Findley moves up to Senate, as officials select replacement for vacant seat

Rep. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, makes his opening statement to county commissioners during the meeting to appoint a person to Oregon Senate District 30 at Treasure Valley Community College on Monday.

ONTARIO — Lynn Findley announced Monday that will he will be resigning his seat in the Oregon House of Representatives effective Thursday following his selection to replace Cliff Bentz in the Senate to be sworn in.

Findley won by a wide margin over the other two people nominated for the position by Republican precinct committee members from counties in Senate District 30. Under the weight vote, based on the number of voters in each county, Findley’s tally was 60.33, Rod Runyon, from The Dalles had 15.99 votes Eric Wattenburg, from Sisters, received 11.34 votes.

In a statement issued after the vote, Findley said, “I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve the people of Senate District 30. I have worked hard to represent the voices of Eastern Oregonians since I have been in the House of Representatives and there is much work to be done.”

Findley has already filed to run for the Senate seat in the May Primary election.

”Findley originally followed Bentz into the House in January 2018, by appointment when Bentz was chosen to replace Ted Ferrioli in the Senate. Findley’s new appointment came at the end of a two-hour meeting of commissioners from nine of the 11 counties that are in or partially in the sprawling Senate District 30, that extends from the southeast corner of Oregon, at the Idaho border, to the Cascades.

Some commissioners participated by phone.

The candidates gave opening statements and then answered questions from the commissioners, followed by closing statements.

Given the size of District 30, all three said they already travel through the region for business or personal trips and getting around the district to make contact with constituents.

A physician, Wattenburg said one of his top issues was health care and how it is administered in Oregon and decried how, in his practice he had to have separate agreements with each insurance provider, and there needs to be a single agreement.

Runyon touted his experience as a city councilor, as a county commissioner, his work with the Association of Oregon Counties, seven years as chairman of the Veterans Committee and one year as treasurer, and eight years as Port of The Dalles Industrial Development Commissioner.

Findley brought up his service in the House, prior government experience, including vice chair of the Malheur County Development Corporation, overseeing contraction of the Treasure Valley Reload Facility and his appointment by the governor as conveyor of the Eastern Oregon Regional Advisory Solutions Team.

With the upcoming short legislative session, the candidates were asked their opinions about having them. Runyon said they need to get back to just handling budget issues and tweaking bills passed in the longer session.

Findley and Wattenburg said they would prefer the short sessions were eliminated.

Senate District 30 includes Baker, Grant, Jefferson, Malheur, Wasco, Wheeler and parts of Clackamas, Deschutes, Lake and Marion counties, but there are no populations in those portions of Clackamas and Marion counties in District 30.

With Findley moving to the Senate, another appointment will be needed to fill the House District 60 seat, through a similar process. Mark Owens, Harney County Commissioner, who has filed for the seat in the May Primary, said he will be seeking the appointment to the seat in the upcoming session.

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