Wasco County’s 'other' senator
Sen. Bill Hansell, a Republican from the town of Athena in Umatilla County, took over representation of parts of Wasco County following legislative redistricting in 2011.
His District 29 encompasses seven counties in Eastern Oregon and includes the communities of Tygh Valley, Dufur, Shaniko and Antelope, as well as inhabitants east of The Dalles Dam.
Hansell is a fifth-generation rancher who grew up on a Century farm and is serving his first term as a state legislator. The remainder of Wasco County is represented by Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day.
“My great-great-great grandparents came out on the Oregon Trail,” said Hansell.
He is a graduate of the University of Oregon and earned certification from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
He was previously elected to eight consecutive terms as a Umatilla County commissioner, which set a local record. While in that role, he was president of both the National Associate of Counties and the Association of Oregon Counties.
As a senator, Hansell sits on the Senate Joint Committee on Ways and Means, subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development, subcommittee on Natural Resources, Joint Legislative Administration Committee, Joint Oregon China Sister State Committee, as well as the Emergency Board. He is also a member of the Hanford Cleanup board and the Energy and Environment Committee for the Pacific Northwest Economic Region.
On the home front, Hansell is vice-president of the Athena Chamber of Commerce and he and his wife, Margaret, are active in the Athena Baptist Church.
The couple have been married 47 years and raised six children, a son and five daughters, and Hansell said he was proudest of the fact that they have all earned at least a bachelor’s degree. Their family has grown to include six grandchildren. — RaeLynn Ricarte