Oregon’s newest rural lawmaker sworn in

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.

Harney County Commissioner, Mark Owens, will represent Malheur County in the House

Owens, who has been a county commissioner since 2016, will represent House District 60 which includes Baker, Grant, Harney and Malheur counties in addition to parts of Lake County.

The Enterprise
January 21, 2020

ONTARIO – County commissioners chose Republican Mark Owens on Tuesday, Jan. 21, to serve as the next state representative for House District 60, filling the vacancy left by Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale.

Malheur County now will be represented in the House by Owens, a Harney County commissioner, farmer, and small business owner.

Owens has been on the Harney County Commission since 2016.

“I am thankful and humbled today to have been appointed to serve as the next state representative for House District 60,” Owens said. “I look forward to serving the communities and being a voice for eastern Oregon in Salem.”

The district includes Baker, Grant, Harney and Malheur counties in addition to parts of Lake County.

“At the state level, there is a lot of work to be done to protect our way of life in eastern Oregon and to provide a better path for future generations of Oregonians,” Owens said. “We need to make sustainable natural resources a top priority. Our kids deserve stronger schools and greater opportunities for their career paths. Families need financial stability instead of living paycheck to paycheck and having to worry about the next tax increase coming our way from Salem.”

“Most importantly, my top priority and my number one job will be to listen, learn and represent the constituents in eastern Oregon,” Owens added.

Due to be sworn in later this month, Owens will serve in the short legislative session beginning Monday, Feb. 3.

Rep. Lynn Findley appointed to Oregon Senate

County commissioners from across Eastern Oregon picked Rep. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, on Monday to replace Sen. Cliff Bentz, an Ontario Republican and longtime lawmaker who resigned before his term was up to run for Congress.

Findley’s step up to the Senate means commissioners from the five counties in his current House district will need to appoint a replacement. They’ll choose from among three to five nominees recommended by Republican precinct committee people in the district. No date has been set for that vote.

Findley, a former Vale city manager who worked for the Bureau of Land Management for three decades, is the only Republican yet to have filed to run for the Senate seat in the November 2020 election.

Mark Owens, a Republican, hay farmer and Harney County commissioner, has filed to run for Findley’s House seat this year.

Bentz is running against former Republican gubernatorial nominee Knute Buehler and some lesser-known Republicans to replace Greg Walden in the U.S. House of Representatives.