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Retirement announcement follows five terms representing parts of SW Portland in Salem

PMG PHOTO: BILL GALLAGHER - Representative Margaret Doherty, HD 35 - D, at a town hall in Tigard City Hall in January 2019.State Representative Margaret Doherty, a Democrat who has represented the western section of Southwest Portland since being appointed in 2009, announced that 2020 will be her last year in office.

Her decision not to run for reelection from House District 35, which also includes Tigard and Metzger, marks the end of a public service career that began at Milwaukie High School after she graduated from Wilson High School and Portland State University. She taught for ten years then went to work with the Oregon Education Association – the teachers union – where she was an advocate for 22 years.

Doherty, known primarily for her work on education issues in Salem, will be chair of the House Education Committee in the short legislative session that begins on February 3.

She replaced Larry Galizio in 2009 as the Representative from HD 35 when he chose to leave the legislature for a position with Clatsop Community College. Winning election in November 2010, she never served in Salem when there wasn't a Democratic majority in the House. There are currently 37 Democrats and 22 Republicans in the House.

Known more as a work horse than a show horse in political terms, she received coverage for two stands she took in the 2019 session. She opposed her fellow democrats by voting against highly-publicized proposals to ban some plastic and polystyrene foam products. She then got nationwide attention for refusing to allow a Holocaust denier to perpetuate Nazi propaganda with his testimony before the Education Committee.

"I'm not a person that likes to promote hate and untruths," she is reported to have said after shutting down the testimony on a Holocaust Education bill which eventually passed and became law. "You give people the opportunity to speak, up to a point. And then you tell them their testimony is over."

She never faced a close election to represent HD 35. The closest an opponent came was in 2010 when Republican small businessman Gordon Fiddes held her to less than 60% of the vote. In the 2018 election she got two out of every three votes cast, defeating Republican Bob Niemeyer. A primary will be held in May and a general election in November to replace Doherty in Salem.

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