Rod Runyon photo
Rep. Cliff Bentz, above, is shown at Thursday’s meeting of county commissioners from Senate District 30 after receiving the nod to fill the unexpired term of former Sen. Ted Ferrioli, who stepped down to head the Northwest Power and Conservation Planning Council.
As of Friday, January 5, 2018
Oregon Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, was appointed Thursday to fill the remainder of former Sen. Ted Ferrioli’s term in office for Senate District 30.
County commissioners from Wasco, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Baker, Deschutes, Jefferson, Lake, and Wheeler counties voted on Ferrioli’s replacement at a joint meeting, which was held at the Grant County Regional Airport in John Day.
"The Senate Republicans are excited to welcome Representative Bentz to our caucus," said Senator Jackie Winters, R-Salem.
"Rep. Bentz will be a tremendous addition to our team, and I look forward to working with him in the sessions to come."
Prior to the vote, the commissioners interviewed Bentz and another candidate, Dr. Eric Wattenburg of Bend. The third contender for the vacant seat was Susan Ellis Jones, a rancher from Baker who did not attend.
Bentz received votes from 24 of the commissioners, while Wattenburg was given two and Ellis one.
Each commissioner’s vote was weighted by county population.
Wasco County Commissioner Rod Runyon was present to vote for Bentz and Commissioners Scott Hege and Steve Kramer phoned in their votes for him.
“All the research I did showed that Rep. Bentz is a very responsive individual, that he calls county commissioners in his district pretty regularly to get their feelings on issues and I appreciate that,” said Runyon.
He said Daniel Bonham, a Republican from The Dalles, will have to get up to speed on issues after taking former Rep. John Huffman’s place in the Legislature. So, having Bentz in the political arena with years of experience will help the minority party made headway on its goals.
“He knows all the players and how to get things done,” said Runyon.
Bentz has served in the Oregon House of Representatives since 2008 and will officially take office as a senator before the next Oregon Legislature session starting Feb. 1. He is a rancher, farmer and attorney.
Ferrioli left his seat to take an appointment by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to head The Northwest Power and Conservation Planning Council.
That panel oversees electrical energy co-operatives, public utility districts and hydroelectric generation facilities, along with planning, conservation and management of other renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and geothermal.
Senate District 30 includes all or part of Baker, Deschutes, Jefferson, Lake, Wasco, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Wheeler, Clackamas and Marion counties. It is the largest Senate District the state.