Westside state reps get gavels, committee assignments
From Columbia County to West Linn, the Westside's representatives in the Oregon House will have important roles in shaping legislation in 2021.
Representatives and representatives-elect received committee assignments Thursday, Dec. 31, ahead of their scheduled swearings-in next week. They include chairs for both veteran legislators like Clatskanie's Brad Witt and sophomores like West Linn's Rachel Prusak, as well as a heavy presence for Westside legislators on committees such as Education, Early Childhood and Health Care.
Witt will wield the gavel on the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, an extension of his role in 2019 and 2020 as chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. The committee's purview will be expanded in 2021.
Prusak is tapped as chair of a House standing committee for the first time since her 2018 election in House District 37, which also includes Tualatin and Stafford. The nurse practitioner will chair the House Health Care Committee, succeeding Lake Oswego Rep. Andrea Salinas, her legislative neighbor. Salinas will remain on the committee as a vice chair.
Salinas shifts over to chair what will be one of the most closely watched committees in Salem this year: the House Redistricting Committee. This group of five state representatives will be charged with drawing up new legislative and congressional maps for the next decade.
Rep. Ken Helm, D-Beaverton, returns as chair of the House Water Committee. The committee was reconstituted after the 2019 legislative session to focus specifically on water issues, previously under the purview of the House Energy and Environment Committee that Helm chaired in 2019.
Reps. Susan McLain of Forest Grove and Janeen Sollman of Hillsboro are among the Democratic appointees to the Joint Ways and Means Committee. Widely viewed as the most powerful committee in Salem, the Ways and Means Committee is charged with developing the state budget. McLain previously served on Ways and Means in 2019, but this is a new role for Sollman.
McLain, a retired schoolteacher, will co-chair the Ways and Means Education Subcommittee, while Sollman will co-chair the Public Safety Subcommittee.
McLain is also set to co-chair the Joint Interstate 5 Bridge Committee, which is being set up to develop a solution to replace the aging Interstate Bridge between Portland and Vancouver, Washington. She'll also serve as vice chair of the Joint Transportation Committee, along with Rep. Ron Noble, R-Carlton, her legislative neighbor to the south.
Rep. Maxine Dexter, first appointed to the House last year in House District 33 — including parts of Northwest Portland and Bethany — after the death of longtime Rep. Mitch Greenlick, will chair the Health Care Subcommittee on COVID-19. Three of that subcommittee's five members are Westside-area legislators, with Salinas and Rep.-elect Wlnsvey Campos, D-Aloha, also assigned to it. Dexter, a Portland Democrat, is a pulmonologist.
The Legislature will begin meeting next Monday, Jan. 11, to swear in new members and organize for the 2021 session, which will formally begin Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Here is a list of Westside state representatives and representatives-elect with their committee assignments:
• Ron Noble, House District 24: Judiciary (vice chair), Transportation (vice chair), Health Care, Human Services, Judiciary Subcommittee on Equitable Policing (vice chair)
• Courtney Neron, House District 26: Education (vice chair), Early Childhood, Housing
• Sheri Schouten, House District 27: Early Childhood (vice chair), Health Care, Human Services
• Wlnsvey Campos, House District 28: Housing (vice chair), Health Care, Redistricting, Health Care Subcommittee on COVID-19, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services
• Susan McLain, House District 29: Interstate 5 Bridge (co-chair), Transportation (vice chair), Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ways and Means, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education (co-chair)
• Janeen Sollman, House District 30: Education, Ways and Means, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Safety (co-chair)
• Brad Witt, House District 31: Agriculture and Natural Resources (chair), Business and Labor, Water
• Suzanne Weber, House District 32: Education (vice chair), Early Childhood, Housing
• Maxine Dexter, House District 33: Health Care, Judiciary, Health Care Subcommittee on COVID-19 (chair), Judiciary Subcommittee on Equitable Policing
• Ken Helm, House District 34: Water (chair), Energy and Environment, Judiciary, Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Law
• Dacia Grayber, House District 35: Business and Labor, Veterans and Emergency Management, Wildfire Recovery, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Safety
• Lisa Reynolds, House District 36: Behavioral Health, Early Childhood, Water
• Rachel Prusak, House District 37: Health Care (chair), Economic Recovery and Prosperity
• Andrea Salinas, House District 38: Redistricting (chair), Behavioral Health, Health Care, Rules, Health Care Subcommittee on COVID-19
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