Ducks fly high in recent election

On November 6, Oregon held its general election. The election featured UO graduates competing for seats in races at the state and federal level.

Ducks performed well in races for seats in the Oregon State Legislature.  New Ducks to the Oregon Legislature include:

  • Democrat Chris Gorsek (BS ’89; MA ’92) of Troutdale upset an incumbent, State Representative Matthew Wand (R-Troutdale) to represent House District 29. He also holds a PhD from Portland State.
  • John Lively (BS ’74) won the open seat to represent House District 12, previously represented by State Representative Terry Beyer (D-Springfield), a strong supporter of the UO. Democrat Lively is a former mayor of Springfield.
  • Democrat Ben Unger (BA) of Hillsboro upset incumbent State Representative Katie Eyre Brewer (R-Hillsboro) to win House District 29. Unger was ASUO vice president during the late 1990s.
  • Democrat Jennifer Williamson of Hillsboro (BS ’96) won an open seat in House District 36, which was previously represented by State Representative Mary Nolan (D-Portland). Williamson served as ASUO student body president during her time as a student at UO.
  • Bill Hansell (BS ’67) of Athena, Oregon won election to the Oregon Senate, representing Senate District 29, the seat vacated by retiring State Senator David Nelson (BS ’64).  Hansell, a Republican, is a longtime Umatilla County Commissioner.
  • Arnie Roblan (MA ’83), a Democrat from North Bend and co-speaker of the Oregon House during the 2011 and 2012 session, was elected to the seat left by retiring State Senator Joanne Verger.  His Senate District 5 includes the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology at Charleston.
  • Caddy McKeown, a Democrat from Coos Bay, was elected to the seat in State House District 9 vacated by Arnie Roblan.  She spent two year at UO before earning an undergraduate degree from Oregon State University.

A number of University of Oregon graduates were reelected including:

  • State Representative Tina Kotek (D-Portland) (BS ’90) won reelection to her Portland area House District 44 and will be Speaker of the Oregon House.  Kotek will be the first openly gay woman in the nation to serve as Speaker.
  • State Representative Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene) (BA, ’68, JD ’71, BA ’78) was reelected to represent House District 11.  Barnhart will serve as chair of the House Revenue committee.
  • State Representative Brad Witt (D-Clastskanie) (MA’78) was also reelected to serve House District 31.
  • State Representative Wally Hicks (R-Grants Pass) (JD ’07), a Republican legislator from Grants Pass, was reelected to his second term, representing House District 3.
  • State Senator Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) (BA’ 73) was reelected and continues as the Senate Republican Minority Leader, representing Senate District 30.
  • State Senator Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) (MA, Journalism, ’73) was reelected to represent Senate District 18.
  • State Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) (BS ’78), who chaired the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee, won another term, representing Senate District 14.  

In statewide races, UO law graduate Ellen Rosenblum (BS ’71, JD ‘75) won election to the position of Oregon Attorney General.  She was appointed to the post by Governor John Kitzhaber in June of this year.

Federally, US Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) (MA ’77), US Congressman Greg Walden (R-Oregon) (BS ’81), and US Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon) (BA ’80 , JD ’83) were all reelected to represent Oregon in the US House of Representatives.

Walden was elected the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, a top Republican leadership post.  He succeeds US Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX).  With Democrats retaining control of the US Senate, US Senator Ron Wyden (JD ’74) will chair the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.