OBA Announces Early Endorsements

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Election 2014: OBA Endorses Legislative Champions

Oregon Business Association’s Political Action Committee (PAC) today announced its early support of members of the Oregon House of Representatives and Senate running in the November 2014 general election. John Russell, President of Russell Development Co. is OBA PAC Chair.

“This is our chance every two years to recognize a group of leaders in the state who make tough decisions to enhance Oregon’s economic competitiveness and quality of life,” Russell said.

OBA’s PAC supports candidates from both sides of the aisle. Ultimately, OBA seeks to support independently-minded individuals who are balanced in their approach to solutions and have a clear vision of how to help grow the state’s economy.

PAC members spent the past several weeks meeting with candidates and learning more about their goals and ideas. Candidates were given the opportunity to meet with the PAC for a 30-minute interview, and answered a questionnaire. Those who attended were asked the same set of questions regarding their goals and statewide issues.

Each of these candidates has a positive record of leadership on OBA issues, and also has the potential to champion OBA issues in the future.

OBA will host a bi-partisan reception celebrating these legislators and their accomplishments on Tuesday, April 29 in downtown Portland.

Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario

Representative Cliff Bentz has served in the Oregon House since his appointment in 2008. He holds degrees from Eastern Oregon State College and Lewis & Clark University. His professional experience includes working as an attorney and Partner at Yturri Rose, LLP. Bentz is also a farmer and owner/operator of a real estate business and an advocate for rural education and economic development.

John Davis, R-Wilsonville

Representative John Davis is fourth-generation Oregonian, a native of Clackamas and Washington counties, a husband, a father, and a business and real estate attorney.  Davis graduated summa cum laude from George Fox University, then dedicated a year of service through the AmeriCorp*VISTA program where he served as Programs Director for a community non-profit. He was elected to the Oregon House in 2012 and elected Republican Deputy Leader in 2013. Davis is an advocate for increasing school days in Oregon, as well as supporting technology, innovation and education to revitalize Oregon’s economy.

Val Hoyle, D-West Eugene

Representative Val Hoyle was sworn in to represent House District 14 in the Oregon Legislature on September 29th 2009. She is currently House Majority Leader. Hoyle has 32 years of experience as an advocate, community volunteer, campaign worker and small business professional. Hoyle has worked as a legislative aide and policy analyst for State Senator Floyd Prozanski and prior to the 2011 Session she was the director of the 100% access initiative for United Way of Lane County. The 100% access initiative brings health care and community leaders together to provide affordable and accessible health care to the people of Lane County. Hoyle also has a successful business background with 25 years of experience in domestic and international sales, wholesale distribution and retail management in the sporting goods industry. She has worked for bicycle manufacturers Burley Design, LLC and Cane Creek, LLC to improve sales and marketing systems in the U.S. and internationally.

John Huffman, R-The Dalles
Representative John Huffman was appointed to the Oregon House in 2007 after years of raising a family, running businesses and serving his community in The Dalles. Huffman is an active member of The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce, and has served on its Economic Development Committee for many years.  He helped efforts to attract Google to the Port of The Dalles, as well as to develop the National Scenic Area Discovery Center. As an appointee to the Bi-State Advisory Council, Huffman helped direct millions of dollars in grants and loans to economic development projects throughout the Columbia River Gorge.

Mark Johnson, R-Hood River

Representative Mark Johnson is a long-time resident of District 52. He grew up in the community of Parkdale and attended Hood River County schools from grade 1-12. After attending Whitworth College in Spokane, Johnson moved back to Hood River. He was elected to his first term in the State House of Representatives in November of 2010 and was then re-elected to his second term in November of 2012. During the 2013 session, Johnson served on the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee and Consumer Protection and Government Efficiency Committee. He was also appointed to Vice Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee.

Tina Kotek, D-Portland
Representative Tina Kotek is serving her fourth term in the Oregon House. Serving as Speaker of the House during the 2013 Legislative Session, Kotek made education and economic development her priorities. She led the effort to make a historic $6.75 billion re-investment in public education, working to rehire teachers, bring down class sizes, and add school days.  She also oversaw a number of efforts to speed the economic recovery, help more Oregon students access a higher education, and strengthen opportunities for Oregon’s middle class families. Kotek holds a B.S. in religious studies from the University of Oregon and an M.A. in international studies from the University of Washington. She lives in the Kenton neighborhood of North Portland.

John Lively, D-Springfield
An Oregon native, Representative John Lively was born in LaGrande and raised in Springfield. He graduated from Thurston High School, Lane Community College, and the University of Oregon. He spent four years serving our country in the Army Security Agency during the Vietnam War. He has called Springfield home for 49 years. He served as mayor of Springfield from 1976-1985. Lively was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2012. Lively is a champion of removing barriers on new businesses or the ability of existing business to expand. He also supports working with local communities to support their job creation efforts.

Caddy McKeown, D-Coos Bay

Representative Caddy McKeown was elected to represent District 9 in the Oregon House of Representatives in November 2012. Her priorities include reinvesting in public education, fostering a friendly business environment in Oregon, and maintaining critical services for Oregon’s most vulnerable citizens. McKeown was born and raised in Coos Bay, the daughter of a nurse and a small business owner. Her family has lived on the Oregon Coast for four generations. McKeown attended Coos Bay public schools and went on to study at both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University, where she earned her degree.

Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte

Representative Mike McLane, House Republican Leader, has deep roots in rural Oregon. He grew up in Condon, where he worked summers on local farms and ranches. He was active in sports, 4-H, and FFA. He attended Oregon State University where he received a degree in Agricultural Resource Economics in 1987. McLane values the needs of rural communities as they fight to retain jobs and attract new economic opportunities. In addition to serving on the Prineville/Crook County Economic Advisory Board, McLane is an attorney in Central Oregon with Miller Nash, LLP. He is known for fighting on behalf of small businesses and those in agriculture to make sure their efforts are rewarded.


Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem
The most veteran member of the Oregon Legislature, Senator Peter Courtney is now serving a record-setting sixth term as Senate President. Courtney was first selected Senate President in 2003 when the Senate was evenly divided with 15 Democrats and 15 Republicans. He was re-elected as the chamber’s presiding officer in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. He previously served seven terms in the Oregon House of Representatives, including four terms as House Democratic Leader. Courtney began his career in public service in 1974 as a member of the Salem City Council, where he served until 1980. He also was a member of the Salem Area Mass Transit Board. Born June 18, 1943, in Philadelphia, Courtney was raised in Virginia, West Virginia and Rhode Island. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a Master’s Degree in public administration from the University of Rhode Island. He earned a law degree from Boston University.

Chris Edwards, D-Eugene
Senator Chris Edwards, the only member of the Oregon Senate under the age of 40, is a sixth-generation Oregonian born in Roseburg. He spent his early years in Bandon and later his family moved to Eugene where he attended middle school and high school. Edwards earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and served as the fees chair for the OSU Student Government. After graduation from Oregon State, he  returned to Eugene to learn the ins and outs of the family’s forest products business. He was the General Manager of the company for the last three years of his work there. In 2006, Edwards was elected to serve in the Oregon House of Representatives. He served in the Oregon House for three years, before being unanimously appointed by the Lane County Commission to serve in the Oregon Senate. After his appointment, Edwards sought and won election to serve the 126,000+ constituents of Senate District 7. In addition to his service in the Oregon Senate, Edwards is the founding partner of an international export representation and consulting business that helps U.S. companies develop sales and distribution channels in Asia.

Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose

Senator Betsy Johnson is serving her second term in the Oregon Senate. She joined the Senate after being appointed to fill the District 16 position formerly held by Senator Joan Dukes. The appointment came as Betsy began her 3rd term in the Oregon House of Representatives. Her father, the late Sam Johnson, was a member of the House of Representatives from Redmond. Her mother, Becky Johnson, has served on numerous State Boards, including the State Board of Higher Education and the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission. Betsy received her undergraduate degree in History from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and her Law degree from the Northwestern School of Law, Lewis & Clark College. A licensed commercial pilot of both fixed and rotor-wing aircraft, she founded Transwestern Helicopters, Inc. in 1978. In September 1993, Betsy was selected as Manager of the Aeronautics Division of the Oregon Department of Transportation, a position she held until September 1998. During the 1999 Legislative Session she was Vice President for Legislative Affairs for the Oregon Pilots Association, where she successfully championed legislation that created the Oregon Department of Aviation. In the 2013 Legislative Session, Johnson was appointed to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means where she has served since her first session. In addition to serving as Vice Co-Chair of the Full Ways & Means Committee, her 2013 legislative duties included co-chair of the Transportation & Economic Development Subcommittee of Ways & Means, member of the General Government Subcommittee of Ways & Means, the Economic & Community Development Commission and member of the Legislative Administration Committee.

Bruce Star, R-Hillsboro

Senator Bruce Starr is a successful small businessman who cares about Oregon and its future as one of the best places to live and raise a family in America. Starr is a native of Hillsboro and a graduate of Portland State University. After graduating from PSU, the young entrepreneur started his own construction company focused on residential and commercial roofing and repair. His experience as a small business owner gave him a first-hand look at the challenges of growing a business and creating jobs. In 2002, Starr joined the Portland Business Alliance, Portland’s chamber of commerce. He focused on business development with an emphasis on international trade and from there started a new company, Cutting Edge NW, representing companies navigating the complex regulatory and tax codes at the state and federal level. Since 1999, Starr has served in the Oregon state legislature, in both the House and Senate. His priorities have reflected the needs of a rapidly growing region including education reform, transportation investments, and economic development incentives. He has been a leader on issues impacting the state’s economy and has focused on ways to make it easier for small businesses to grow and thrive.

Chuck Thomsen, R-Hood River

Senator Chuck Thomsen is a fourth generation orchardist from Hood River, Oregon.  He graduated from Hood River High School in 1975, and went on to graduate from Willamette University with a degree in Political Science and Economics. As an orchardist, Thomsen learned the value of hard work, a dedication to his community, and the importance of remaining honest and trustworthy in all his endeavors. Thomsen has served as a volunteer firefighter with the Pine Grove Fire Department for thirty years. In addition, he has been an active volunteer in the community as a coach and referee for Little League and OSAA youth sports. He has been a past Rotary President and volunteered for a large number of varying community groups. He was appointed to serve on the Hood River Planning Commission in 1990 where he served four years before running for Hood River County Commission in 1994.  Since first being elected, Chuck has served as a Hood River County Commissioner for 16 years. With the combined hard work of his colleagues on the Commission, Thomsen has been instrumental in balancing the budget, creating jobs and protecting businesses in their county.