Bonamici named to replace Avakian in state Senate

Freshman legislator takes over for Beaverton lawmaker who became labor commissioner

Commissioners from both Washington and Multnomah counties unanimously approved Wednesday morning the appointment of state Rep. Suzanne Bonamici of West Slope to the Senate District 17 seat vacated by Brad Avakian.

Commissioners voted to select Bonamici after interviewing her and two other residents, Paul Terdal, a Northwest Portland business management consultant, and Julie Young, an independent civic and social organization professional.

Avakian became commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, leaving in mid-term from the senate seat that covers parts of Beaverton, Cedar Hills and West Slope.

On Saturday, April 26, Washington County Democrats nominated all three people to be considered for the open seat. They forwarded the names to commissioners of both counties, who agreed on the appointment.

During a nearly three-hour meeting Wednesday at Portland Community College's Rock Creek campus, the commissioners questioned the candidates on topic such as future county urbanization and annexation, transportation and financial challenges related to upgrading the Multnomah County Courthouse.

Before voting, commissioners said they were pleased with the extensive qualifications of all three candidates.

'It breaks my heart to say 'no' to two of these three candidates,' said Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten.

However, he said that Bonamici had a very good freshman year in the Legislature where she represents House District 34.

That view was shared by other commissioners including Tom Brian, chairman of the Washington County Board of Commissioners. Brian said he supported Bonamici 'because she has a proven track record and has worked well with local governments.'

Bonamici, who was elected to the House District 34 seat in 2006, serves on the House Judiciary Committee as well as holding positions on health care and consumer protection committees and subcommittees.

She must seek election to the senate post in November.