Contact: Michael Cox

Phone: (503) 986-1904 

Local Legislators Fill Important Roles on State Budget and Economic Recovery

(Salem) Oregon House Speaker-designee Dave Hunt today announced committee assignments for the Lane County House Delegation. The appointments by Speaker-designee Hunt signal the growing influence of Lane County legislators as key roles were filled in the Legislature by local Representatives.

Rep. Phil Barnhart will chair the House Revenue Committee. Rep. Nancy Nathanson will serve as vice chair of Ways and Means. Representative Paul Holvey will chair the Consumer Protection Committee, Terry Beyer is back again as chair of the House Transportation Committee and Rep. Chris Edwards is vice chair of the influential Rules Committee.

Representative Phil Barnhart (D-Central Lane and Linn Counties) will chair the House Revenue Committee and serve on the House Environment and Water Committee.  Barnhart serves his second term as Revenue Committee chair, having passed bills to create Oregon’s first ever Rainy Day fund and the Business Energy Tax Credits.  Among other responsibilities, Barnhart will work to help Oregon weather its current economic challenges.

“We’re in the midst of one of the most severe budget crunches Oregon has experienced.  Our approach to key revenue issues will make our break us as we’re working to properly fund vital services and rebound from this economic downturn,” said Barnhart.  “The legislature needs bold solutions in 2009.”

Rep. Terry Beyer, (D-Springfield) will again focus on improving Oregon’s infrastructure, heading up the House Transportation Committee, and serving on the Ways and Means Sub-Committee on Transportation and the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

 “My top priority for the 2009 session is to pass the Jobs and Transportation Act.  This plan will be the single largest investment the State of Oregon has ever made in transportation infrastructure. Not only will these investments address our failing roads and highways, they will also provide much needed jobs in this tough economy," said Beyer.

With his committee assignments, Rep. Chris Edwards (D-Eugene/Junction City) will continue his work on economic development, budget and operational accountability, and advocating for fair government process.  Rep. Edwards is being tapped as vice chair of the influential Committee on Elections, Ethics, and Rules. In addition, Rep. Edwards will serve on the Committee on Business and Labor and as a member of the Ways and Means subcommittee on Natural Resources.

 "These committees allow me to focus on growing the economy with good paying jobs, and ensuring that our state government operates fairly, efficiently and effectively.  These issues are more important than ever in the face of our current economic downturn and budget shortfall,” said Edwards.

Rep. Paul Holvey will again chair the House Consumer Protection Committee. That committee passed legislation last year cracking down on mortgage fraud and prohibiting the sale of recalled toys. Along with the Consumer Protection Committee, Holvey will also serve on Business and Labor and a subcommittee on Work-Force Development.

"I am honored and look forward to again serving as chair of the House Committee on Consumer Protection in 2009.  This committee will focus on product safety and protecting consumers from scams and unethical business practices,” said Rep. Paul Holvey, who as chair of the committee in 2007 helped pass key protections to crack down on predatory lenders, protect mobile home park residents, and increasing protections against identity theft.

Rep. Nancy Nathanson (D-Eugene) will once again serve as Vice-Chair of the important Ways and Means Committee, which is in charge of the state budget.  

"This will be one of the toughest budgets we've ever crafted in Oregon. Our ability to find savings in government and protect vital public services while we work to create new jobs and educational opportunities will take every bit of our creativity and talent," said Nathanson. "It's a challenge all of us are ready to take on."

“In making committee selections I put a premium on who would be able to deliver results on the difficult issues that matter to Oregon,” said Speaker-designee Hunt. The residents of Lane County can feel good knowing they have some of the state’s most capable Legislators working on their behalf in Salem.”

House Majority Leader Mary Nolan (D-Portland) echoed Speaker-designee Hunt’s praise. “Each of these representatives brings strong judgment to the table, which will help move our state forward in this challenging economic climate.”