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Majority Democrats name team for the 2023 session that opens Jan. 9; Corvallis lawyer was speaker in 2022.

COURTESY PHOTO - Rep. Dan Rayfield of Corvallis has been renominated by majority Democrats for a full two-year term as speaker of the Oregon House. The lawyer and five-term member is up for a vote of the full House when the 2023 session opens Jan. 9, but the choice of the majority party prevails. Rep. Dan Rayfield of Corvallis has been renominated by his Democratic colleagues for a full two-year term as speaker of the Oregon House.

The Corvallis lawyer was chosen Wednesday, Nov. 16, as members of the Democratic majority met. Unofficial final results from the Nov. 8 election were due, but Democrats retained the majority they have had for a decade. However, it is likely that they will lose the supermajority required (60%, or 36 seats) to enable them to approve revenue-raising measures on their own.

The speaker is chosen by the full House, which will convene Jan. 9 for the 2023 legislative session. But the nominee of the majority party prevails.

The speaker pro tem, a largely ceremonial position but one that is part of the leadership team, is also elected by the full House. Rep. Paul Holvey of Eugene, who was initially appointed to the House in 2004, was renominated for the job.

Together with the president of the Senate, the speaker appoints members and leaders of committees — where the Oregon Legislature does most of its work — and assigns bills to committees.

Rayfield, 43, became speaker in the 2022 short session after Democrat Tina Kotek, the longest serving speaker at nine years, resigned from the House to make her ultimately successful bid for governor in the Nov. 8 election.

Rayfield was elected to the House in 2014. He had been on the Legislature's joint budget panel since 2017, and became House co-chair in 2019.

Rayfield earned a bachelor's degree in 2003 from Western Oregon University and his law degree in 2006 from Willamette University. He is a graduate of Tigard High School.

He said in a statement:

"I'm humbled by the opportunity to continue serving as speaker.

"I was first elected to serve in this role during a period of significant transition. But we came together in a bipartisan way under challenging circumstances early this year to invest in education, housing, rural Oregon and support for working families. I'm eager build on the trust we've formed and to get to work to support all corners of the state in addressing homelessness, improving community safety, strengthening education and building an economy that works for all Oregonians."

Rep. Barbara Smith Warner of Portland stepped down as majority leader in January, and did not seek re-election to the House this year.

COURTESY PHOTO - Rep. Julie Fahey of Eugene was retained by Democrats as their majority leader of the Oregon House for the session that starts Jan. 9. She succeeded Rep. Virginia Smith Warner of Portland, who stepped down from that job earlier this year and did not seek re-election to the House.Rep. Julie Fahey of Eugene became majority leader, and Democrats kept her in that position, which is not subject to a vote of the full House. Fahey is in her fourth term.

Fahey said in a statement:

"Oregonians sent us to Salem with a strong majority to fix the most pressing, urgent issues facing this state. Voters saw a vision from Democrats that recognized the everyday challenges that Oregon families face, offered real solutions to the state's problems and stayed true to shared Oregonian values.

"This leadership team represents constituents from across Oregon, and they'll bring the diversity of their backgrounds and experiences to the upcoming legislative session. House Democrats are ready to lead this state into the future."

Other Democrats named to leadership positions:

• Majority Whip: Rep. Andrea Valderrama of Portland.

• Deputy Majority Whip: Rep. Rob Nosse of Portland.

• Assistant Majority Leaders: Reps. Dacia Grayber of Tigard, Jason Kropf of Bend and Pam Marsh of Ashland.

• Ex-officio members are Rep. Tawna Sanchez of Portland, the current House co-chair of the joint budget panel, and Rep. Nancy Nathanson of Eugene, chair of the House Revenue Committee. A member will be named from among legislators of color, who formally organized in the 2021 session as Black, Indigenous and People of Color Caucus.

Fahey added: "During the 2023 session, we'll stay laser-focused on tackling the state's most pressing issues: driving down the cost of living, urgently addressing the homelessness and affordable housing crisis, supporting working families and small businesses, investing in community safety and championing stronger schools."

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