You will need a directory to keep track of the new faces in the House and Senate when the Oregon legislature convenes February 1 for a short 35-day session. There have been nine legislative changes since the 2020 election, which is 10 percent of the 90-member legislative body. There are two more vacancies to fill.
House Democrats over the weekend selected Rep. Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, to replace Tina Kotek as House Speaker. Kotek resigned her North Portland District 44 seat earlier this month to run full-time for the Democratic nomination for governor. Multnomah County commissioners will choose Kotek’s successor, presumably before the 2022 session convenes.
Rep. Janeen Sollman, D-Hillsboro, who was elected in 2016, was chosen last week by Washington County commissioners to replace District 15 Democratic Senator Chuck Riley who retired January 1. Sollman’s House District 30 seat is now vacant and will be filled by the same commissioners.
Rachel Armitage, a former legislative staffer who lives in Warren and works at Reed College while studying for her master’s degree, was picked to fill Democratic Senator Betsy Johnson’s vacant Northwest Oregon Senate District 16 seat. Her selection was made by county commissioners from five counties within the district. Johnson resigned to pursue her independent candidacy for governor full-time.
Former state Rep. Akasha Lawrence-Spence will replace Democratic Senator Ginny Burdick in District 18, which includes Southwest Portland and Tigard. Lawrence-Spence is the owner of Fifth Element, a real estate development firm that helps women of color business owners purchase commercial real estate. She was previously appointed to a Portland House seat vacated by former House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson. Burdick resigned after accepting a gubernatorial appointment to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
Jessica George of Keizer was tapped to replace GOP Rep. Bill Post, who resigned in his fourth term after moving to Nevada. George, the wife of former Senator Larry George and daughter of former Senator Rod Johnson, took her seat December 13, when lawmakers met in a one-day special session. George signaled she won’t seek election to represent House District 25 amid reports former Oregon Republican lawmaker and gubernatorial candidate Kevin Mannix is looking to run for the seat.
Anna Scharf of Amity succeeded GOP Rep. Mike Nearman, the first sitting Oregon legislator to be expelled for his role in enabling armed demonstrators to enter the Capitol during a pandemic lockdown. Scharf took her seat July 6 and participated in the one-day special session in December.
Christine Goodwin of Roseburg replaced the late GOP Rep. Gary Leif, who died of cancer July 22. After her appointment, Goodwin, who administers an optometry practice that she and her husband own, was seated in the Oregon House August 27 and participated in the December one-day special session.
Chris Hoy of Salem took over House District 21 that had been held by eight-term Democratic Rep. Brian Clem, who resigned for family reasons after the 2021 session. Hoy is a retired law enforcement officer who graduated from Willamette University with a degree in political science and English. He served on the Salem City Council.
Andrea Valderrama of Portland was seated for House District 47 April 1 following the resignation of embattled Rep. Diego Hernandez prior to a House expulsion vote stemming for sexual harassment allegations. Valderrama is policy director for ACLU of Oregon and previously served as advocacy director for the Coalition of Communities of Color.