SALEM, OR -- District 55 Representative Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) has been tapped by Governor Kate Brown to take over for a retiring Circuit Court Judge. Last week, she announced his appointment to the Crook-Jefferson County Circuit Court bench.
Some were surprised by the appointment, as the two are typically odds. They were again on opposite ends of the political spectrum, during discussions over Senate Bill 1008, which gives judges power to determine if juveniles should be tried as adults. It was opposed by the Oregon District Attorneys Association. McLane voted against it, and argued for the opposition, but the bill passed anyway. One opponent to McLane's appointment says his inability to keep the bill from passing proves there was a back door deal in the works. McLane told KBND host Lars Larson the idea is insulting, "Bottom line is, it's completely false, absolutely untrue, to think that I had any deal with the Governor on Senate Bill 1008." He added, "I don't know how to deny it anymore. There absolutely wasn't; and to accuse me of that is just slanderous."
Rumors have also surfaced claiming McLane didn't apply for the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Daniel Ahern. He told Larson, "I went through the screening peer review panel, just like everyone else, on April 11th. And then they made recommendations to the Governor. She did interviews on May 15th, and I was ranked number one. April 11th - that was five days before Senate Bill 1008 even passed out of the Senate." McLane asked Larson, Thursday, "Don't you want conservative judges?" The radio host responded, "I do want conservative judges, but but not for the wrong reasons." McLane replied, "Then why are you taking me to the woodshed when I'm a conservative guy? I've been offered a judge and now I'm being attacked because a democrat appointed me?"
He went on to say, "I suppose people could say, 'well, Gosh, Kate Brown is this Democrat, why would she appoint Mike McLane?' And the reality is it's because I'm qualified and I live in Crook County." McLane has served as pro-tem judge for Deschutes County, he's a Judge Advocate General in the Oregon National Guard, and he's served in the Legislature since 2011.