Unprecedented Legislature turnover heralds unpredictable short session
Monday, January 31, 2022
The Legislature’s power dynamics are feeling seismic shifts this session, with reverberations that will extend into 2023. The rumblings start at the top.
House Speaker Tina Kotek has resigned, and Senate President Peter Courtney has said this is his last year. Together they have led the Oregon Legislature for nearly a decade.
Courtney was first elected to the Legislature in 1980 as a House representative for his Salem-area district. In 2003, he was elected Senate president and has held that role longer than anyone in Oregon history. Earlier this month, he announced his retirement.
Kotek, who was first elected in 2006 as a Portland representative and named speaker in 2013, is also the longest serving in that role. She resigned Jan. 21 to focus on running for governor.
The changes at the top and jockeying for the soon-to-be-open governor’s seat are creating ripples through both parties’ leadership. At the same time, the Legislature is facing a dramatic turnover between elections, with 11 vacancies since the close of the 2021 session out of 90 total seats.,
Sen. Akasha Lawrence Spence, D-Portland: Succeeding Sen. Ginny Burdick, who resigned Nov. 1 to accept a state appointment to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
Sen. Rachel Armitage, D-Scappoose: succeeding Sen. Betsy Johnson, who resigned Dec. 16 to focus on her bid for governor.
Sen. Janeen Sollman, D-Hillsboro: succeeding Sen. Chuck Riley, who resigned Jan. 1. Sollman was in her third term in the House, and her seat will have to be filled.
Rep. Andrea Valderrama, D-Portland: succeeding Rep. Diego Hernandez, who resigned March 15 amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Valderrama is the David Douglas School Board chair.
Rep. Anna Scharf, R-Independence: succeeding Rep. Mike Nearman, who was expelled by his House colleagues after allowing violent anti-lockdown demonstrators to enter the Capitol during a 2020 special session.
Rep. Christine Goodwin, R-Roseburg: succeeding Rep. Gary Leif, who died of cancer in July. Leif had a long career in Oregon government, and we wish his family and loved ones well.
Rep. Chris Hoy, D-Salem: succeeding Rep. Brian Clem, who resigned Dec. 1 to attend to an ailing family member.
Rep. Jessica George, R-Keizer: succeeding Rep. Bill Post, who resigned Nov. 30, after moving to Nevada.
Rep. Travis Nelson, D-Portland: succeeding Kotek, who resigned Jan. 21, to focus on her bid for governor.
Pending representative for House District 39: A Republican to succeed Rep. Christine Drazan of Canby, who resigned Jan. 31 to focus on her bid for governor.
Pending representative for House District 30: A Democrat to succeed Sollman of Hillsboro, who was appointed to Senate District 15.