Commissioners from three counties voted unanimously Monday morning to appoint Douglas County Commissioner Gary Leif as the interim representative for House District 2.
The move followed a Republican convention Saturday at which Leif was chosen as the Republican nominee for the November election to fill the seat. Also Saturday, Republican precinct committee members selected a slate of four candidates for the commissioners to choose from.
In addition to Leif, the names put forward were Winston realtor Valynn Currie, Roseburg insurance adjuster Elias LaLande and Roseburg Mayor Larry Rich.
It didn’t take long for the commissioners to decide the issue at Monday’s meeting at the Douglas County Courthouse in Roseburg. Without deliberation, the commissioners moved swiftly to a vote. Douglas County Commissioners Chris Boice and Tim Freeman voted for Leif, as did the three commissioners each from Josephine and Jackson counties, who joined the meeting by phone.
Leif did not attend the meeting or vote because, as a county commissioner and a candidate, he’d have a conflict of interest, Freeman said.
Following the vote, the commissioners thanked the candidates for their willingness to put their names forward and congratulated Leif.
Freeman, who had himself served as House representative for District 2 for six years, said the seat was “near and dear” to him and wished Leif good luck.
“It is a difficult time to be in the Oregon State Legislature. I’m confident that Gary will put in the time necessary to serve us well, and I look forward to his new adventures as a state representative,” Freeman said.
Leif will fill the seat formerly held by Dallas Heard, who was recently sworn in as a state senator. Heard replaced former senator Jeff Kruse of Roseburg, who stepped down following sexual harassment allegations.
Leif will hold the House position at least until a permanent replacement is chosen by voters. In November, he will run against Democrat Megan Salter.
The two remaining Douglas County commissioners will appoint a third to hold the position of interim county commissioner until voters choose a replacement for Leif.