Rep. Drazan will resign to focus on GOP bid for governor
State Rep. Christine Drazan of Canby has announced she will resign her District 39 seat on Monday, Jan. 31, to focus on her bid for the Republican nomination for governor.
Her move was expected. A House rule bars lawmakers from raising campaign money during sessions. Drazan set up a campaign committee for governor on Nov. 24, resigned as House Republican leader on Nov. 30, and filed her candidacy on Jan. 7.
The 2022 session is scheduled to start Feb. 1.
An appointed successor is likely to miss part of the 35-day session, but one must be seated before its scheduled close on March 7. State law allows 30 days for Republicans within the district to nominate three to five candidates and Clackamas County commissioners to appoint someone. Otherwise, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown is empowered to appoint any Republican who qualifies, even if that person was not on the original list.
The appointee would represent the district before it was redrawn following the 2020 Census, even though the new district lines took effect on Jan. 1.
So far, 15 Republicans have filed for governor in the May 17 primary. Drazan is the only one who has held state office. The filing deadline is March 8.
Drazan will be the 11th legislator to leave her seat since the November 2020 election.
Drazan, 49, is director of the nonprofit Cultural Advocacy Coalition. She was elected to the then-open District 39 seat in 2018, when Bill Kennemer vacated it after 10 years. She once worked for Mark Simmons, then of Elgin, who was House majority leader in 2000 and House speaker in 2001 and 2002.
She became House GOP leader after the 2019 session, when she ousted Rep. Carl Wilson of Grants Pass. During her tenure, the party made a net gain of one seat, from 22 to 23, in the 2020 election. (Republicans won two open seats on the coast vacated by Democrats, but a GOP incumbent in Bend lost.) She made way for Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson of Prineville as leader on Nov. 30, just before the Dec. 13 special session.
Drazan issued a statement on her resignation:
"I made the decision to run for elected office to stand up for my neighbors and work to restore balance in our state. I committed to serve with integrity and authenticity, to fight against policies that hurt people, to be accountable and honest.
"I found a broken political system where people served their own interests and advanced shortsighted, bumper-sticker policies. I found abusive, entitled power brokers shamefully casual about the impacts their decisions had on people's lives. I found gamesmanship that would turn your stomach. It was, and is, the reason our state is among the worst in the nation for access to mental health supports and recovery services, suicide rates, housing prices, cost of living, business tax burden and crime. Parents know that any recent changes in graduation rates are a result of lower education standards, not gains in student learning.
"We need balance. We need accountability. We need change. The politically powerful in our state are out of touch with Oregonians. They are failing. Their political leadership has not balanced competing interests or brokered durable compromise. Too many families and businesses are set aside, ignored or attacked, then threatened to comply, compromise or leave. And the people who love this beautiful place we call home have lost faith.
"We are at a crossroads in Oregon. We must decide: more of the same or a new direction. The people who have led a decade of decline cannot be trusted with our future. As House Republican leader I led a unified caucus in opposition to partisan policies. I negotiated in good faith. I voted for bills that balanced interests. I worked for bipartisan solutions but refused to accept legislation that targeted sectors and communities. I led a walkout to stop an aggressive cap and trade plan that would have raised prices and harmed families and businesses. I stood for Oregonians who suffered during the pandemic. I fought for fair political maps. I worked for policies that supported my constituents.
"I remain determined to do more to serve Oregonians, to restore balance and to fight for our future. In service to this commitment to work for all Oregonians, my final day as state representative for House District 39 will be January 31, 2022. I want to thank my incredible staff and the nonpartisan staff in the Capitol who serve the process with professionalism and respect the legislative branch as much as I do. I want to also thank my caucus for your friendship. I loved working on your behalf outside the Capitol and in service to your districts within the legislative process.
"Public service is a sacred trust. Not everyone sees it that way, but the job is to do the right thing, to be honest, to uphold the constitution and to protect the values and interests of your community and state. It has been a profound honor to represent my district in Salem and to have led House Republicans on behalf of all Oregonians through difficult circumstances and extraordinary challenges."
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