Leaving the Legislature with sadness, pride
It has been my honor to serve as your state representative for the past two years. I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to give back to our county and state.
It was a surreal experience to watch my reputation as a trusted advocate and lawmaker challenged by distortions of my record in an avalanche of campaign advertising. The sheer volume of it was overwhelming. More than $700,000 was spent trying to make me look like I wanted to give away jobs to China, take money away from schools, and give big banks your personal information. None of that was true.
The voters in Clackamas County saw through this, and the results reflected that. But redistricting changed the dynamic by shifting 10,000 voters into Multnomah County. Like Secretary of State Candidate Knute Buehler, my lead was erased and overwhelmed by Multnomah County.
Im satisfied that my outreach and constituent work positively affected hundreds of lives. Ive helped to negotiate deals between property owners and state agenciesbringing everyone to the table and walking away with a win-win result every time. Victims of domestic violence and families torn apart by neglect have used me to help navigate the courts and Department of Human Services restoring their families and confidence. I never gave up on anyone.
Ive stalled or in some cases stopped foreclosures. Ive helped with issues ranging from DEQ nuisances to a case of international parental kidnapping. My mobile number was available to everyone, and constituents were encouraged to call me directly if they needed anything. I wanted to make sure that no resident of House District 51 felt like the little guy when dealing with government and I was successful in that.
Knowing transportation infrastructure was going to be the biggest economic driver for North Clackamas, I established myself in leadership roles to make sure we were well represented. I served as vice-chairman of the Transportation and Economic Development Committee and was appointed to two national transportation committees. It was difficult to resign from those posts this week knowing that these positions translate into massive resources that work to lobby for federal transportation dollars and programs for Oregon.
I have enjoyed working with our public safety leaders in Clackamasparticularly Sheriff Craig Roberts and recently retired Fire Chief Ed Kirchhofer. Together, we managed to get a difficult 9-1-1 funding bill passed that now saves Clackamas County a half million dollars a year. I have authored a number of public safety bills that I will present to my friends on the other side of the aisle for their consideration in the coming session.
My greatest sadness comes from seeing the 30-30 partisan balance broken in the House of Representatives. In the previous 75 legislative sessions, we never had 30 Republicans and 30 Democrats. The collaboration across the aisle caused the headlines to describe Oregon as a Sunday School of Legislatures. Im proud of that.
I suppose this is my attempt at a final progress report to try and leave you with a small glimpse of how Ive worked to serve you, and to thank you for the opportunity.
Some say this is a thankless job, but I disagree. Your frequent calls and emails expressing appreciation as weve worked through your challenges have been inspiring and motivating for me. I will miss working for you. It has been a tremendous honor.
Patrick Sheehan (R-Clackamas) is state representative for House District 51, covering parts of Happy Valley, Clackamas and Southeast Portland. David Douglas School Board member Shemia Fagan won election to the seat on Nov. 6.