By John L. Braese
VALE – Lynn Findley, retiring Vale city manager, announced last week he will seek appointment to the Oregon House seat serving Malheur County and a big swatch of eastern Oregon.
The seat is open after Cliff Bentz was appointed to the Senate on Thursday. Bentz replaced Ted Ferrioli of John Day, who resigned to take a seat on the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
“I decided to place my name in to replace Rep. Bentz as I believe District 60, eastern Oregon, needs to be represented by a strong voice,” Findley said. “Rep. Bentz has put together a great base. We now need to expand on his effort of establishing a collaborative effort.”
Prior to becoming city manager, Findley spent 32 years with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, retiring after returning to Vale as the manager of the department’s aviation arm at the national level.
“After 32 years with the federal government, I understand how to work with others,” said Findley.
Growing up on a farm in Vale, Findley graduated from Vale Union High School before joining the BLM.
“I understand the needs of small communities,” he said.
If chosen by county commissioners in District 60, Findley said he sees some major issues in the upcoming session.
“The state has some big budget issues that need to be dealt with immediately,” he said. “The issue of PERS has been kicked down the road, but will not go away. We need to deal with the problem now.”
Findley said he is also concerned regarding the implementation of the transportation package was well as land use policy in the state.
He wants to use his knowledge and successes in the Legislature.
“We are close to fixing a long-term water problem in Vale, one that will mean no more letters going out warning about arsenic,” he said. “We have implemented an atmosphere in Vale that we are open for business. We have fixed the problems that stopped businesses from looking at Vale. I want to take all that I have learned and transform it throughout the state.”
One problem Findley may face, if chosen, is time. Under the current timetable, the next legislator may walk into the halls of the capitol after the session starts Feb. 1.
Findley and other interested in the position will first need to be approved and placed on a list by Republican precinct committee members. That list will be forwarded to the county commissioners of District 60. The commissioners will then meet and vote on the replacement for Bentz.
The seat will also be on the primary ballot in May.
“The timing is terrible and frustrating,” Findley said. “To have District 60 not represented, even for one day, is wrong.”
He reported he has already planned on running for election to the seat after the appointment is made.
“I plan on filing for the position,” he said. “I have already started forming a campaign committee.”
Findley said he learned from Bentz the element of accessibility. ,
“I want people to know they can talk to me anytime, any place,” he said. “That is what something Cliff (Bentz) has always done and I will continue. I will do what is best for the district and can work with anyone if it benefits the voters of this district.”