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Grants Pass senator steps down as Oregon Senate Republican leader

Sen. Herman Baertschiger Jr. is not running for re-election in 2020, prompting the selection of a new leader for Republicans in the Oregon Senate.

Posted: Apr 24, 2020 10:40 AM
Updated: Apr 24, 2020 11:42 AM

SALEM, Ore. — The southern Oregon lawmaker who led Senate Republicans through two contentious legislative sessions has now been replaced as leader of the caucus, according to a statement from Oregon Senate Republicans.

Senator Herman Baertschiger Jr., R-Grants Pass, announced in early March that he would not run for re-election in 2020. He has served as the senator for Oregon's District 2 since 2012, rising to minority leader for the 2019 session.

District 2 includes Josephine County and the northwestern section of Jackson County; encompassing Grants Pass, Rogue River, Central Point, White City, and Eagle Point. The district has swung Republican for decades, and Baertschiger ran unopposed in 2016.

Both the 2019 and 2020 legislative sessions saw Baertschiger lead Senate Republicans on a walk-out to deny the majority Democrats a quorum — first for the Student Success Act and its accompanying corporate activity tax, then for the first iteration of a cap-and-trade bill, and again in the most recent session for the new version of cap-and-trade.

The first walk-out won concessions from Democrats on other bills, though it failed to kill the Student Success Act. The second walk-out ended with Democrats conceding that they did not have the votes to pass cap-and-trade. The third ended at an impasse with Democrats unceremoniously wrapping up the legislative session as Republicans continued to shun the legislature.


RELATED: Governor Brown signs executive order directing Oregon agencies to enforce strict carbon goals


Most recently, Baertschiger led Senate Republicans in urging Governor Brown to lift coronavirus restrictions on rural Oregon counties that have seen fewer cases.

According to Senate Republicans, Sen. Baertschiger stepped down as leader of the caucus, allowing them to elect Senator Fred Girod, R-Stayton, as the new minority leader.

"Fred is our senior Senator and will represent us well," said Senator Baertschiger, Jr. “He has my full support.”

Girod's District 9 includes portions of Clackamas, Linn, and Marion counties. He has been in the Oregon legislature for 15 years, alongside his dental practice the caucus said, citing his experience in small business as important to the current challenge posed by COVID-19.

“I am grateful for Senator Baertschiger’s hard work and look forward to leading not just the Senate Republicans, but Republicans throughout this beautiful state,” said Girod in a statement. “I am excited to work alongside the House Republicans at this critical time in Oregon’s history.”

“Senator Baertschiger has served his constituents and Oregonians well as the leader of the Senate Republican Caucus and I have enjoyed working together on issues our constituents care deeply about," said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan, R-Canby. "Senator Girod brings his years of experience in the Oregon Legislature to his new role as Senate Republican Leader and I look forward to partnering with him for the benefit of all Oregonians."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31503

Reported Deaths: 538
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah6938136
Marion452292
Washington436959
Umatilla292841
Clackamas231461
Malheur157525
Jackson10914
Lane105916
Deschutes78912
Yamhill74514
Jefferson5168
Polk51115
Morrow4906
Linn48013
Lincoln47513
Union4352
Benton2886
Klamath2772
Wasco2733
Hood River2480
Douglas2213
Josephine1942
Columbia1551
Coos1470
Clatsop1270
Baker912
Crook611
Tillamook510
Curry310
Lake280
Wallowa281
Sherman180
Harney120
Gilliam80
Grant80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 796436

Reported Deaths: 15291
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2633336423
Riverside576951173
San Bernardino53121908
Orange525381176
San Diego45425767
Kern31647357
Fresno27944362
Sacramento21800393
Alameda20839395
Santa Clara20648300
San Joaquin20060434
Stanislaus16425342
Contra Costa16156202
Tulare15782257
Ventura12507146
Imperial11658317
San Francisco1090199
San Mateo9664144
Monterey964570
Santa Barbara8952111
Merced8803140
Kings754477
Sonoma7225120
Marin6620114
Solano623260
Madera442465
Placer352343
San Luis Obispo345327
Butte277640
Yolo277355
Santa Cruz22838
Sutter168610
Napa165213
San Benito131411
Yuba11337
El Dorado10784
Mendocino88718
Shasta75114
Lassen7360
Glenn5683
Tehama5294
Nevada5256
Colusa5226
Lake51611
Humboldt4906
Calaveras31414
Amador28716
Tuolumne2264
Inyo18714
Mono1652
Siskiyou1630
Del Norte1381
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc250
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
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