Oregon Rep. Christine Goodwin, R-Roseburg, was sworn into office Wednesday, Aug. 25, to finish the remainder of the term of former Rep. Gary Leif, who died in July after reportedly battling cancer. Photo courtesy of Oregon House Republican caucus.

The Oregon House broke its previous record for the number of women representatives this week, after the swearing-in of Rep. Christine Goodwin brought the total number to 33 out of a total 60 members.

Goodwin, a Republican from Roseburg, is a former teacher and coach at Roseburg High School who has served on a variety of local boards and commissions including a recent interim appointment to the Douglas County Commission, according to the House Republican caucus.

She will serve the remainder of former Rep. Gary Leif’s term. Leif, who was also a Republican and from Roseburg, died in July just weeks after the end of the 2021 legislative session. The News-Review reported that, according to a source close to Leif, he had privately been battling cancer and did not want his diagnosis to distract from work in the Legislature.

Goodwin was selected to fill out the term by commissioners in Josephine, Jackson and Douglas counties, since House District 2 touches all three counties.

“It’s an honor to participate in the Legislature,” Goodwin said in a recent statement. “I look forward to representing the constituents of House District 2 to the same high standards they received from Gary Leif, who was an inspirational public servant.”

Goodwin was joined at her swearing-in at the Capitol by members of her family, including her husband of 41 years optometrist Dr. Lynn Goodwin, according to the House Republican caucus.

Deputy Chief Clerk Obie Rutledge confirmed that 33 is the highest number of women to ever serve in the Oregon House, although the number has been climbing in recent years. Chief Clerk Timothy G. Sekerak added in an email that “the previous high water mark was 22 (women) in 2001, which ebbed down and up and was eventually reached again in 2018 and is currently being surpassed every year.”

NOTE: This story from The Oregonian is published with the permission as part of a collaborative of news organizations in Oregon sharing news content. Salem Reporter is part of the arrangement.

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