POWELL BUTTE, OR -- Former Powell Butte State Representative Mike McLane is running for the State Senate. He tells KBND News, "When Senator Findley told me he was not going to run for re-election and urged me to put my name in, I did."
Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale) is one of 10 Republican lawmakers deemed ineligible for re-election, after last session’s walk-out. A handful of those Senators are suing the state over Measure 113, which prevents legislators from running again if they have 10 or more unexcused absenses. McLane - now a judge - believes the law's language is clear and can't be overlooked, even if it opposes the intent of voters. "There certainly is plenty of evidence that the drafters of Initiative 113 wanted Senators who had 10 or more unexcused absences to not be eligible to run again. If the court says that, then what the court is having to do is look past the very plain language and the very simple interpretation of what exactly Measure 113 says. I hope they don’t do that."
McLane spent five terms in Oregon's House, many of those as Minority Leader. He left the Legislature in 2019, when he was appointed to the Crook County Circuit Court bench. Now, he says he wants to return to Salem because he sees an impending statewide financial disaster, "Really, from the pandemic to other initiatives, there’s been a lot of money coming from Washington DC to the state of Oregon and I think that’s going to start to contract. There’s going to be some budget battles. I’m concerned that Central and Eastern Oregon will be left behind when it comes to that negotiations."
Senate District 30 is the largest in the state, comprised of Baker, Crook, Grant, Harney, Lake and Malheur counties, as well as parts of Deschutes and Jefferson counties. McLane says, "I do have a sense of urgency about some of the issues that our district faces, and frankly, all of Central Oregon." He acknowledges there is a deep partisan divide in Salem and says, "I’ve been there before and I’ve made policy with colleagues. And having someone there to advocate for our Constitutional rights, to be able to articulate what’s important to those of us east of the mountains, that’s an important role."