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County commissioners to choose from Bill Kennemer, Steven Bates and John Lee Jr.

The Clackamas County Republican Party has selected three candidates — Bill Kennemer, Steven Bates and John Lee, Jr. — to advance in the process to fill the Oregon Senate District 20 seat vacated midterm by Alan Olsen.

"We are thrilled to have had 10 fantastic candidates competing for the nomination," said Margie Hughes, Clackamas County Republican Party chair. "Alan Olsen certainly leaves big shoes to fill, but we are confident that the three we advanced today are committed and capable of doing just that."

Ninety-three of the party's voting precinct committee members participated in a Zoom meeting Saturday, Jan. 23, to hear from the candidates and make the selections.

Now, the three remaining candidates advance to the county commission, which will select one for appointment to the Senate seat.

Bill Kennemer

PMG FILE PHOTO - KennemerMost will recognize the name of this longtime politician.

Most recently, in 2018, Kennemer retired as the Oregon House District 39 representative, a post he held since 2009. Rep. Christine Drazan won his seat and now serves as the Republican caucus leader. Prior to serving for House District 39, Kennemer was a state senator and a county commissioner. He also practiced as a psychologist for almost 25 years.

Now, he's willing to emerge from retirement because he's "concerned" that none of the other candidates appear to have Oregon elected legislative experience.

Kennemer's key priorities include speeding up the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, reopening businesses, opposing new taxes and excessive spending, family home tax deferral for spouse or disabled heirs, prohibiting I-205 tolling, opening schools, expediting wildfire recovery efforts, election integrity, opposing the carbon tax and working hard for constituents.

For those who have asked, Kennemer said yes, he would run for reelection to hold onto the seat.

Steve Bates

COURTESY PHOTO - BatesBates, of Boring, has been involved in the state Legislature over the past several years advocating for the community of Boring and veterans' issues.

If he is selected, Bates plans to work on transportation issues for Clackamas County, funding for state police and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, veterans' issues and mental health advocacy.

To honor Olsen's legacy, Bates also intends to support issues such as the Willamette Falls Legacy Project, community college funding and replacing the Clackamas County Courthouse.

"Through the years, it has been my privilege to advocate for my community," Bates said. "It would be my honor to represent and advocate for my hometown and Clackamas County as the next senator to represent Senate District 20."

John Lee Jr.

PMG FILE PHOTO - LeeLee, of Boring, has been active in the Boring Community Planning Organization in unincorporated Clackamas County, is the treasurer of the Oregon Republican Party and is CEO of Stumptown Sales Success, a company that provides sales strategy consulting and infrastructure for small businesses.

Lee is no stranger to running for office.

In 2018, he ran in the Republican primary against Christine Drazan for the Oregon House District 39 seat but was unsuccessful. Drazan went on to win in the general election.

Kristen Wohlers
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