Joelle Davis, a 2010 legislative candidate, said she has the experience to succeed Richard Devlin.

FILE - Tualatin City Council President Joelle Davis said Friday she will seek appointment to the seat being vacated by state Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin.Another major Democrat has entered the candidate pool for appointment to a Senate seat in the southwestern Portland metro area.

Tualatin City Council President Joelle Davis said Friday, Nov. 3, that she will seek an appointment to fill out the remainder of Sen. Richard Devlin's term in the Oregon Legislature. Devlin was nominated last month to the Northwest Power & Conservation Council and is expected to resign his seat in order to serve in that role.

Davis is the first major candidate to emerge from Tualatin, which is also the residence of Devlin, himself a Tualatin city councilor in the 1980s. The district, Senate District 19, also takes in Lake Oswego, West Linn, Durham and parts of Southwest Portland.

"Richard Devlin has just been an amazing senator, and he's just done really great things," Davis said, noting Devlin's important role in Salem as co-chairman of the powerful Ways & Means Committee. "And I'm not seeking to be a second Richard Devlin, because that's just not possible. He's just not replaceable in that fashion."

However, Davis said, she believes her nine years on the Tualatin City Council and work with groups like the Tualatin Community Police Foundation, which she co-founded, and the Human Rights Council of Washington County has given her experience she can take to Salem.

"I think that all of that contributes to a very clear example that I am experienced in having to make decisions and working with difficult issues, and also being available to and listening to my constituents," Davis said. "I have a very solid track record."

Davis previously ran for a legislative seat in 2010, seeking the Democratic nomination in House District 37. She lost in the primary.

After being elected without opposition to a third and final term on the Tualatin City Council last year — voters approved term limits for council members at the same election — Davis was unanimously named council president this January.

"I feel that I bring a unique set of qualifications to the position that I think that my competitors may not have," Davis said, noting that one consideration for Democratic officials in the selection process will likely be choosing candidates who can run for election in their own right and hold the seat.

{img:178290}The process for filling a legislative vacancy in Oregon is twofold. After Devlin steps down, Democratic precinct committee persons will select three to five candidates at a party convention. That list of candidates will then be submitted to the boards of county commissioners in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, as the district includes parts of all three. The commissioners will then make a selection from that candidate list.

Davis said the field of prospective candidates is already filling up, and she knows of at least two others in Tualatin who may also seek the appointment.

Rob Wagner, an associate vice president for Portland Community College and school board member in the Lake Oswego School District, was the first to announce his candidacy after news broke that Devlin would likely leave the Senate to serve on the Power & Conservation Council.

Former state Rep. Greg Macpherson and City Councilor Joe Buck, both also of Lake Oswego, and political consultant Moses Ross of Portland said last week they were considering throwing their hats in the ring.

Devlin was first elected to the Oregon Senate in 2002. He ran unsuccessfully for secretary of state last year, losing in the Democratic primary.

His term of office is set to expire at the end of next year. The eventual appointee will have the opportunity to run for a full four-year term in November 2018.

By Mark Miller
Assistant Editor, The Times
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