Mark Owens, a Republican from rural Oregon, was sworn in Thursday as the newest member of the state House of Representatives.
A rancher and small business owner from Crane, Owens previously served as a Harney County commissioner and is the school board chair for the Crane Union School District, home to Crane High and its 66 or so students.
County commissioners from numerous Eastern Oregon counties chose Owens to replace Lynn Findley, R-Vale, in the House after commissioners voted to appoint Findley to the Senate, where he replaced Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, who resigned to run for U.S. Rep. Greg Walden’s seat in Congress.
Secretary of State Bev Clarno administered the oath of office at Central Christian School in Redmond. Family members, friends, students and fellow Republican lawmakers attended the ceremony.
“I look forward to serving Oregonians and the communities in House District 60, and being a voice for eastern Oregon in Salem,” Owens said.
In a statement, House Minority Leader Christine Drazan, R-Canby, hailed his appointment.
“Representative Owens brings a vital rural Oregon perspective to Salem,” Drazen said. “His years of experience working the land, serving as a county commissioner and school board chair will serve him well.”
Owens will serve on the House Revenue Committee and the House Water Committee.
Prior to his nomination by the Republican Party as a candidate for the appointment, he had filed to run for the House District 60 seat this year.
He joins fellow Republican Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson of Prineville and Democrat Akasha Lawrence Spence of Portland as House remembers who will serve in the 2020 Legislature having been appointed rather than elected to their seats.