SISTERS, OR -- Deschutes and Jefferson County Commissioners will again help choose a replacement for a resigning Legislator. Dr. Eric Wattenburg, of Sisters, is one of three candidates nominated by Oregon’s Republican Party to replace Senator Ted Ferrioli, who stepped down last month to take a seat on a state Council. "Senate District 30 is a very large district. It’s the poster-child for gerrymandering. It is a very convoluted district; very difficult to represent, as you can imagine," Dr. Wattenburg tells KBND News.
State GOP leaders nominated Baker County Republican Party Chair Suzan Ellis Jones, Current Ontario State Rep. Cliff Bentz and Dr. Wattenburg, who believes he is the best person for the job. "I am located more centrally in the district, it’s a short trip for me to Salem, I can adequately and accurately represent all of the district because we are rural. I’m a rancher, I’m also a physician and I don’t have to travel eight hours just to get to Salem." He says there are a number of top priorities for the region. "Minimal government, no more taxes, try to avoid the heavy-handedness of the urban areas – the Portland and the ‘valley crew,’ the transportation bill, land use issues and land rights are also very important and healthcare; that obviously is going to be my strong suit."
District 30 is Oregon’s largest Senate District, comprised of at least parts of 11 counties. Those County Commissioners will meet in John Day the first week of January to vote on who will serve through the end of the year. "They will get weight proportionate to their population within the district. The senate districts in Oregon are generally about 125,000. And, in this district, it’s about equally weighted between three areas: the Deschutes Drainage, the central part of the district and then the eastern half," says Wattenburg. Ferrioli announced his resignation in November, effective December 31. The appointee would take part in the February session and then run in November to maintain their seat.