Daniel Bonham, owner of Maupin’s Stoves & Spa in The Dalles, was appointed Monday by Wasco, Jefferson, Deschutes and Wheeler County commissioners to fill the Republican vacancy in the House District 59 seat.
Bonham, 40, represents the district that serves about 63,000 residents in western Wasco, Wheeler, Jefferson and northern Deschutes counties.
“It is truly an incredible honor to have the opportunity to represent my friends and neighbors as their state representative in Salem,” he said. “I am humbled to have earned the support of Republican precinct committee persons as well as the county commissioners.
“While I know I have big shoes to fill, I believe my desire and passion for helping people in conjunction with my business background will make me an effective leader in Salem. I am excited to get to work on behalf of the residents of House District 59.”
Bonham was one of three candidates vying for the position John Huffman vacated in late October when he accepted a federal appointment as state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
Also seeking Huffman’s seat was Mae Huston, chair of the Jefferson County Commission and Robert Perry of Redmond, who retired after 40 years in a marketing career. The three candidates were were named as finalists at a convention held Nov. 11 in Madras.
“It’s been a crazy two weeks,” said Betsy Hege, chair of the local Republican Party, of the rush to meet the Nov. 30 deadline to find Huffman’s replacement.
She said Bonham presented himself well at the convention and at Saturday’s gathering for elected leaders from all four counties to choose the next representative.
He also stated his intent to run for the office in 2018, which she believed swayed votes — Bonham took all but two.
“I think that longevity was important to the commissioners,” said Hege. “Everything he did told me he was the right person for the job. He is such a personable person and I believe he’s going to be successful at building relationships in Salem.”
Bonham told the group of commissioners that he had read the Nov. 3 article in the Chronicle about Wasco County seeking a replacement for Huffman and decided the time was right for him to serve.
Wasco County Commission Chair Rod Runyon said he was impressed by the fact that Bonham took the initiative to visit the Association of Oregon Counties convention last week in Eugene so he could meet government leaders.
“I think he’s a thoughtful individual; that’s important,” he said.
Runyon went into Monday’s conference in Madras unsure exactly where he would place his vote. However, he said Bonham presented himself well and gave clear answers to questions asked by commissioners.
“I listened and I learned and I thought we would be making a really good choice,” he said. “It was pretty much a consensus that we picked the right guy.”
Runyon was joined by Commissioner Steve Kramer, and Commissioner Scott Hege weighed in via teleconference because he was not in the area.
Prior to his appointment, Bonham served as a member of The Dalles city budget committee as well as the urban renewal budget committee.
Bonham and his wife, Lorilyn, have lived in The Dalles for the last decade. Together, they have two children, Jennifer and Jack.
The Bonhams are active volunteers in The Dalles. In 2014, Dan and Lori rejuvenated The Dalles Booster Club, raising over $100,000 in two years to enhance the high school athletic experience for local student athletes.
They are also active in their local church and have participated in recent mission trips to Guatemala and Thailand.
“Daniel’s background as a small business owner and leader in his community will make him a great addition to the Legislature,” said House Republican Leader Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, of Bonham’s appointment. “House Republicans are excited to welcome him to our caucus and look forward to serving alongside him.”
Bonham said his first day in office was spent fielding telephone calls and text messages from House leadership and members offering their assistance.
“I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of support,” he said. “This is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility and I’m looking forward to it.”
The Wasco County board has offered to show Bonham what is done at the local government level, to give him a basic understanding of the issues.
“It will be a learning curve in Salem, we can’t help him too much with that, but if he has questions and we don’t have answers, we’ll do what we can to find them,” said Runyon.