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Representative Gene Whisnant

Republican - District 53 - Sunriver

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1453
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-383, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: Rep.GeneWhisnant@oregonlegislature.gov 
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/whisnant

 

Biography

 

Rep. Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) is serving his eighth term as State Representative for House District 53, which includes the City of Redmond as well as the communities of Tumalo, Sunriver, and parts of Bend and Deschutes County. He was first appointed on September 5, 2003.

For the 79th Legislative Session (2017), Gene will be serving as the Vice Chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee and as a member of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, the Education Subcommittee, and the Joint Legislative Audits Committee.

For the 78th Legislative Session (2015), Gene served as the Vice Chair of Higher Education, Innovation, and Workforce Development Committee and as a member of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, the Public Safety Subcommittee, and the Joint Legislative Audits Committee. He also served as the House Republican Assistant Leader.

For the 77th Legislative Session (2013), Gene served as a member of the Human Services and Housing Committee, the Education Committee, and the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

For the 76th Legislative Session (2011), Gene served as a Co-Chair of the House General Government and Consumer Protection Committee and as a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the Joint Ways and Means Committee.

For the 75th Legislative Session (2009), Gene served as the Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and as a member of the Ways and Means Education Subcommittee.

For the 74th Legislative Session (2007), Gene served as the Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and as a member of the House Education Committee. He also served as Republican Deputy Whip. In 2008, he remained the Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, but was also appointed to serve as the Vice Chair of the House Education Committee.

For the 73rd Legislative Session (2005), Gene served as a member of the important Ways and Means Committee, the Education and Public Safety Subcommittees, the House Interim Education Committee, and the House Judiciary Committee.

For the 72nd Legislative Session (2003), Gene served as a member of the House Interim Education Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.

Gene is the current Oregon Chair for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a non-partisan organization with over 2,000 lawmakers and 300 corporation and foundation members. Gene has also served on the Education Commission of the States, the State Commission on Children and Families, and the Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIC). In addition, the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court appointed Gene to serve as the State Representative on the Chief Justice's Special Courts Advisory Committee.

Gene is a retired US Air Force Colonel. After completing a 27-year military career, he moved to Deschutes County and immediately became involved in the Deschutes County Republican Party. In 1997, he was elected to serve as the organization's Treasurer and, in 2000 and 2002, he was elected to serve as its Chairman.

Concerned for his community's well-being, Gene served on the Deschutes County Commission on Children and Families between 1999 and 2011. During that time, he served as both Vice Chair and Chairman of the 15-member volunteer Board. Gene has also participated in the Homeless Leadership Council and is a member of the Redmond VFW, the American Legion, the local chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), and the Military Order of World Wars.

In the community of Sunriver, Gene has served as a PTA officer, coached youth sports teams, and is an honorary member of the Sunriver Rotary Club.  He has also served on the Sunriver Owners Association (SROA) Board of Directors. Not like a typical homeowner's association, the SROA Board functions more like a city council, and is responsible for an annual operating budget which is larger than most Oregon cities'.

Gene graduated from West Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, NC in 1962. He went on to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where, in 1966, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism and received his commission from the AFROTC program. Later, in 1976, he earned a master's degree in international affairs from the University of Arkansas.

Gene is married to the former Josie Coffey of Portland, a fourth generation Oregonian who is a member of the Assistance League of Bend. Their son, Todd Whisnant, is married and lives in New Bern, NC. Gene and Josie have one grandson, Colby Todd, who was born in September of 2004. The Whisnant's are members of the Sunriver Christian Fellowship Church.

 

Military Background

 

Colonel C. Gene Whisnant retired from the USAF in October 1993. In his 27-year career, he served in command, leadership, staff, and diplomatic positions.

Colonel Whisnant was born December 8, 1943, in Caroleen, NC. He graduated from West Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte, NC in 1962. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1966 and a master's degree in international relations from the University of Arkansas in 1976. Colonel Whisnant has completed Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, and the National Defense University.

Colonel Whisnant was commissioned in 1966 through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Program. He was first assigned as an audiovisual officer at Vandenberg AFB, CA. In 1968, he commanded an audiovisual unit at DaNang AB, RVN, the photographically documented USAF activities in the Vietnam War. He flew on 32 combat missions as a combat photographer. In 1969, he commanded an audiovisual unit at Colorado Springs, CO. He returned to the Vandenberg AFB audiovisual unit in 1970 as the squadron operations officer. In 1973, he assumed the command of the audiovisual unit at Wiesbaden AB, Germany, which later moved to Rhein Main AB, Germany. Next, he attended the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell, AFB, AL. After graduation in 1978, he was assigned to Headquarters Military Airlift Command, Scott AFB, IL, as a plans and programming officer. In 1980, Colonel Whisnant was assigned to the Air Staff, Washington, DC as an international political-military affairs officer in the Office of the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. He served as a liaison officer for foreign air attaches in Washington, DC. In 1985, he transferred to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, International Programs and Technology, as a manager of international cooperative programs with the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Yugoslavia. He participated in negotiations with foreign militaries on cooperative agreements such as Strategic Defense Initiative and on certain agreements he led the US DoD negotiating team. After attaché training, he assumed the duties as the Defense and Air Attaché to Yugoslavia in June 1990. He was also responsible for the Yugoslav Security Assistance Program and served as the senior European Command (EUCOM) military representative in Yugoslavia. His Unit was selected as the best Defense Attaché Office human intelligence collectors in 1991 based upon the unit's outstanding and timely reporting of the Yugoslav War.

After his diplomatic duty, he returned to Washington, DC where he served as the American Forces Information Service Assistant Director for Defense Audiovisual Policy, under the Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. He was responsible for visual information, audiovisual, and Combat Camera Policy and management oversight within the Department of Defense.

His Military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, AF Outstanding Unit award with Valor Medal Device and three oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with four Bronze Stars, and German Armed Forces Commendation in Silver Medal.

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