Rep. Christine Drazan was picked to lead the House Republican caucus. (Aubrey Wieber/Salem Reporter)
House Republicans voted Monday to elect Rep. Christine Drazan, R-Canby, as House Republican Leader. Drazan takes over for Rep. Carl Wilson, R-Grants Pass, who was elected to lead the caucus in 2018.
"It is an honor and privilege to be selected by my colleagues to lead our caucus into 2020," Drazan said. "We appreciate the service of Rep. Wilson as our leader during one of the most challenging periods in Oregon Legislative history. We cannot thank him enough for his dedicated years of service to our Caucus and the residents of Oregon."
Members contacted by the Capital Bureau wouldn’t share how they voted. Rep. Shelly Boshart-Davis, R-Linn County, said the caucus as a whole agreed to keep the vote count private, with only the three members who counted the votes knowing.
Boshart Davis said Drazan comes to leadership with institutional knowledge from her time as a legislative staffer, and vision for the future.
Rep. Cedric Hayden, R-Roseburg, declined to discuss internal caucus debates on leadership, or who he voted for. Hayden had challenged Wilson for leadership in 2018, though unsuccessfully. Hayden said after a date was scheduled for a leadership vote, he planned a work trip to Micronesia. Then, the date was changed and the vote happened during his trip, so he was unable to present to the caucus regarding his candidacy for leadership.
Hayden felt the process was flawed.
It was “not a good way to do it,” Hayden said.
Hayden said Wilson’s leadership was an extension of former leader Mike McLane, but declined to say whether he felt that was a good thing. He credited Wilson for holding the election when all 22 members of the caucus were there.
He said Drazan will come in with fresh eyes, and he hopes the caucus can better leverage the collective talents of its members.
Drazan is a first-term representative who worked for top Republican leaders in the 1990s and 2000s. In a press release Monday evening, she stated that she looks forward to leading the caucus to work on behalf of all Oregonians.
"Hard-working Oregonians must always be our priority. We are committed to supporting and serving the interests of families and communities while making Oregon more affordable,” Drazan said.
Representative Daniel Bonham, R-The Dalles, was elected to serve as Deputy Leader, and Representative Lynn Findley, R-Vale, will serve as Whip.
This story will be updated.