selected again as House Democratic leader by his colleagues. He already boasts a long list of sponsors, including Rep. Kurt Schrader, former Rep. Darlene Hooley, State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, Labor Commissioner (and 1st Congressional District candidate) Brad Avakian, Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum, state Rep. Carolyn Tomei, state Rep. Chris Garrett and others. Hunt previously served on the Oregon City School Board and the Clackamas County Citizen Involvement Committee. With that news, Brent Barton, a former state legislator who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate, announced he will be running for Hunt’s vacated House seat.

Rep. Jefferson Smith is running for mayor of Portland. Smith is a Democrat representing House District 47, which is east of Interstate 205 and runs south of the Columbia River to Southeast Division Street. Because Smith cannot simultaneously run for mayor and re-election to his House seat, his seat is now open. A lawyer by training, Smith is a community activist who helped found the Oregon Bus Project, a nonprofit organization that encourages people to register and vote. The work has given him more grassroots organizing experience than either of the two major candidates in the mayoral race.

In other areas, legislative candidates continue to file for the Oregon 2012 election. Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, will be running for re-election in Senate District 25. Monnes Anderson is currently in her second term as a state senator and is chair of the Senate Committee on Health Care, Human Services and Rural Health Policy. Democratic Rep. Margret Doherty’s seat is being challenged by John Goodhouse, who filed for the Republican nomination in House District 35. Last year, Goodhouse narrowly lost in a race for Tigard City Council. Democrat Sharon Meieran, a Portland area doctor, has announced she will be running for House District 36. The incumbent, Rep. Mary Nolan, D-Portland, is running for the Portland City Council. Meieran has received support from many in the health care community, including the OR Health Care Association PAC, Oregon Hospital PAC, and the Oregon Medical PAC.

All told, the current House members not running in 2012 include:

Rep. Dave Hunt
Rep. Mary Nolan
Rep. Jean Cowan
Rep. Jefferson Smith
Rep. Ben Cannon (resigned seat)


Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:

Jennifer Wagner, Director of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello , Vice President, Legislative Affairs
Stacy Augustine , Senior Vice President & General Counsel

Posted in Advocacy News.