Transitions in the Oregon Legislature and governor’s office

Transitions in the Oregon Legislature

Two legislators have left office to fill other positions, prompting a number of changes that will affect the February line up.

Long time legislator Jackie Dingfelder (D- Portland) resigned her Senate seat to work for the office of Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. The Multnomah County Commission chose former State Representative Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) from among three nominees to fill her vacancy.

Multnomah County Commissioners named Barbara Smith Warner, a former aide to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden on labor issues, to fill Dembrow’s seat in the House in SW Portland. Governor Kitzhaber appointed three-term State Representative Chris Garrett (D-Lake Oswego) to the Oregon Court of Appeals. Multnomah and Clackamas County Commissioners will choose Garrett’s replacement by January 31.

Higher Education Committees

Oregon House and Senate leadership have named members to the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee and the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee for the 2014 session. The Senate committee will again be chaired by State Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) and include  Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend), Senator Lee Beyer (D-Springfield), Senator Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay), and  Senator Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg). The House committee will be chaired by Representative Chris Harker (D-Washington County) and include Representative Joe Gallegos (D-Hillsboro), Representative John Huffman (R-the Dalles), Representative Vic Gilliam (R-Silverton), Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland), Representative Gene Whisnant (R-Sun River), and Representative Gail Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls).

Transitions in governor’s office

Over the last several months a number of staff members in the governor’s office have moved on. Chief of Staff Curtis Robinhold is moving to the Port of Portland, replaced by health advisor Mike Bonetto. Spokesperson Tim Raphael has taken a position with a Seattle-based PR firm, Strategies 360, and has been replaced by Nkenge Harmon Johnson. A native Oregonian, Johnson comes to the Governor’s staff with an extensive background in communications and policy experience. With the departure of Ben Cannon to serve as executive director of the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, Daniel Ledezma will serve as educational policy advisor to the Governor. Ledezma comes to the governor’s office from the Portland Housing Bureau, where she was director of equity, policy, and communications.