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  • 29 May 2015

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Democrats to name legislative leaders

With larger majorities, Kotek, Courtney expected to return as presiding officers of House, Senate.

Majority Democrats are set to nominate their leaders, including the House speaker and Senate president, for the next two-year cycle of the Oregon Legislature.

The presiding officers are elected by the members of each chamber on Jan. 12, the opening day of the 2015 session. But they are usually the nominees of the majority party.

The party leaders are chosen by their caucuses.

House Democrats are scheduled to meet Wednesday. Their ranks grew by one in last week’s election, so Democrats will lead Republicans 35-25.

Rep. Tina Kotek of Portland is expected to be her party’s choice for a second term as House speaker. She would be the first Democrat to lead the House for back-to-back sessions since Vera Katz of Portland did so in the 1980s.

Rep. Val Hoyle of Eugene is the current majority leader.

Senate Democrats are scheduled to meet Friday and Saturday at Salishan Lodge at Gleneden Beach. Their ranks grew by two, to 18-12, as Democratic challenger Chuck Riley claimed victory Monday over Republican Sen. Bruce Starr by 221 votes of more than 35,000 cast for them. Some currently unsigned ballots may be added to the tally if voters verify them.

Sen. Peter Courtney of Salem is expected to be his party’s choice for a seventh term as Senate president. He has led the Senate for 12 years; the previous record was eight years, shared by three men, including current Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Sen. Diane Rosenbaum of Portland has been the majority leader since 2011.

House Republicans chose Rep. Mike McLane of Powell Butte for a second cycle last week.

Senate Republicans have not yet scheduled their meeting. Their current leader is Sen. Ted Ferrioli of John Day, who has held the job 10 years, all after Democrats became the Senate’s majority party.


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Updates with Democrat Chuck Riley claiming victory in Senate District 15, raising the Democratic majority in the Senate to 18-12. JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT