Turnover in Salem Raises Questions

Rep. Andrea Salinas

Affordable housing and improved public education are key issue areas for Clackamas County’s newest state legislators. Rep. Andrea Salinas, D-Lake Oswego, has identified affordable housing as an area where she can bring her expertise and commitment, while newly minted Senator Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, has extensive experience with education policy.

Sen. Rob Wagner

The newly appointed Democratic representative and senator are filling vacancies resulting from Rep. Ann Lininger being appointed to a Clackamas County judgeship and Sen. Richard Devlin taking a position with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

Meanwhile, five Republican vacancies have also been filled, creating the most midterm turnover for many years. Aside from Republican Leader Sen. Ted Ferrioli, who like Devlin was appointed to the NWPCC, the other Republican vacancies were the result of veteran legislators leaving the government to take lobbying positions.

Unlike the federal government, Oregon has no legislation that requires a waiting period from the time a legislator leaves public service and until they get paid to lobby their former colleagues. The revolving door of legislator to lobbyist has been a national concern for years. Obama had a five-year wait time for his administration. The Trump administration has reversed the process by hiring and appointing a large number of lobbyists to become part of the administration, raising questions about both their loyalty and commitment to the public good.

More information on the new lawmakers