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Bentz eyes Congress as logical next step

State Sen. Cliff Bentz announced he will run for Congress in 2020. (The Enterprise/File).

VALE – Cliff Bentz believes he can make a difference in national politics.

That optimistic sentiment is a trademark of sorts for the 67-year-old lawmaker who spent a good share of his childhood in the high desert sagebrush and juniper trees that dot Malheur County. 

Since his appointment to the Oregon House more than 10 years ago, Bentz collected accolades from fellow lawmakers and constituents and became something of a political fixture in Salem. He is now a state senator representing a big chunk of eastern Oregon.

Now, though, he is setting his sight on a bigger goal - the seat in Congress held by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River).

Walden announced last week he won’t run . . .