County commissioners from Senate District 30 will select a senator for Ted Ferrioli's position by Dec. 22.

SUBMITTED PHOTOS - Candidates to replace former State Sen. Ted Ferrioli include, left to right, Dr. Eric Wattenburg, Rep. Cliff Bentz, and Suzan Ellis Jones.At a special nominating convention held by the Oregon Republican Party Dec. 2, in John Day, Republican precinct committeepersons from Senate District 30 nominated three candidates to be considered to fill the vacancy left by the departure of Sen. Ted Ferrioli.

County commissioners from Jefferson, Baker, Deschutes, Grant, Harney, Lake, Malheur, Wasco, and Wheeler County will select from the three nominees: current State House Rep. Cliff Bentz, from District 60, rancher, farmer and attorney from Ontario; Dr. Erick Wattenburg, family, emergency and urgent care doctor, small business owner, and medical radio show host from Bend; and Suzan Ellis Jones, rancher and Baker County Republican Party chairwoman from Bridgeport.

Under state law, the county commissioners from each county of Senate District 30 must now select by Friday, Dec. 22, from one of the three Republican candidates nominated. Commissioners are expected to announce soon when and where they will interview the nominees, after which they will cast their weighted votes according to the number of voters from each of their counties registered within the boundaries of State Senate District 30.

"Thank you to Senate District 30 Republican precinct committeepersons for fulfilling their duty by nominating three strong nominees for county commissioners to choose from," said Bill Currier, chairman of the Oregon Republican Party.

The nominee selected by commissioners will officially take office before the next Oregon Legislature session starting Feb. 1, 2018. Ferrioli's replacement will serve until Jan. 13, 2019, but must stand for election in November 2018 in order to complete the two years remaining of Ferrioli's four-year term through January 2021.

On Nov. 22, Republican Sen. Ferrioli officially resigned from office to begin his appointment as a member of the Northwest Power and Conservation Planning Council, which oversees electrical energy co-operatives, public utility districts, and hydroelectric generation facilities, along with planning, conservation, and management of other renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal.

Ferrioli stepped down as Sen. Jackie Winters, who is currently the state's longest-serving black senator, was selected by her fellow Republican state senators as the new state Senate GOP leader on Nov. 15.

"We congratulate Sen. Winters on her new role as the leader of the state Senate Republicans. We also thank Sen. Ferrioli for his many years of leadership and distinguished service to our great state," added Currier.

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