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Sen. Chuck Thomsen plans to retire this year, leaving the election open to new candidates after 12 years.

COURTESY PHOTO: STEVE BATES - Steve Bates of Boring announced his intention to run in the Republican primary for Senate 26 on Jan. 4. News broke that Senate District 26 Sen. Chuck Thomsen plans to retire this year in November 2021. Since then two Republican candidates have emerged to vie for his seat: House District 59 Rep. Daniel Bonham, who has Thomsen's support, and, most recently, Boring resident Steve Bates.

Senate District 26 will continue to contain Sandy and much of Hood River County. Following redistricting this year, it will lose portions of North Clackamas like Happy Valley, shifting south to cover portions of unincorporated Clackamas County outside Oregon City such as Beavercreek.

Bates announced his intention to run for Senate District 26 during the Jan. 4 meeting of the Boring Community Planning Organization (CPO).

Bates has mounted unsuccessful campaigns for the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners in 2014 and 2016.

Bates told attendees of the CPO meeting that: "of the estimated 141,000 residents of (the redistricted) Senate District 26, about 70% live within a 35-mile radius of my home."

"I am in a very good location to properly represent all of the people of (Senate District) 26," Bates said. "I have lived in Boring for 45 years and I recall most of the time, my senator lived within a 30- or 35-mile radius from me."

The Boring CPO voted unanimously to endorse Steve Bates for Oregon Senate District 26 on Jan. 4. Aside from that group, multiple area residents have come out in support as well.

Marie Teune, an elected board member of the Oregon Trail School District Board and Mt. Hood Community College Board said: "Beyond a doubt, Steve Bates is the most qualified person to run for Oregon State Senate."

"Being his neighbor for 40 years, it's been amazing to see how he has become an icon in our community," Teune added. "Steve exemplifies honesty, integrity, leadership, commitment and hard work for the community he cares so much about. We need Steve representing our senate district."

Bates has worked with the Legislature on numerous occasions over the past several years, advocating for the community of Boring and statewide issues affecting veterans. Bates has proposed and advocated for 17 pieces of legislation that have been introduced at his request. Bates said that more than half of the legislative items he's proposed have received unanimous bipartisan votes.

"I have developed relationships at the Capitol through the years and I look forward to expanding those relationships and adding to them as the senator from Senate District 26," Bates explained.

If elected, Bates hopes to work toward garnering bipartisan support on transportation issues, such as traffic congestion, and also allocating funding for the Oregon State Police and county sheriffs, veterans issues and mental health advocacy.

"In addition to advocating for our veterans, I will also further the efforts to reclaim and activate the Willamette Falls Locks so that there is a navigable waterway from Portland to Salem in the event of a major catastrophe," Bates added.

He also intends to support issues such as community college funding, prioritizing vocational education and replacing the Clackamas County Courthouse.

"Through the years, it has been my privilege to advocate for my community and our veterans around the state," Bates said. "It would be my honor to represent and advocate for my hometown and my fellow residents of Senate District 26."

A registered Republican, Steve Bates will be on the May 17 Republican primary ballot.

For more information on the upcoming election, visit clackamas.us/elections/may-17-2022-primary-election. The last day for prospective candidates to file is March 8.


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