Oregon Legislative Leadership Changes

On the last day of the 2024 OR legislative session, the House of Representative selected a new Speaker of the House. Representative Dan Rayfield stepped down to run for Attorney General and Majority Leader Julie Fahey was elected by the members to serve as the new Speaker of the House.  Here is a little more background on the new leaders:

Speaker Julie Fahey
Julie Fahey represents House District 14 (West Eugene & Veneta) in the Oregon State Legislature. She was first elected to the House in 2016 and was elected by her colleagues to serve as Speaker of the House in 2024. Prior to being elected Speaker, she served as House Majority Leader for two years. 

In her time in the legislature, Speaker Fahey has focused on housing affordability as Chair of the Housing Committee. She played a significant role in crafting and passing legislation to address the homelessness and housing affordability crisis in Oregon, including 2023’s Affordable Housing and Emergency Homelessness Response Package.

House Majority Leader Ben Bowman

With her election as the Speaker, the Majority Leader position was open, and Democrats in the Oregon House elected the second-youngest member.  Democrats have a 35-25 advantage in the chamber.

State Rep. Ben Bowman, D-Tigard, was elected by his party colleagues in a closed-door vote. He beat state Reps. Andrea Valderrama, D-Portland, and Jason Kropf, D-Bend.  Bowman, 32, is a freshman lawmaker with a reputation for sharp political instincts. A former legislative staffer and onetime chair of the Tigard-Tualatin School Board, Bowman ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2020. He works as an administrator in the Gladstone School District and hosts a politics podcast, “The Bridge,” alongside Reagan Knopp, a Republican staffer in the Senate. In 2019, he was elected to the Tigard-Tualatin School Board. He served as Vice Chair in 2020 and as Chair in 2021.

Senate Republican Leader Daniel Bonham

Recently, the 13-member GOP caucus unanimously elected state Sen. Daniel Bonham, R-The Dalles, to be the next Senate minority leader in a vote Tuesday. Beginning April 15, he took over the job from Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend. Both men are ineligible to run for another term, after launching a six-week walkout during last year’s legislative session. But because of the staggered nature of four-year Senate terms, Bonham has another two years left before he must leave the Legislature. Knopp’s tenure will end in early 2025. Senator Bonham, a small business owner, began his legislative career in the House, where he was appointed to an open seat in 2017. While in that chamber, he rose to deputy Republican leader.

Returning leaders including Senate President Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego), Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton) and House Republican leader Jeff Helfrich (R-Hood River).  One departure that credit unions will miss is Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene) as the Chair of the House Business Committee and longtime friend and supporter of credit unions.

Posted in Advocacy on the Move, Oregon Advocacy.