Leadership for Three of Oregon’s Four Legislative Caucuses Has Been Chosen

Legislative Caucuses: The Oregon Senate is electing a new president for the first time in twenty years.

Senator-elect Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) was chosen as the new majority leader by a secret ballot of his fellow Democrats on Friday. Salem Democrat Peter Courtney, who has been in the legislature for 38 years and has served as Senate president since 2003, is retiring. Wagner, Rob (Oregon Legislature)

Leadership for Three of Oregon’s Four Legislative Caucuses Has Been Chosen

Senator Wagner is an excellent candidate for Senate President, as stated by Senator Courtney. He’s capable of handling the load, and he’s a bright guy. We can expect excellent service from him in the Senate. I’m looking forward to assisting him with a successful start to the new term.

Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) were both re-elected to their leadership positions in the Senate and the House, respectively, last week, so Wagner will be joining them. It won’t be until December 6 when House Republicans choose their caucus leaders.

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Wagner has promised that the Oregon Senate will be a “force for positive change in every area of the state” if he is elected.

To ensure that all Oregonians feel represented and supported by the work we do, he stated, “I look forward to working with my colleagues to improve on our culture of inclusivity and openness – across the aisle and across the state.”

Until the January Senate session, when senators will publicly vote on their next leader, he will not officially become Senate president. The vote is a formality, as all 17 Democrats have already pledged their support for him.

Leadership for Three of Oregon's Four Legislative Caucuses Has Been Chosen
Leadership for Three of Oregon’s Four Legislative Caucuses Has Been Chosen

The objections to Wagner’s nomination from Senator Knopp and the Republican majority in the Senate made this a must. Knopp said in a statement that the Democrats won control of the state senate by a razor-thin margin, with a total of fewer than 3,000 votes in the 3rd Senate District (which includes Ashland) and the 20th Senate District (which includes Gladstone). That, according to Knopp, shows that voters prioritized cooperation between the two major parties.

Sen. Wagner “has proven he is untrustworthy, extremely politicized, and has the basic skills to manage the Senate in a nonpartisan approach,” Knopp added. It’s official: Senator Wagner has zero supporters among Senate Republicans.

Republicans in Oregon are on board if Democrats are serious about bringing the state together to address our issues. Democrats can count on complete and utter failure if they try to implement a progressive agenda as a means of repaying their supporters.

When the new Congress convenes in January, Democrats will hold 17 of 30 Senate seats and 35 of 60 House seats, down from 18 and 37 respectively today. They failed to secure the required three-fifths supermajority on tax increases.

An Affirmation

Democrats in the House, led by Majority Leader Julie Fahey (D-Eugene), took the election results as a sign that people approved of Democratic programs.

Shortly after the election, Fahey said, “Voters saw a vision from Democrats that understood the everyday challenges that Oregon families confront, gave real answers to the state’s problems, and stayed true to our shared Oregonian values.” “House Democrats will keep fighting for Oregonians every day, and we’re prepared to steer Oregon into the future,” she said.

Fahey, along with Rayfield for speaker, was renominated for another term by the incoming Democratic lawmakers. Both assumed their positions at the beginning of this year, after Governor-elect Tina Kotek’s resignation as House speaker to focus on her campaign.

In a statement, Rayfield said, “I was first elected to serve in this role during a period of significant transition, but we came together in a bipartisan way under challenging circumstances early this year to invest in education, housing, rural Oregon, and support for working families.”

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I look forward to working with you to end homelessness, make our communities safer, boost our educational system, and create an economy that benefits all Oregonians, thanks in large part to the mutual trust we’ve established.

Senator Pro Tempore James Manning (D-Eugene); Senator Majority Leader Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton); Senator Deputy Majority Leader Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro); Senator Majority Whips Sara Gelser Blouin (D-Corvallis) and Lew Frederick (D-Portland); and Senator Assistant Majority Leaders Kayse Jama (D-Portland) and Wlnsvey Campos (D- Paul Holvey (D-Eugene) is the House’s current Speaker Pro Tempore, and Representative Andrea Valderrama (D-Portland) is the House Majority Whip. Rob Nosse (D-Portland) is the deputy majority whip in the House. Pam Marsh (D-Ashland), Jason Kropf (D-Bend), and Dacia Graybar (D-Tigard) are the assistant majority leaders in the House.

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